Quilter Group’s financial planning arm Quilter Financial Advisers has ramped up its telephone-based service, designed to provide greater access to clients who would not normally receive financial advice, amid the global pandemic.

The initiative, which focuses on customers with less than £50,000 to invest and who have been unable to access face-to-face advice, was launched earlier this year and has been accelerated in recent weeks.

The service has five advisers, with plans to recruit two more, and caters to 2,000 clients with an average of £25,000 of advisable assets each. It offers a complete financial planning service, including advice on mortgages, protection, investment and pensions.

Quilter’s national advice business managing director Darren Sharkey said fast-tracking the telephone advice service was a part of the firm’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

“Now more than ever financial advice is going to be vital for people. For our existing clients we have put in place a suite of measures to ensure that we can continue to provide advice to our clients on a remote basis, including video and telephone, and this is working well,” he said.

“In addition we have fast-tracked our plans to develop our telephone based advice team so that we can provide quality financial advice to a broader range of people, including those who previously may have thought advice was not for them or weren’t sure will be able to access the benefits professional advice has to offer.”

For a client with £25,000 to invest, Quilter’s telephone advice service would cost about £300 for the initial advice and a £125 per annum ongoing fee.

Sharkey said access to financial advice via telephone was “something that is priceless, particularly in the current climate”.

“We know there are millions of people in the UK that would benefit from having financial advice, and this is not just in terms of pounds and pence [but] this is about that feeling of financially security and wellbeing,” he said.

“However, not everyone is able to access face-to-face advice, perhaps because of where they live, or feels comfortable with the intimacy of a face to face conversation in their home.”

He said additional enquiries during the coronavirus outbreak meant advisers were “approaching capacity” and demand considerably outstripped supply.

“One of Quilter’s primary goals is to make advice more accessible and with this telephone-based team QFA will have the capacity to help more households receive the advice they need.”

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This article previously appeared on ProfessionalAdviser.com