Financial advisers are placing an increasing emphasis on business support than ever before, despite MiFID II, which is challenging providers and platforms to re-think their provision.
That’s according to Cicero Group’s biannual Adviser Influence Guide, which reveals that support of a more consultative and personalised nature are becoming more important determinants of provider and platform selection.
Cicero’s analysis also finds that there are support and services that have a far more positive impact on where adviser place business than they necessarily claim, raising opportunities for valued differentiation.
When asked what type of support was most important to them, advisers ranked the core tenets of technical expertise, problem resolution and email responsiveness as critical. Conversely, respondents suggested practice development support and business generation ideas were least important.
However, Cicero’s correlation analysis – testing advisers’ ranking of providers’ support alongside advisers’ keenness to do business with providers – found that firms that offered good CPD support, practice development support and events were more likely to have advisers want to work with them in the future.
These kinds of specialised support often come with a heftier price tag for providers, and as such are underinvested in. Furthermore, many providers are wary of falling foul of January’s MiFID II regulation on inducements. If providing these resources is done properly and professionally, the research shows, providers can truly set themselves apart from the competition and build more enduring relationships by delivering what matters.
Phil Wickenden, Managing Director of Research at Cicero Group, says: “Our study shows that business and technical supports are becoming more important determinants of provider and platform selection. But as demand has risen, provider delivery has plateaued at best, representing a big opportunity for some fairly chunky return-on-investment on any activity delivered remotely well. Listening to what advisers say they want from providers is no doubt essential. But it’s these subconscious differentiators that will really affect propensity to do continued business with a provider.”
Andrew Roberts, Research Director at Cicero Group, says: “There is a clear gap in the market for financial service providers that go above and beyond for their clients in technical support. Our research indicates that, when asked about providers and platforms they associate with great business and technical support, few brands resonate.”
“For providers, far too many selling initiatives communicate product ‘features’ rather than assessing the value that financial advisers can gain from using their systems. This must change if they want to deepen relationships with their clients and improve return on investment.”