FECIF - The European Federation of Financial Advisers and Financial Intermediaries

Editorial - December 2020

Paul StanfieldPaul Stanfield
FECIF Secretary General

Trust, Technology, Sustainability & Intergenerational Wealth: The Future of Financial Advice?

These were four of the key aspects highlighted during the inaugural FEIFA Autumn Conference Series, which took place throughout November.

Delivering the opening keynote speech at the first webinar, Keith Richards, CEO at the Personal Finance Society, suggested that trust was the single greatest barrier for advisers in attracting new clients.

In the second webinar some of the thoughts from the earlier keynote were echoed – namely that referrals are almost certainly the best way to grow client banks, utilising the trust element. Advisers who were effective in gaining referral business were the ones that had more often than not been able to attract more new clients this year than their peers, even during lockdowns.

In the keynote presentation on day 1, it was also pointed out that “we are all a bit robo”, suggesting that a blend of professional financial planner and technology is a very powerful solution.

The “technology thread” ran through all of the webinars in one way or another; the conclusions always being that automation should not be feared as an alternative by the advisory sector, but it must embrace technology to provide the services that clients will want and expect in the future.

The speed and manner of the way that most advisers had coped with remote working was seen as a positive sign of the ability of our sector to utilise technology - it seemed to bode reasonably well for the future but our sector needs to do more in this regard.

The fifth webinar in the series focused on “ESG: Sustainability & Regulation”. An explanation that there is “no economy without water, no sustainable economy without waste management” was complemented by an examination of the four pillars to sustainable investing.

These sessions simply highlighted another thread that ran throughout the events: a combination of regulation and consumer demand is simply making ESG investing mainstream; and COVID-19 has significantly accelerated that direction of travel.

Intergenerational Wealth
The second webinar, “Excelling in a Changing Environment”, considered many aspects, but not least the importance of intergenerational wealth. It touched on the significance that had also been mentioned in the first event – namely that £400 billion was due to be passed between generations in the next 10 years!

The importance of this was highlighted further in the last webinar, when it was found that, at present, two-thirds of clients’ children do not take on their parent’s adviser!

As a sector we need to become far better at engaging with the families, and prospective heirs and beneficiaries, of our clients – otherwise our business may sadly die with those clients!

Perpetual Change
Brexit and the US election, alongside the impacts already mentioned - COVID-19, technology and regulatory change – were highlighted throughout the events, as you might imagine.  One of the key conclusions was that perpetual change and turbulence only increases the need for professional advice; this is therefore a time of opportunity, but ensuring that clients receive the best and most expert advice will reap the greatest dividends for advisers, as always.

The FEIFA Autumn Conference Series consisted of 8 webinars, over a four-week period in November, plus 4 evening networking sessions. Presentations from major investment industry names like Fidelity and Schroders, plus cross-border insurers such as Luxembourg’s OneLife and Dublin-based Quilter International (formerly Old Mutual International), were complemented by numerous TED Talks, a panel session and Keynote speeches. One speaker even explained how we can “Reboot our Neck-Top Computer and Control our Inner Critic” – fascinating stuff!

FECIF’s own Simon Colboc was one of the experts on the much-valued panel session.

The total series of webinars created the opportunity for advisers to generate up to 8 hours of CPD, all whilst benefiting from knowledge, expertise and ideas that will help them in their everyday working life. All of the sessions are now available as Video on Demand.

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