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The changing face of financial advice

View profile for Zoe Whitehead
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"The times they are a changing" - so said Bob Dylan and during 2020 we see how financial advisers across the nation have adapted to continue to deliver a valuable service at a period of upheaval which hasn’t been seen since the Second World War.

"Covid-19 has completely changed the way financial planners deliver advice. At the drop of a hat, the industry had to embrace years’ worth of technological innovation so that advisers could continue to provide their service during a tumultuous time," said Financial services client manager Zoe Whitehead.

"The financial advice sector has traditionally relied on face-to-face meetings and at Pearson we felt this was a great way to get to know our clients over the years, in some cases they have only needed to go to their adviser’s office once a year for a coffee and a detailed overview of their finances," she added.

This meeting was something of a ritual for clients… Until social distancing measures were introduced in March when this format of meeting became impossible.

When people en-masse needed detailed updates on the impact of the pandemic on their finances, conventional meetings were out of the question not only at Pearson but at offices all over the world.

"Our clients and all our advisers quickly adapted and adopted Skype and Zoom to discuss their finances; clients wanted regular updates on their investments’ performance in challenging market conditions and we were quickly and efficiently able to switch and provide this online," said Zoe.

To some extent, clients and advisers became better connected than ever before. Multiple 15 minute video ‘chats’ have generally replaced the longer, formal meetings that were previously a hallmark of the adviser/client relationship. This style of meeting resembles the way people grow closer in conventional relationships, where shorter, more regular interactions dominate.

Although stock markets have, by and large, rebounded since the ‘Covid Crash’ earlier this year, a climate of uncertainty is likely to continue until a vaccine is found. In this scenario, ‘little and often’ contact will remain the norm for most firms. It may even continue into a post-Covid world.’

Continuing to give clients peace of mind

In the Covid uncertainty, advisers really showed their value by saving their clients the legwork needed to make the appropriate changes to clients’ portfolios following the economic shockwaves the pandemic sent around the globe.

The knowledge that their finances were in expert hands and problems would be dealt with diligently served as reassurance for many. Lightening the weight of clients’ financial stresses was crucial when many felt profound uncertainty and vulnerability in all areas of their lives.

"Furthermore, the value of advisers who had close relationships with their clients was greater than ever - so those early coffee meetings were a good basis for a strong relationship. Our advisers are well-versed in their clients’ personal circumstances and could anticipate any changes to their personal financial plans at an early stage during the pandemic," said Zoe.

Personal relationships will always be a vital part of the advice process at Pearson and a strong personal relationship is a key cornerstone of a good service and will be so for as long as the profession exists, but we are happy to meet in whatever way our clients choose - so if it a coffee chat or a zoom session we're here for you.

If you have any questions about how we have adapted our service in the wake of the pandemic, please get in touch on 0161 785 3500.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.