Paving the way to a new world of retirement planning
It is exciting that there are so much technology and so many financial tools available to help advisers to engage with potential retirees and plan for the future. Finance, in general, has always been viewed as a pretty boring subject by most and many can’t be bothered with all the technical details and terminology.
The truth is, the value of advice cannot be overstated. The majority stands to benefit from being better informed about finance - and retirement planning in particular. So why is there such a low uptake in the number of people that seek advice before they make decisions about their pensions and investments?
This year took almost everyone by surprise. The speed with which we have all had to adapt to the changes in our personal and working lives is truly remarkable. Businesses have also had to be nimble, change operating models and review their approach to client engagement. Face-to-face meetings have been relegated to the background, and networking as a way of meeting prospects has greatly diminished.
For many firms, referrals from existing clients will have played an important role in winning new businesses during this time. The opportunity for expansion during the current crisis, shouldn’t be downplayed. Indeed it is there for all to see.
Engaging remotely is now the norm. Going forward, there will be some form of middle ground that should satisfy advisers and their clients. However, we believe technology will transform the retirement planning profession and enable more clients to really engage with financial advice – and see the full value of doing so.
Getting existing clients and prospects to buy-in to the idea of remote meetings is a battle already half won. While people will still appreciate the need to meet up physically, a lot more can be done remotely. Advisers also realise that winning new business without the need to travel for hundreds of miles is a no-brainer. But how can advisers positively engage with clients in the new world we live in?
However, you prefer to do it, getting to know the client better and building that relationship is fundamental. And the trust that advisers create with their clients can be developed in a variety of ways.
Clients will always be open to and trust an adviser when they sense a genuine interest in their wellbeing, and this can be demonstrated even in a remote setting. A client journey can be tailored and monitored through an app or portal. And, whilst most retirement tools focus on things like income goals and investment strategies, there should also be a place to include questions and feedback on health, client interests, non-financial aspirations and even fears.
It is down to advisers how they design, personalise and frame these questions and get to know more about their clients over time, but it will go a long way in building and developing that trust.
Being digitally led
Psychology and theories grounded in behavioural finance play an important role in financial planning. The emotional needs of clients should not be lost in all the apps, widgets and portals. Whilst some people will be happy with the use of technology, others might not be too comfortable with it.
A one-size-fits-all approach might not necessarily apply, which is why I mentioned previously the need to tailor the client journey as much as possible to suit individual needs.
Clients need to find comfort not just from the words of their advisers but also in the digital experience. That reassurance is important and is part of that trust that is built over time. Little things that could be taken for granted go a long way in leaving a lasting impression in the minds of clients—for example, service standards, privacy and data security.
This could make the difference in the client choosing to stick with the adviser going forward. All of this – the technical, the emotional and the personal – will help reassure clients and give them the confidence and clarity their plans are still on track.