Progressive firms will want to take advantage of changes in the market before their competitors do - so what questions are they likely to be asking right now?
Firms that want to make the most of opportunities afforded by the Retail Distribution Review, auto-enrolment and the fall in adviser numbers will be looking to set themselves apart from competitors wanting to do the same.
Although no one has a crystal ball, spotting market trends and taking advantage of them will mark out the best firms from the also-rans.
Here are five questions progressive firms must address:
1 How do we respond to the feminisation of wealth?
The female market has never been properly targeted by financial advisers and yet an increasing number of career women have accumulated wealth and are seeking out advice independently of their husband or partner.
Five questions every forward-thinking firm should ask
Ways of addressing this include tailoring advice to make it more suitable for female clients, recognising that genders might have different risk profiles, and bringing more women advisers onto your team - a majority of women (70% according to research from Morningstar) prefer to take advice from other women.
Similarly, now that advice is more customer-focused and less target/sales driven it is more likely to appeal to women, according to MDM associates managing director Lisanne Mealing. This is certainly a question companies that want to grow should address.
2 Who will be the next generation of wealth holders? (And how can we service them?)
The baby boomers are aging and the race is on to court the next ‘rich’ generation. But who are they most likely to be and how will their financial priorities differ from their parents? Are they likely to be charitable givers, will they have different interests, needs and attitudes (to family, taxation or inheritance for example)?
How will macro-economic issues such as economic decline or globalisation and increased travel affect the way they manage their wealth and the type of advice required? If current trends continue, there are likely to be fewer very wealthy people but they will have more of the pie. What sort of services can an adviser offer this generation?
These might include financial literacy, prenuptial agreements and management of more complicated family dynamics than those of the previous generation.
3 What is the next important social media platform?
Most progressive advisers recognise that a presence on social media (Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn) helps towards maintaining good relationships with their clients. Similarly, there are numerous new sites that can help the adviser but the question is which of these suit their business best.
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Reporting to Steve Hill
Appointed on 19 September