- 96% of advisers conduct customer reviews more frequently than annually, compared with 24% in 2020
- Only 6% conduct more than half of reviews online
- Over half (55%) are being asked more about annuities, compared with 4% 3 years ago
Recent research carried out by Aviva1 paints a picture of increased activity for advisers compared with three years ago, with customer demand for information up across all products, and a significant increase in frequency of customer reviews.
In an Aviva survey2 carried out in August 2020, after the first lockdown had ended but before the two subsequent lockdowns, 59% of advisers agreed that they had been in more frequent contact with their clients since the onset of the pandemic crisis. Results from the most recent survey show that this trend has continued on an upward curve.
In 2020, 76% of advisers said they conducted customer reviews annually, compared with only 4% who do so now. In 2023, nearly half of advisers (47%) conduct quarterly reviews, 38% half-yearly and 11% are doing so monthly. In 2020, the comparative figures were 4%, 15% and 5%.
In August 2020, 10% of advisers said that one long-lasting change they expected to their working patterns, post-pandemic, would be that they would never meet face-to-face with the majority of their clients. This change has not materialized. Despite the substantial increase in the frequency and therefore number of client reviews undertaken, only 6% today say they conduct all or most of their reviews online.
In the August 2020 survey, 54% of advisers reported that their clients had taken a more active interest in their investments since the start of the pandemic crisis. Results from February’s survey indicate that this has not abated at all in the years since, and customers are asking their advisers much more, across a whole range of products.
This is especially noticeable for annuities. Three years ago, 66% of advisers said they were being asked less about annuities than in the previous three years, and only 4% of advisers reported that they were being asked more. Today, more than half (55%) say they are being asked more about annuities, which may be a consequence of the increase in interest rates.
Al Ward, Aviva’s Head of Adviser Platform, comments: “The significant challenges of the last few years all seem to have added to the need for clear and frequent advice. At the beginning of lockdown, advisers had a major role in reassuring their clients through the market volatility which we experienced in Q2 2020. It’s also been widely reported that many people, particularly those who were able to work from home, found themselves sitting on accumulated savings, as we faced a period when we couldn’t travel or spend on leisure in the normal way. Over the past year, cost of living issues and then the turbulence in markets in Q3 2022 impacted on clients’ financial portfolios, which may have prompted further contact with advisers to help manage their money through that worrying time. I think the results from this survey are the culmination of what we have anecdotally been hearing over the last months and years, and is positive proof of the support and reassurance advisers deliver day in, day out.”
As well as providing advice and information on products, advisers have also seen increased demand for advice around efficiency measures and longer-term planning. Two thirds (66%) of advisers report that their clients ask them more about retirement planning than they did three years ago, 64% report the same about questions on tax efficiency, and 61% each on how to maximise investment returns and reduce investment risk. Intergenerational planning is also increasingly a topic that clients want to talk about – 55% of advisers say they are asked about this more, and around half are talking about specific products more than in recent years (53% Junior ISA and 49% Junior SIPP).
Al Ward says; “Many of the changes we saw in markets made planning much more complex. Unprecedented shifts to what might previously have been considered ‘the norm’ saw advisers being trusted to steer their clients through these turbulent waters. I think we should expect this to continue – the Budget changes, with the removal of the Lifetime Allowance and other pensions changes, is another example of the value that advisers can bring in driving towards good outcomes for their clients.”
1 Research carried out by Censuswide, 10th – 17th February 2023. 1003 Respondents who work in the financial services sector. Work at a company where wealth or financial advice is the main line of business. Main role: adviser, paraplanner, admin, business principal or business development. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.
2 Aviva research carried out August 2020 with 731 Wealth advisers.
Notes to editors:
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