Both advisers and clients believe empathy and trust is the most important element of service that can be offered from financial advice, but their views then diverge research by PortfolioMetrix has found.

The research, which surveyed 203 adviser and 144 clients, asked advisers and clients to rank the key elements of service they believe to offer the most value. Of those surveyed, 76% of advisers chose empathy and trust, and a similar amount of clients (72%) felt the same.

However, the second and third chosen elements then differed between the two. Half of the clients surveyed (53%) said cashflow modelling was a key element, coming in second. This is compared to just 18% of advisers who felt cashlow modelling was important.

For their third choice, clients said the ‘gift of time’ or, rather, time saving from not having to look after their finances, came next with 52% choosing this option. In comparison, only 13% of advisers picked that choice.

For the advisers surveyed, half (49%) felt understanding a client’s life goal was the second most important key element. Simplifying complex financial concepts and peace of mind shared third place with 47% of advisers choosing both options.

PortfolioMetrix managing director Ben Peele said: “The fact that clients value cash flow modelling and asset allocation more than advisers think they do is interesting, particularly asset allocation. It underlines the importance of providing clients with well diversified portfolios that align with their individual needs.

“However, when you look at the overall responses, it’s not that surprising that there are gaps. Clients list tangible elements that they expect advisers to deliver, while the advisers focus on softer skills.

“Understanding a client’s life goals and making sure complex financial concepts are explained and understood are not necessarily obvious value-add elements to clients yet they are essential to empathy and trust – something clients’ value above all else.”

PortfolioMetrix recently published a paper that looked at how financial advisers can grow their business, specifically during lockdown. It offers tips and guidance on how to focus on existing clients and preparing in advance for client reviews.

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