NextWealth and the PFS have joined forces to publish a report on Adviser Business Benchmarks. The report is free to download here.

Financial advice businesses have weathered a lot of change in recent years. They have proved resilient to an onslaught of regulatory and technological disruption. Our report paints a picture of a sector that is growing, as measured by number of clients served, but is also struggling to cope with growth and demand due to the inefficiencies at the heart of retail investing.

The most dramatic finding from our research is that clients wait an average of between three and four weeks from their first meeting with a financial adviser before receiving the first piece of advice. The lengthiest step in the process is waiting for providers to release information on existing policies. We need to do better. This inefficiency is a huge source of frustration for financial planners and also drives up the cost of advice and damages the customer experience.

The research also reveals the profile of financial planners, employees by function, outsourced relationships and approaches choosing investments. On average financial advice firms will outsource to 2.3 discretionary managers, placing Brewin Dolphin as the most used discretionary manager.

With the current talk surround ESG portfolios, it was no surprise to see that 82% of advisers make use of ESG solutions, however for only an average of 7% of client assets.

Due to technological disruption within the industry, our research delved into the use and satisfaction surrounding the technology solutions implemented. Back office systems, cash flow modelling and risk profiling are widely used however the satisfaction level associated vary, with financial adviser being least satisfied with the client portal technology.

You can download a free copy of the report here.

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