New research has confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the take-up of digital advice but the good news for financial planners is that clients have rarely been more aware of the importance of good advice.
The research, conducted by KPMG, has found that while many people regard financial advice as a discretionary spend for which they are not prepared to pay much, those that use financial advisers see them as essential.
It found that more than 70% were satisfied with their financial planner – compared to 59% of respondents who were satisfied with their superannuation funds.
It said that while more clients had been reviewing the services provided by advisers, there had also been greater engagement than with respect to insurance or super, and planners had been more pro-active in contacting customers.
“More flexibility in both the services and products they provide and in how they engage – with two-thirds of consumers keen to keep this wholly online – were also clear findings,” the KPMG research said.
Commenting on the findings, KPMG’s insurance and wealth strategy lead, Tim Thomas said that despite the financial pressures many people faced, there was much from the research that financial planners could take heart from.
“Australians who have been impacted by the crisis see financial advice and planning as essential and general awareness of the importance of advice is growing due to the crisis,” he said. “The challenge for planners is turn that underlying potential into services that consumers are willing to pay for.”
“Personal relationship with advisers is often as important as the funds invested in, so regular engagement is critical, and this must be through a variety of channels, given that two-thirds now want to go wholly online,” Thomas said.
“With such a community focus on improving the affordability and accessibility of financial advice the big opportunity for advice organisations is to respond to customers’ shift in mindset to engage financial planners through a hybrid of face to face and digital interactions, which should go some part to reducing the cost of advice delivery without compromising on its quality.”