Recently we completed a study aiming to discover what makes a great client/adviser relationship, and what are the best points to look for in an independent financial adviser .
One of the first things we learnt was that the general population are becoming more diverse. Gone are the days when investments and financial advice was only sought out by ageing executives. It seems that entrepreneurs and business men are also being joined by more women and younger investors. As the client landscape changes so do attitudes and outlooks, to both money and life.
We also found that people are better informed than they were. With information on pretty much anything you could possible think of readily available at the touch of a button, it should come as no surprise that you know more now than you ever did before.
Nowadays, when you begin to approach a financial adviser it's highly possible that you'll do so with a full notebook of your own ideas, and you are eager to get the ball rolling with regards to your financial goals. You may be less focussed towards financial institutions, and more willing to invest in fields you have chosen yourself, areas that you are particularly interested in perhaps.
What this suggests is that financial advisers now have to be more open than in previous years. Financial advisers now must also be more adaptable and aware of varying levels of knowledge and desired input. A few important points have been highlighted.
Your ideal financial adviser will have extensive knowledge of the financial world and its various laws and regulations. As a client you should have an adviser who will have the knowledge to answer any questions you may have with regards to your financial planning.
As a client you should expect to receive general advice of a high standard, and to be taught how to handle the big financial decisions you may face.
A good financial adviser will be able to connect you with other advisers who offer different areas of expertise.
A good financial adviser will also be able to appropriately recommend and endorse other advisers and financial options to you. For this reason it is imperative that you are receiving the correct information.
A good adviser will be able to complete paperwork on your behalf, in fact part of their job is to assist you with eliminating red tape.
Ultimately, you will be creating a relationship with your adviser, you will see the adviser as your financial rock, a confidant so to speak.
Along with what an adviser must do, it is also important to realise what you think, and what kind of points you will come to want from a financial relationship with an IFA, and what they can offer.
One of the key points is freedom. Our research has shown that clients, above all, want to control their finances to attain a sense of freedom- freedom to live comfortably and how they please. The concept of “becoming your own person” was a strong element. People want security and the feeling that they are in control of their own lives, and that of their family. Financial planning plays a big part in this as good planning can put them on the road to security, and eventually, freedom.
Consistency and service
Another aspect that consumers established as a vital component of a good financial relationship was a consistent and personal level of service. A financial adviser must be prepared to go in for the long haul, when it comes to matters as important as personal finance and the well being of people and their families, you will want somebody you can establish a relationship with, someone you can trust. Establishing trust goes hand in hand with a long term relationship.
These ideals also extend to the level of service clients will expect. When taking advice, you will have to be comfortable in the knowledge that everything you are being told has been related to your personal needs and requirements with due care. Research has shown that the number one turn off for clients was advisers who came across like sales drones, people there for the pay-off who do not have the clients best interests in mind.
Clients were also found to appreciate a strong level of diversity amongst financial products and know-how. Many clients are aware of the benefits that come with having a varied portfolio so a good IFA will be able to demonstrate an offering of various products.