Business support is key to retaining IFA business: Cicero

Offering financial advisers business support via enhanced business generation and practice development services can “reap benefits” for life and pension firms and asset managers, according to research from Cicero Group.

Cicero said that its report highlights that financial advisers are placing an increasing emphasis on business support than ever before, despite Mifid II, which is challenging providers and platforms to re-think their provision.

The research was unveiled in Cicero Group’s biannual Adviser Influence Guide, which states that a more consultative and personalised nature are becoming more important determinants of provider and platform selection.

Cicero’s analysis also finds that there are supports and services that have “a far more positive impact” on where adviser place business than they necessarily claim, raising opportunities for “valued differentiation”.

‘Critical’

When asked what type of support was most important to them, advisers ranked technical expertise, problem resolution and email responsiveness as “critical”. Conversely, respondents suggested practice development support and business generation ideas were least important, Cicero said.

Phil Wickenden, managing director of research at Cicero Group said:“Our study shows that business and technical supports are becoming more important determinants of provider and platform selection. But as demand has risen, provider delivery has plateaued at best, representing a big opportunity for some fairly chunky return-on-investment on any activity delivered remotely well.

‘Subconscious differentiators’

“Listening to what advisers say they want from providers is no doubt essential. But it’s these subconscious differentiators that will really affect propensity to do continued business with a provider.”

Andrew Roberts, research director at Cicero Group, pointed to a “clear gap in the market” for financial service providers that go above and beyond for their clients in technical support. “Our research indicates that, when asked about providers and platforms they associate with great business and technical support, few brands resonate,” he said.

“For providers, far too many selling initiatives communicate product ‘features’ rather than assessing the value that financial advisers can gain from using their systems. This must change if they want to deepen relationships with their clients and improve return on investment.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Head of Video and Ezines at Open Door Media Publishing. Deputy Editor, International Investment. An experienced journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as a fully qualified IFA, Gary works across both International Investment and InvestmentEurope titles. Previous video production credits include projects on BBC, C4 and SKY.

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