Most advisers cite seeing clients as the favourite part of the job, but their behaviour changes over time. Laura Miller finds out how advisers adapt to meet evolving client demands...
There are many different types of people and no one size fits all way of advising them, especially as behaviour and attitudes tend to change over the years. As novelist and poet JG Holland once said: “the secret of many a man’s success in the world resides in his insight into the moods of men and his tact in dealing with them”, and never a truer word was said for the advice game.
So, how do advisers adapt to the changing face of client behaviour?
Worldwide Financial Planning IFA Nick McBreen believes different clients respond better to meeting styles that fit with their personality types and behaviours.
Client behaviour: Dealing with change
“Over the years I have learned to adapt content and delivery to best meet and fit in with that. The old adage ‘different strokes for different folks’ is spot on.”
McBreen added he had noticed clients’ behaviour change over the course of their working relationship – and for the better.
“As I have got to know clients better the meetings are more relaxed and, through that, comes more openness and directness which is very helpful for all parties.”
McBreen believes communicating with clients in a language and format that they feel comfortable with is essential, basically to strip out the jargon and speak in plain English.
This is all the more important as clients, post financial crisis, tend to ask more questions and will be looking for answers in a form of language they can understand.
Advisers use various methods to help clients get to grips with what is happening to their money – and to explain what services they are providing.
Independence Wealth chief executive Rob Noble-Warren shares portfolio performance reports with his clients that detail the optimal performance possible from the markets - with the assumption that asset allocation is all-important - and how they have actually done.
“When clients read and understand these reports they are relaxed and comfortable during meetings,” he said.
Noble-Warren finds client behaviour is most strongly affected by their understanding of what is happening and how it affects them, and that adapting the giving of advice to address these issues can actually mean client meetings take up less, not more, time.
“Where they know the answers, know their choices and feel they are doing the best they could, clients are relaxed and confident, compliant and take up little time.”
The next generation
Noble-Warren has found that, over the years, his clients become increasingly relaxed about their own financial position, and increasingly concerned about that of their children.
Such a behavioural change offers advisers an opportunity to provide inter-generational financial planning.
Sanlam Private Wealth financial planner Meurig Hughes has been advising for 11 years. The main change he has noticed in clients is that they are “more receptive and interested in the overall process now”.
However, he said the faith and trust he has instilled in clients through the advice he has given has remained a constant in an ever-changing world.
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