In our team meeting last week, we “forced” a debate (in a nice / fun way!). Carl and I put the team into two groups and asked that they come up with pro and opposing argument to the following statement:

“Traditional face to face advice will disappear”. It created a fascinating debate…it was also interesting that the teams interpreted face to face literally i.e. this did not include “zoom or teams” meetings. Following the recent article published by FT Adviser, research from Abrdn suggest the minority of clients want the return of “face to face”. Minority of clients want return to face-to-face advice –, so our discussion was timely.

I think what we established was:

• The preference in communication channel is very personal to the individual. Some people want to talk to people, some people are happy to do things online. And often it just depends what it is. We are human after all and often there isn’t always a clear / simple rationale for people’s preferences.

• There will always be a need for a financial adviser – people have complex wealth needs. Whilst robo advice can cater for some journeys / products, it cannot cater for everything an Adviser could, in particular for High Net Worth (HNW) individuals.

• The advance of technology, in terms of robotics and A.I. is progressing – there is a real opportunity for technology to make the advice process slicker and more efficient for everyone involved

• The cost of advice came up. Was this a barrier for people seeking advice? Or a perception that a face to face meeting increases Adviser costs? Working within the Wealth Management sector for years, we value the profession and service that Financial Advisers provide. The qualifications, maintaining qualifications and CPD, keeping on top of regulations, understanding the different products, providers and platforms…that has to come at a cost. It’s very difficult to “value” advice – there are never any guarantees in terms of a return on investment!

• More than half the group could see “literal” face to face advice disappearing, with the introduction of zoom / teams.

What do you think? Do you think face to face advice will disappear? We’d love to hear your thoughts –

Kate Monserrate – Director