Financial advisers in the UK "lag their US peers" in making use of softer skills, according to life coach Maria Nemeth.
Nemeth has worked with several hundred UK-based advisers and is considered one of the leading exponents of relationship building during the financial planning process.
In an exclusive interview with IFAonline, she said: "US-based advisers are aware of how important ‘trust' is when dealing with clients, in the UK this is still considered a softer skill, a ‘touchy feely' skill, UK advisers lag their US peers in making use of these skills.
"UK financial planners are still more focused on the technical side of the process. But in my view this sort of relationship building is a new hard skill."
She added: "Advisers should all be working to develop their relationships, their success will stem from this.
"It is worth remembering that the majority of people seeking financial advice now are women. It is particularly important that women feel comfortable in the advisory setting.
"I am a clinical psychologist by training and recognise that seeing a financial adviser can often lead to excitation of the part of the brain that regulates anxiety (the amygdala).
"This can create the ‘fight or flight' mechanism. In short, discussing finances alongside personal circumstances can be a very daunting experience for clients."
She said that the work she does at the Academy for Coaching Excellence aims to put clients at ease by running through a 'life intentions inventory' which comprises universal questions that help demonstrate the adviser in on their client's side.
However, the UK does have an edge on the US in terms of its regulation according to Nemeth.
She said: "The UK is setting an example to the US and other countries with its Retail Distribution Review (RDR). It is an example of regulation created to ensure that clients are well served. It is creating the right set of priorities, and so for that reason I am thrilled to be working in the UK."
Nemeth will be hosting a keynote session to discuss her work at this year's Personal Finance Society Conference to be held in Birmingham on 8 and 9 November.
Advisers who would like to contact Maria Nemeth can email her at [email protected]
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