What do financial advisers want?

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Understanding the pressures and needs of intermediaries

There are roughly 25,900 financial advisers working in the UK today. If a financial provider wants to be successful, they need to connect with a large proportion (if not all) of them.

And that’s no mean feat.

Although 26,000 isn’t the biggest audience in the world (compare it to Uber’s 75 million strong target market) it’s still a complex and diverse range of people. After all, every intermediary has their own highly specific specialisms, interests, and career aspirations – read our follow-up blog posts on adviser personas for more on this!

But amongst this diversity are some fundamental priorities which all advisers hold in common. As a provider, you need to shape your marketing around these priorities to create maximum impact on intermediaries.

To help you, we’ve identified the top four ambitions that all financial advisers share. If you can demonstrate how you help enable advisers achieve these four ambitions, you’ll have a better chance of making a connection with them through your marketing.

So, here are four key things financial advisers want:

1. To make money

Financial advisers are many things: experts, helpers, teachers. But they are also businesspeople. And, like all businesses, they need to make money. That’s the industry we’re in!

Of course, it’s not the done thing for providers to talk to advisers about commission.

Instead, you can talk to advisers about growing their business, and help them to generate more leads. This is a roundabout way of helping them make more money – obviously, since adding more clients will only do positive things to your bottom line.

Can you offer any guidance to help advisers with their own marketing?

There are lots of ways to do this: by providing free marketing materials or resources, giving personalised advice, holding training workshops to teach advisers how to manage it themselves.

If you prove your value and authority to advisers in this capacity, it’s very likely they will turn to you when it comes to recommending products to their clients.

2. To do a good job

Financial advisers guide their clients through some of the biggest decisions of their lives. It’s a massive responsibility, and it’s important to recognise this in your communications. It sounds obvious, but you have to show advisers how you can help them deliver better customer outcomes.

When you clearly display how you can help improve their clients’ lives, they’ll find it much easier to connect with you.

3. Less complexity and more time

No matter who you are or what you do, we all want a simple life.

Unfortunately, the current regulatory landscape is making it hard for intermediaries to achieve this. In the last few years alone, we’ve seen the introduction of Mifid II, GDPR and now the Senior Managers and Certification Regime.

Each new piece of legislation represents a significant time investment for advisers. First, they have to educate themselves on the new requirements, and then they have to make sure everything they do is compliant – which can be a serious amount of admin.

Mifid II, for example,  requires FS firms to disclose a breakdown of all costs associated with a client’s investments, adding another 20 minutes of administrative time to each client meeting.

The time pressure on advisers means two things for providers: first, it has a bearing on the way you try to connect with them. Your communications should be short and to-the-point, showing that you respect intermediaries’ time.

Secondly, you need to consider how your products or services enable advisers to devote more time to the things that matter, and help their clients. If you can help save them time, make sure to shout about it (although don’t push this point if you can’t back it up!).

4. Confidence

People expect their adviser to have a comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge of all financial matters. And this is a big ask.

So, you need to be able to give advisers confidence – whether you’re encouraging advisers to broaden their advice offering (i.e. offering more protection advice when their focus is mortgages) or you’re helping them to get to grips with the specific benefits of your retirement income service. If they don’t feel confident that they have the required knowledge to guide their client through the process (and answer any difficult questions they might ask) they won’t want to talk about your product.

Interactive tools can be a great way to help advisers take control of the sales process, since they make it easier for advisers to discuss complicated subjects or highlight the value of a product to their clients.

Our risk reality calculator, for example, helps even the most inexperienced adviser prove the necessity of protection. Similarly, our Sequence of Returns Risk tool allows the adviser to demonstrate the effects of pound cost ravaging and the dangers of income drawdown in the early stages of retirement, so their client can see the direct benefit a fixed term annuity would have on their retirement.

Advisers are a diverse bunch, and this means it can be difficult to create a message that connects with them.

This is something we’ll be exploring more in the coming months. We’re going to dive into adviser personas, and examine how to create a message that works for each of them – so watch this space to find out more!

And do let us know if you think we’ve got anything wrong here or any key insights we’re missing, we’d love to hear from you.