A new report suggests public awareness of the importance of professional advice has increased 54 percent in the past 12 months, with the pandemic providing financial advisers an invitation to talk to people about planning for the future.
A statement from ClearView says its latest paper titled Fertile ground for an advice outbreak: How Covid-19 has changed the financial services landscape forever, claims that, despite the noise about falling adviser numbers, the advice industry is actually experiencing a renaissance, with:
- 56 percent of advisers reporting higher client engagement in the past year
- 42 percent reporting an increase in client referrals
- A quarter stating that Covid-19 has made it is easier to talk to clients about taking out or renewing life insurance cover
The paper’s co-author, Gerard Kerr, ClearView General Manager for Life Insurance, says Covid provided the jolt many industries and professions needed to disrupt their routine and force a rethink of their value proposition and how it is delivered.
“The Covid-19 experience has demonstrated that advice businesses need a proposition that is broad and flexible enough to meet their clients’ immediate needs as well as their long-term financial needs,” he says.
“In the past 12 to 18 months, we have seen advisers apply themselves to also help clients access relief measures, rent reductions and short-term life insurance premium waivers. As a result, many are riding a wave of positive consumer sentiment and increased demand.”
…20 percent of advised clients are currently experiencing significant temporary financial stress…
The insurer says that based on proprietary research conducted by ClearView:
- 20 percent of advised clients are currently experiencing significant temporary financial stress
- 14 percent are experiencing significant ongoing financial stress
- 22 percent are dealing with mild stress
ClearView Managing Director Simon Swanson says the data highlights the importance of interpersonal and soft skills such as active listening, empathy and problem-solving to better support clients during difficult times.
“Higher education and training standards are critical for rebuilding trust in financial services and strengthening consumer protections, however, we need to foster essential soft skills too,” he says.
Swanson notes that in addition to ordinary challenges related to health, relationships and work, Australians have battled natural disasters in the past couple of years, amidst the global pandemic.
“During this time, advisers have listened to people talk at length about their fears and concerns, fielding calls around the clock from anxious, depressed and emotional clients.”
Swanson cited the paper’s findings that 73 percent of clients would immediately contact their adviser if they had a severe injury or illness and 63 percent would immediately contact their adviser if they lost their job, as evidence of the strong, personal relationship advisers had with their clients.
“Since the onset of COVID-19, advisers have really stepped up to provide additional support to their clients and long after this pandemic has dissipated, more people will likely continue to seek advice,” he says.
Click here for a copy of Fertile ground for an advice outbreak: How COVID-19 has changed the financial services landscape forever