intelliflo - One year on: advice industry powers on with more clients and greater efficienciesA year on since the UK was first placed in full national lockdown, advisers have reported an increase in clients, acceleration of technology adoption, greater efficiencies, and more confidence in growth for 2021, according to new research from our second annual intelliflo Advisory Business Impact Poll1.
Rise in the number of clients
When asked about the biggest changes they’ve observed over the last 12 months, 48% of adviser firm employees reported an increase in the number of clients.
For more than a third (38%) of respondents, technology enabled them to service clients in different locations over the last year, signalling the power of technology in customer acquisition.
The future looks bright for the industry, as 53% of advisers believe there will be more new clients seeking advice, compared to just 3% who think there will be less. The future looks bright for consumers too, as 70% of advisers think their clients’ personal finances have improved during the pandemic, compared to just 4% who believe they’ve worsened.
Tech adoption continues to accelerate
Comparing this year’s findings to our inaugural Advisory Business Impact Poll in April 2020, the results show how far advisers have come in adopting technology. Last April, one in four (42%) had adopted technologies that they planned to implement permanently – this is now almost one in seven (67%). One third (32%) had adopted new technologies that were enabling them to become more efficient – this is now two thirds (64%).
Furthermore, when asked what their business has been able to improve on over the last 12 months, better adoption of technology with employees (65%) and better adoption of technology by clients (60%) came out on top.
In addition to the poll, our data shows Personal Finance Portal users increased by 85% between January 2020 and January 2021. Over the same period, the number of documents sent via DocuSign leapt by 1,608%.
Challenges of today
Last year, our Advisory Business Impact poll 2020 also revealed advisers’ top concerns for the year ahead were maintaining relationships with clients (42%), reduced level of business (40%), and navigating market uncertainty (37%). However, our 2021 poll shows that these fears haven’t been fully realised. For instance, while 40% of advisers were concerned about a reduced level of business in April 2020, today, 9% report this as a challenge.
Instead, the greatest challenges today include staying abreast of changing rules and regulation (35%) and time management (32%). As advisers look ahead to the next six months, these remain the top concerns.
Nick Eatock, CEO of intelliflo, comments: “These findings bring some much-welcomed positive news for the advice profession, following a highly uncertain period. When we spoke to advisers last year, they were understandably cautious and nervous of what lay ahead but, a year on, advisers have proved themselves to be resilient and quick at adapting to fit their customers’ needs.
“Clearly, technology has made the last year easier, with businesses being able to quickly move to the virtual world. In doing so, advisers are finding greater efficiencies and new uses of technology that are helping their business grow. We look forward to seeing this continue as we move forward in a new era for financial advice.”
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1 intelliflo’s Advisory Business Impact poll 2021 was run between 16-24 March 2021 and had 206 respondents within UK advisory firms.