There is potential for financial advisers to have a brand that rivals the size of bank’s advice networks if they find the “secret nugget” that resonates with consumers.
Speaking to Money Management, Stuart Holdsworth, chief executive of Financial Simplicity, said there was the opportunity to create advice networks which allowed advisers to provide advice en masse by following the same values across all brands.
“There is the opportunity to be as big as the banks, if they can develop an experience that resonates with consumers then they absolutely have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of consumers. There is the potential to be major players,” Holdsworth said.
“It will be less about adviser to adviser and more about having a brand that provides satisfaction and engagement, it’s about brand values.
“There is a mechanism where the industry can take on clients and use technology to deliver a service on an industrial level as opposed to a cottage industry.”
This would also help to solve the problem of providing advice on a mass level, which had been a challenge causing the advice gap.
This had been the case in the UK where firms were setting up as ‘advice networks’ and had been taking an industrial approach to setting up their advice businesses.
Holdsworth said the large brand would be the one to find the factor that consumers valued from their advice experience and worked out how it could be played out on a larger scale.
“You have to find the secret nugget which is critical for clients, there are items which might not seem like a big deal right now but will be critical in three years’ time and be something in dominate the market,” Holdsworth said.
He particularly highlighted empathy and understanding the consumer as something that clients required and it would be crucial to see how advisers could scale that up yet still provide a personal service.
“The customer is expecting that and if we don’t provide it then we will be redundant,” Holdsworth said.
“The challenge and opportunity is how to leverage the scalability of the boutique experience that people like and what they like about it.
“It doesn’t matter the size of the firm, it’s about the experience and whether that can be replicated on a large scale.”