2019 AFA Excellence in Education Award Winner, Ben Nash from Pivot Wealth, offers some great perspectives on how advisers might consider successfully managing their practices and their ongoing client relationships during what Ben refers to as changing times.
As people are increasingly embracing technology, there is no question the financial advice industry will change as we all become accustomed to the new digital normal. To thrive and remain competitive we must continue to innovate and invest in our digital capabilities. I am proud to see how the industry has adapted to meet changing client expectations over the past few months.
The recognition I received from TAL and the AFA through their Excellence in Education Award has encouraged me to continue driving improvements in our industry. Working closely with TAL as part of the AFA Excellence in Education Award has shown me the value they place in supporting advisers through their education journey, and this has equipped me with the tools and resources I need to thrive, particularly in the current environment.
Here are five tips that I would offer to advisers to successfully manage their businesses during changing times.
1. Embrace digital
We have access to a range of digital services; from laptops to smart phones, to secure cloud storage and ways to gain remote access. Technology creates opportunities to provide timely and relevant advice to more Australians - and this can only be a good thing.
Financial advice practices need to continue to embrace technology to meet clients’ shifting digital demands post COVID-19, and make advice more accessible to more Australians for the long-term benefit of clients.
Now is the time to reassess your business operations and strategically focus on creating efficiencies by using more technologically savvy ways to deliver quality advice and strengthen client relationships.
2. Remain available and communicate with your staff
In my experience, communication with your staff is the key to success in remote work environments. We have the digital capacity to do regular check-ins to make sure everyone is working as a collective team. This helps keep people engaged and productive in their work.
Business leaders need to stay in close contact with their team, so they understand that you are available and ‘present’, especially when you’re not physically connected.
3. Keeping in touch with clients is key
We need to be there for our clients. Be approachable and authentic. Working structures may have been impacted, but technology makes it easy to strengthen our relationships with clients.
Although we’d prefer to stand across the table from someone and speak with them in real life, it is no excuse to lose interaction altogether. Use the available tools and technology and do not hesitate to try something new. I would encourage fellow advisers to experiment with various styles of communications to connect with clients in the most relatable way.
For example, organising a virtual catch up or picking up the phone is a productive and meaningful use of time. People will remember a meaningful interaction beyond the backdrop of this time.
4. Create an adaptive work model
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that advisers play a crucial role in helping people take control of their finances.
During such a crisis, when information is inconsistent and people feel high levels of uncertainty, an adaptive working model is invaluable. The younger generations in particular have high expectations of technology, so adapting your client interactions and operating through digital mediums will be quite important as the industry transitions to embrace the new digital normal.
I would encourage all advisers to adapt ways of working according to how their individual clients are responding to the current climate, so they feel safe, secure and well supported to thrive.
5. Remember why we do what we do
For me personally, the most valuable aspect of financial advice is giving people greater confidence in their future.
It is no secret that the financial advice sector is experiencing a period of change and, with recent events, we have a unique opportunity to assure people of their plans and give them confidence in their choices.
As financial advisers, we are in the position to help people feel excited about their financial future – and that in itself is invaluable.