At the start of the Covid-19 crisis in March of this year many advisers had no choice but to work from home as the government imposed a UK-wide lockdown.
Advisers were regularly holding client meetings via video conferencing using Zoom, Google Meets or Microsoft Teams. This became the “new normal.”
As we approach the end of the summer, we ask advisers whether their clients are now demanding face-to-face meetings or are they still happy with the new virtual reality six months on?
Michael McLintock adviser at Adelp Financial Solutions says: “I’ve found very little demand, in fact almost none for face to face meetings. 90% of our business is managing existing clients. They are happy to have a chat on the phone or Zoom meeting to review existing investments.
“Skipping a face-to-face review for a year may be acceptable to clients for a year, but I think so much is lost on the phone or online and there could be significant drift if it was permanent For new business, we offer home visits or to defer to a later date.
“We have yet to do any new business online. My experience with telephone and Zoom review meetings has confirmed that doing new business and most reviews any way other than face to face is a serious downgrading of the service and advice given. We will stick to face-to-face, no matter how many bigger players move in the opposite direction.
Scott Gallacher, director and chartered financial planner at Rowley Turton says: “We’ve arranged a number of review meetings recently and the split (client lead) was 25% Zoom, 25% client’s home and 50% office.”
Paul Tate, Hoxton Capital Management says: “While the current Covid-19 situation is a tragedy, it has presented the advisory business with an opportunity to push adoption of digital technologies to enhance offerings to clients. With most clients very happy to conduct meetings through digital channels such as Zoom and Teams, it has presented a positive to advisers who are now able to service more clients in a day due to limited travel and commute times.”