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IFAs embrace the digital age

IFAs are becoming increasingly visible online according to a survey commissioned by Unbiased.co.uk.

The latest ‘State of the IFA Nation’ report reveals that the IFA market is becoming increasingly visible online to ensure consumers can find their details on the virtual high street.

According to the latest figures, 96 per cent of Unbiased.co.uk member IFAs offer their email address as a means of communication and over two thirds (67 per cent) of firms now have a website. However, the report says that only half of those with a website are promoting it cost effectively.

The report also found that IFAs are in a good position to align themselves to the qualification initiatives laid out by the retail distribution review. It notes that 57 per cent of member IFA branch addresses record at least one FSA registered individual who has at least one qualification or designation incremental to the current benchmark.

Investment and savings is the most common area of specialism amongst IFA members with a 97 per cent share according to the report. Personal retirement planning and personal protection were also high scoring product areas with a 94 per cent and 87 per cent share respectively.

Results also show that men continue to dominate the IFA sector with 82 per cent of the market share. Thirteen per cent of firms now employ a male as well as a female IFA and five per cent of IFA member firms are entirely-female run.

Unbiased.co.uk chief executive David Elms comments: “It is encouraging to see that IFAs are embracing the online world, but there is still much more they can do. There are still one in three IFA firms that are currently without a website and we know that consumers are increasingly using the web to research their financial advice options. The challenge for the IFA market over the next years is to further close the technology gap and utilise the online opportunities that are currently in the market.”

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