Over half of financial advisers are feeling under pressure to offer advice to clients on issues over and above their finances, research suggests.
Although the majority are willing to do so to improve client relationships and attract new business, some 27 per cent are reluctant.
In a survey of financial advisers by people management software company BrightHR, over a quarter of respondents said they thought that offering a more rounded service would strengthen client relationships.
Providing pension advice (29 per cent), property advice (26 per cent), employment law advice (25 per cent) and business software solutions (21 per cent) would benefit clients most.
While some financial advisers are already looking at extending their services (15 per cent) or have said they will definitely look into doing so (53 per cent), a further 27 per cent said they wouldn’t look at that option or it wouldn’t be beneficial to them.
Currently, only 26 per cent of financial advisers describe their overall relationship with their clients as ‘strong’, while 30 per cent describe their working relationships as ‘good but they would like it to better’, 41 per cent confess it is just ‘average’ and three per cent say it is ‘purely transactional’.
When asked what the best way was to strengthen the all-important client relationship, financial advisers said it was having a thorough understanding of what their client wanted. This was followed by helping them become more financially organised, being able to offer a wider service and finally, sharing their knowledge set.
The biggest challenges financial advisers are facing in achieving the above were the lack of time to meet clients face-to-face (53 per cent), too much admin and paperwork to get through (26 per cent), understanding ever-changing technology (11 per cent) and poor communication skills (10 per cent).
BrightHR has worked with author and business effectiveness expert Dr David Fraser to launch a new report – Better Relationships | Better Business, which delves into the importance of positive client relationships, provides suggestions to how this can be achieved and examines what impact future technological advances will have on how good client relationships are maintained.
Fraser says: “It’s surprising to learn that such a large proportion of financial advisers are admitting their client relationships were not what they could be. The awareness of the issue is encouraging because it hasn’t always been recognised. The survey clearly shows many businesses realise they need to prioritise time with clients and prospective clients but struggle to free up the capacity to do that. Internal relationships are important too, of course, to sustain the delivery performance and agility of the business. Our new report, Better Relationships | Better Business, provides some answers to these challenges.”
In addition to the report, BrightHR also offers a Partner Programme to help financial advisers build better relationships with their clients. The programme is free to join and provides them with access, via an online portal, to a range of learning resources, training materials and engaging content that they can share with clients.
Paul Tooth, co-founder and CEO of BrightHR, says: “Strong client relationships are vital to a successful business, so our survey throws up some interesting results and thought-provoking questions.
“In general, the financial advisers we spoke to felt under pressure to offer more than financial advice and despite the fact they thought it could potentially improve client relationships, some one in five were unwilling to do so.
“It may help them to know that both our Partner Programme and our report have been specifically designed to give financial advisers the tools with which to engage with their clients and offer another dimension to their work, with very little effort required on their part.
“For those that are interested and willing to offer additional services, our people management software could provide yet another solution. Through our Partner Programme financial advisers can extend their service offering and position themselves as a more all-rounded adviser, while generating commission by recommending BrightHR.”