To all the advisers reading this column: what's it like when you get stood up by a client? Ann...
To all the advisers reading this column: what's it like when you get stood up by a client?
Annoying, frustrating but something you have to swallow because they are the client and you need or want their business. It gets even more annoying if you've spent money on tickets or hospitality for a major sporting or social occasion and they don't turn up, leaving you with only the flimsiest of reasons. In this situation not only did you not get to see them to do some business, they have actually cost you money, in some cases some quite substantial amounts of money that in a climate such as this you can ill-afford to waste.
Now put yourself in the positions of fund management companies and insurers, whom you have stood up over the years in similar situations.
Did you feel guilty, did you feel like you had done anything wrong or unprofessional? Possibly not, because this kind of attitude has become commonplace among some elements of the intermediary community.
You may argue that 'standing up' a company in a situation like this is unimportant, because it is often pressure of work which has forced the decision upon you.
You'd be right up to a point ' but manners cost nothing and communicating well in advance that you will be unable to attend costs you nothing either. But poor manners do cost your clients something because the wasted marketing costs are ultimately passed on to them through charges.
What would happen if your clients knew you had turned down the chance to listen to the top fund managers in the country talk about what's going on in world markets? What would happen if they heard you had turned down a chance to meet and speak to fund managers with whom you had placed some of their investments? Instead you had relied merely on factsheets which are almost invariably out of date?
Chances are they would think you unprofessional, and their trust in you may well go down. Some would even move their investments and frankly who could blame them?
Advisers need to remember that as important as they are in the distribution chain, they must never abuse their position in their relations with product providers, because it is rude and unprofessional.
In an era when trust in the financial services industry is at an all time low, it is critical that the industry does all it can to restore that trust.
An improvement in the unprofessional way in which many advisers deal with product providers would be a great start ' and might actually improve the service back to the adviser.
To promote 'long-term investment'
Switching 'hard and expensive'
Smaller funds still packing a punch
To drive progress