October 19, 2018
Consumers are unlikely to stop seeking advice in the wake of findings from the Financial Services Royal Commission if they already have a trusted relationship with an adviser, according to new research released by MetLife Australia.
The research, titled MetLife Adviser-Client Relationship Report 2018, examined the attitudes of consumers and small to medium enterprise (SME) in regards to purchasing life insurance through a financial adviser, and surveyed people who use an adviser, are considering using an adviser in the next two years and and SMEs with up to 20 employees.
In doing so, MetLife Australia found that, when asked about the Royal Commission, 56 per cent of consumers and 37 per cent of SMEs stated the findings would not change their advice relationship, while 20 per cent of advised consumers reported they were more likely to visit their financial adviser.
MetLife Australia Head of Retail Sales, Matt Lippiatt said the survey picked up on the Commission’s focus on the need for quality advice, as well as its appeal to consumers.
“Given that as many as four in 10 consumers and SMEs have been with their adviser for more than five years, it seems that many clients have established a high level of trust and confidence in their adviser’s integrity and abilities,” Lippiatt said.
He added that MetLife also questioned survey respondents as to what were the key attributes they sought in an adviser with honesty, trustworthiness, transparency and experience ranking highly across all three groups.
“Across the board, consumers and SMEs want to establish a genuine relationship with a financial adviser they can trust,” he said, adding, “They clearly value the adviser who goes the extra mile to listen to them, understand their needs, and communicate regularly and clearly.
The research also found a high level of satisfaction with the service they receive from their adviser with 61 per cent of consumers and 59 per cent of SMEs rating their adviser ‘excellent’ or ‘very good, while only 13 per cent of consumers and 11 per cent of SMEs rate their adviser ‘poor’ or ‘fair’.
“We’ve seen a lot of negativity about financial advice in the media, but consumers and SMEs are both telling us that there are good advisers who are doing a great job,” Lippiatt said, adding the challenge for the financial service sector was to make advice more affordable and accessible.