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Advisers need soft skills improvement to get client confidence

Holly Mackay speaking at today’s Openwork event

Advisers do not work to the specifics of individual clients and must refine engagement skills to boost consumer confidence and bring trust to the wider industry, according to Boring Money founder Holly Mackay.

Speaking at an Openwork event today, Mackay said many advisers “seriously underestimate” clients’ ability to understand jargon and generalised statements.

Boring Money research found 56 per cent of Brits could define “equity” but only 16 per cent would feel confident explaining the meaning to a third party.

Just over half of respondents to the research knew what a “fund” was, while only 14 per cent said they could define it to another person.

Female clients especially have shown distaste for advice or investment jargon that overcomplicates and generalises, Mackay said.

She added: “It’s still a blokey world – we’re not making anything relevant and this resounds especially with women.

“We’re talking words and jargon and products and advisers and investment managers are so far removed from their audience that they can’t see it.”

Advisers would benefit from breaking down the contents of a client’s portfolio in picture format to show clients what they own, Mackay said.

She added: “We in finance are bad at telling people what they have money in and what they own – everything is words and they don’t mean anything when they are not understood.

Greater gender-balance will boost advice sector’s bottom line

“Communication with clients is not about showing how clever we are, it’s familiarity that is important; showing a personal side and showing relevance is what clients need because financial advisers are often perceived suspiciously and not everyone is convinced they would get a suitable service out of them.”

If women cannot be attracted to advisers as customers it will continue to get harder to attract them to work in the industry, she said.

Openwork marketing director Claire Oldstein says the group’s figures currently show just 11 per cent of advisers are female.

She says: “Women are hugely under-represented in the UK advice community. The financial services industry needs to address the issue of women missing out not just on jobs as advisers but also on senior leadership positions.”


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  1. The best way of developing soft skills? ….. getting older and more experienced.

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