Clients overwhelmed by excess ESG information

Advisers need to be careful not to overwhelm clients with ESG information, according to adviser Farren Williams, as they already implicitly trust their adviser.

Speaking at the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) conference in Sydney, Williams, adviser and partner at Koda Capital, discussed providing information about environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments for clients.

She was asked by a delegate whether it was the financial adviser who went into depth or whether clients asked for this information.

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Williams said there was usually an implicit trust that advisers were acting in the best interest of clients and did not require masses of information.

“Clients have advisers because they want someone they can trust and who will come up with a solution that is appropriate for their needs.

“They won’t be interrogating every single recommendation and wanting every piece of due diligence to make their own decision. There is an implicit trust that you have put the recommendations together in a thoughtful way.

“There are some clients who are very sophisticated and will have very detailed questions and then you will need to go to the bottom of the iceberg but, by and large, clients want the advice process to be easy.”

She recommended advisers stayed at the ‘top level’ and ensured the recommendations were aligned with clients’ objectives and values.

“Otherwise you end up overwhelming them, their eyes glaze over and they don’t know how to make a decision. You should try to keep it as straightforward for the client as possible.”

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