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Clients and advisers still value human touch

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Advisers say face-to-face meetings remain the most valued client communications channel, despite the growth of digital and social media alternatives, according to a study commissioned by Investec Wealth & Investment.

On average, advisers say the majority (59 per cent) of time spent communicating with clients is through face to face meetings while two-fifths of IFAs (42 per cent) predict the portion to be over 75 per cent.
 
Despite the current dominance of face to face meetings, nearly one in four advisers (23 per cent) predict the amount they do will fall off over the next five years compared to 10 per cent who think they will do more. The majority (62 per cent) think the number of meetings will remain the same.
 
The study shows that advisers are increasingly using a variety of digital and social tools to engage with clients: three-quarters (72 per cent) forecast email will become more important over the next five years while a quarter (26 per cent) predict they will be conducting more remote meetings through Facetime and Skype. Despite their high profile, only 5 per cent think that LinkedIn and Twitter will become more important as client communications channels.
 
Mark Stevens, head of intermediary services, Investec Wealth & Investment, says: “The majority of long term relationships between intermediaries and clients are built around delivering face-to-face advice and the research underlines this will remain the case for the foreseeable future. That said, advisers recognise the growing popularity of digital and social channels how these can be used positively to strengthen their relationships but not act as a substitute for face-time.   
 
“While face to face client meetings are a key part of an adviser’s role, they often leave little time for other important activities such as investment management. This is where good quality discretionary investment managers can play a pivotal role in helping advisers to focus on responding to their clients, many of which will be facing an increasingly complex set of financial planning challenges in the years to come.”

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