Trust and technology: the future of financial advice?

Paul Stanfield

Paul Stanfield

Trust and technology were two of the key aspects highlighted in the opening webinar of the inaugural FEIFA Autumn Conference Series; this event being entitled: "Brexit & Covid: Advising in a Digital World."

Delivering the opening keynote speech at the event, Keith Richards, CEO at the Personal Finance Society, suggested that trust was the single greatest barrier for advisers in attracting new clients. He also pointed out that "we are all a bit robo", explaining that a blend of professional financial planner and technology is a very powerful solution.

At the same event, David Coombs, Head of Multi-Asset Investments at Rathbones, looked at "The New Economy", focusing on the key drivers post Brexit and the US election, and in the wake or midst of covid-19. In particular he focused on companies from a Faux Tech, Old Tech and Real Tech categorisation.

Keith Richards, CEO at the Personal Finance Society, suggested that trust was the single greatest barrier for advisers in attracting new clients."

The second webinar, "Excelling in a Changing Environment", considered many aspects, but not least the importance of intergenerational wealth. Penny Lovell, from Sanlam and speaking on behalf of VAM Funds, touched on the significance that Richards had also mentioned in the first event - namely that £400bn was due to be passed between generations in the next 10 years! She also highlighted some excellent and innovative ideas for engaging clients, and prospective clients, via online means and remotely.

In this second event, James Clark at Utmost also echoed some of the thoughts from the earlier keynote - namely that referrals were almost certainly the best way to grow client banks and utilised the trust element, the significance of which had been previously highlighted.

The final presentation saw Paul Forman from Novia Global look at how advisers can cope with perpetual change in the international pension transfer arena, ensuring that clients receive the best and most expert advice.

These two webinars, along with a unique online networking drinks reception made up the first week of FEIFA's Conference Series. This series consists of 8 webinars in total, spread throughout November, plus 4 evening networking sessions.

Week two saw a webinar dedicated to an expert panel. Once again, the PFS's Richards was involved, alongside Craig Reeves from the Prestige Group and Simon Colboc, who has held executive level positions at companies such as Prudential Plc and BNP Paribas; one of his present roles is Secretary General of FECIF's European Pensions Institute. Among other aspects, the problems and opportunities created by Brexit, technology, regulation and covid-19 were all addressed.

The fourth webinar in the series looked at: "Insurance-based Investment Products for 2021 and Beyond", with OneLife and Quilter International looking at various tax-efficient solutions for expatriate clients across numerous European countries.

Of course, given this strangest of years, we have been unable to hold our usual annual conference. We therefore spent considerable time looking at what our members needed and wanted, as financial advisers located across Europe, particularly with regards to professional development and training.

The result has been this series of 12 events spread across 4 weeks in November. The feedback from the first two weeks was phenomenally good so we can only hope that the second half continues to prove similarly beneficial.

The total series of webinars creates the opportunity for our advisers to generate up to 8 hours of CPD, all while benefiting from knowledge, expertise and ideas that will help them in their everyday working life.

Paul Stanfield (pictured above) is CEO of FEIFA

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