View more on these topics

Proactive service

Business cannot be developed by just responding to requests which is why we have a protection and savings gap

The Financial Times recently reported on this year’s advertising effectiveness awards. All three winners (M&S, Vodafone and O2) achieved their success through campaigns targeted at existing rather than new clients.

Ad campaigns are like any other form of comm-unication. They need to resonate with the target to be effective so the communication needs to be relevant and, if possible, about a current issue that has high priority with the consumer.

For financial services professionals, this acts as a reminder that having invested the time and effort to secure a relationship with a client/customer, the chances of benefiting from further communication/ targeting of campaigns at them must be greater.

If you are known and trusted, there will be a significantly greater chance that your communication will be heard and this means that the chance of securing a return on the time and effort expended will be greater.

Effective communication depends on many things but it starts with proactivity. A business cannot be developed by merely responding to requests, especially where the deliverables are intangibles that have, too frequently, been shown not to be “front of mind” for most consumers. That is why, for example, we have a protection and pension gap.

There is no shortage of issues to be proactive about. Retirement planning and estate planning are two obvious subjects that spring to mind.

If you can match areas of high interest with those segments of your client base who are likely to be interested, you should have the basis of an effective communication. Then it is about how you tell it, so to speak.

Gary Hamel and CK Prahalad in their book, Competing For The Future, spend time considering the importance of balanced business activity with existing clients and securing new clients of the right type – those who have a need for and will value and pay for your services.

For both categories, the authors say that there will be stated and unstated needs. Dealing with stated needs is easy. All that is needed is a proper and timely response. In connection with financial services business, obvious examples will include responding to a request for an Isa or a mortgage or a pension. Certain financial services products and financial advice are more likely to be “demanded” than others.

Factors that contribute to the creation of this demand will be general publicity that raises the importance of the subject in the mind of the consumer. Ultimately, though, the demand is likely to spring from positive or negative anxiety. In other words, a desire for something or a desire to avoid something.

As mentioned above, the existence of the well known pension gap and the less well known protection gap is a direct result of individuals not being sufficiently anxious about the financial effects of not having enough to live the life one aspires to in retirement or one’s dependants not having enough to live on in the event of the main earner’s death or critical illness.

Where sufficient latent demand does not exist, there will be insufficient “stated needs” for a business to develop its profits and capital value and that is where proactivity comes in. It is obvious really.

Hamel and Prahalad categorise this business activity as dealing with the unstated needs of clients, regardless of whether they fall into the category of existing or prospective clients. Both categories will have stated and unstated needs.

For financial advisers, given the nature of what they are dealing in (advice and financial products), sadly, too many of their “deliverables” will fall into the unstated needs category. That is why proactivity is so important for any business that has aspirations to develop.

In connection with the subject I raised at the beginning of this article – the comparative effectiveness of communication with existing clients, what are the “hot topics” that could be communicated to existing and prospective clients in order to generate a response that could lead to action that will improve their financial lives and that of the business starting the communication?

Well, here are a few subjects that just might elicit a response that leads to activity.

i: The proposal permitting maturing child trust fund accounts to be rolled over into Isas.

Target: Parents, grandparents.

Communication: The importance for parents and grandparents of providing in advance for the costs of higher education and contribution to property purchase.

ii: The continuing uncertainty regarding alternatively secured pensions.

Target: All pension savers.

Communication: The alternatives to Asps, including non-pension savings vehicles with no constraints on how benefits are drawn.

iii: The greater difficulty in effective estate planning due to GWR, the Poat and now the new trust alignment rules.

Target: Those over-60s with estates in excess of the nil-rate band.

Communication: The role of protection plans in trust and, for those with invest-able funds, the possibility of planning through discounted gift trusts and loan trusts.

These are just some of the hot topics to be proactive about with your existing and prospective clients.


Webline prepopulation speeds up applications

Webline has revamped its e-submission capability and revised its term application form to help advisers.A prepopulation tool has been added which allows advisers to transfer up to 80 fields from any back-office system to generate a quote, which Webline says can reduce the application time by up to three hours.A prepopulation tool that targets consumers […]

Balls says bars don’t cut off complaints

Treasury Economic Secretary Ed Balls has weighed into the debate on time bars, saying endowment providers have a duty to consider complaints regardless of the time-barring rules.In a letter to Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell, Balls said the time-barring rules only apply to the ability of the Financial Ombudsman Service to examine the complaint and FSA […]

2008 For Selestia open platform

Selestia/Skandia will launch a complete open architecture platform in early 2008 to complement its integrated wrap.Selestia head of investment marketing Graham Bentley says the wealth management platform will sit alongside its integrated wrap and allow hedge funds, investment trusts and other securities to be held.The pricing structure is likely to follow a Transact-style approach, with […]

Investment trust duo for R&M

River and Mercantile is launching its first investment funds this month. UK equity high alpha will be run by Hugh Sergeant and UK smaller companies fund by Dan Hanbury.

A guide to automatic re-enrolment

Since the introduction of auto-enrolment in 2012, it has been a popular topic in the press. Recent media focus has been geared towards small and micro employers; however attention is set to return to the UK’s largest businesses as they prepare for re-enrolment. Johnson Fleming has produced a useful guide that provides essential information to help you […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm