Private client seminars will be vital to enhance client value in the post-RDR world, the founder of online adviser forum IFA Life says.
Philip Calvert says the advice market is becoming increasingly competitive and warns advisers will need to prove to clients they can provide services above and beyond those available online.
However, some advisers say they are unsure how cost-effective private client workshops would be.
Speaking today, Calvert says: “Whatever the outcome of the Retail Distribution Review, it’s certain that financial advisers will need to ensure that their business proposition is explicit, unambiguous, distinct and clearly understood by clients, prospects and professional introducers.”
Calvert says the internet has an important role to play in communicating with clients, but says successful firms need to offer a more personal and hands-on approach.
He says this will help enhance relationships with high-net-worth clients as well as help advisers comply with the FSA's treating customers fairly (TCF) principles.
Calvert says firms that host seminars and workshops will find it easier to communicate with top clients and enable them to form lifelong relationships.
“Our research tells us that many professional financial advisers will include seminars at the core of their communication mix – thus adding significant value to relationships with their high net-worth clients,” Calvert says.
“Seminars are undoubtedly a powerful and proven tool for IFAs wishing to enhance client value whilst simultaneously boosting the perception of their professional credibility.”
Several adviser firms, such as Park Row, rely on client seminars in order to attract new business but other companies say they are not cost effective.
Jim Clancy, from Clancy's Financial Planning, says he would consider hosting private client seminars but has concerns over whether they would be worthwhile due to past experiences.
"We ran a seminar in the past, and it was fairly well attended but we only got three or four clients out of what turned out to be an expensive exercise," he explains.
Calvert says many IFAs have attempted a seminar approach in the past, but says ineffective marketing, along with poor planning and presentation, has led to them abandoning the concept.
To increase awareness of the use of seminars, Calvert has launched two training workshops to assist IFAs in creating their own seminar programme.
The first workshop, titled ‘Seminar on Seminars’ will take place on 1 February, while a more advanced, two-day course on 6 and 7 March called the ‘Seminar Selling Boot Camp’, will teach IFAs how to plan and promote their seminar programme.
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