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What advisers are saying: cost pressures hitting home

Cost pressures and tighter margins are affecting advisers. The cost of relationship will be significantly higher, having an impact on business models and placing far greater emphasis on technology, paraplanners and administrators.

What we are hearing loud and clear is that many advisers are really picking up the slack. There is far less room for costly errors.

Delays, inaccuracies, goose chases (whether wild or mild) have a very tangible impact on advisers’ ability to deliver their service proposition… and do it profitably.

Advisers are carefully putting in place the infrastructures (including which providers, platforms and fund managers to work with or not) that will facilitate the delivery of more joined up, technically robust, relationship-driven advice.

But in the midst of the regulation, consternation, and business defribulation we can lose sight of the main thing. We’re often too quick to get technical (sorry dad!) and forget the raison d’être – people. The detail is imperative and the right delivery of it even more so. But let’s not forget that it is people we are both serving and depending on for service. Whether we are a client, adviser, platform or a provider, we all have that much in common.

Some basic human truths emerged from interviews we carried out for the PFS conference at the end of last year that are often lost in their simplicity. Briefly:

  • Advisers hugely value (and enjoy!) working with people,
  • Advisers love solving problems and genuinely making a difference to their clients’ lives.
  • It ain’t all about the money.

I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to assume:

a) that these values are fairly universal and that
b) there are many more we share if we bother to look.

Most of us want to do a great job (or at least a good one). It is the obstacles to doing that job and delivering great service that most frustration is derived from – long lead All quotes taken from IFA interviewstimes, inability to respond to queries, incorrect information and anything that places a greater burden (and ultimately cost) on business.

Ask, “How can we increase our personal contact,” “how can we help advisers to solve their and their clients’ problems (and even, how can we make them our problems)” “What can we do every day, and at every touch point to make a difference”?

Demonstrating that these are values you (advisers, providers and platforms) recognise and embrace are key to developing the relationships on which our industry is (and will continue to be) based, in spite of the growing role of technology and importance of technical excellence.

Phil Wickenden is the founder of research firm So Here’s The Plan

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