In conversation with advisers: Going digital if your clients desire it

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In conversation with advisers: Going digital if your clients desire it

Partner Insight: Cathi Harrison, director of para-sols and Apricity and Clare Farrell managing director at Northfield Wealth met in London recently to discuss offering digital services to clients.

In the fourth video of the series, they talk to Julian Marr, Editor of Professional Adviser about offering a digital approach to clients if they want it.

Harrison says financial advisers should be developing digitally if it something their clients want, and it is something they can do and have a personal interest in. She gives a word of warning, however: "Financial advisers shouldn't be developing a digital strategy for their clients, just because they heard about it in the news, or they think it is the latest thing to do.

"If I was an adviser, as part of my clients' annual review, I would be asking if I needed more of a technological approach and then I would ask, how could I go about delivering that to my clients?

"The majority of clients are using platforms, and there are back office systems where they can log in and see a lot of the data they need already. What they then should do, is discuss what they want from their financial adviser - once or twice a year. This one-to-one advice is something you wouldn't get from a robo-adviser or an online platform.

"There is a lot of talk about robo-advice playing a role in supporting the traditional financial adviser, but I wouldn't be carrying out digital financial advice, just because another financial adviser is doing it."

Farrell says: "If a financial adviser feels digital advice is appropriate to their business model, then they should go ahead with it, but for us [Northfield], it is not something high on the agenda. Technology, however, can help in many ways, we are doing that upfront, so our clients can fill in their ‘attitude to risk questionnaire online', and they can complete part of their fact find online. But we don't insist on digital services, if it is not right for that client. I do, however think that technology is very important, but we shouldn't force it on our clients who are not ready yet."

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