Our project to understand how the COVID-19 crisis is changing retail financial services for advisers, providers and consumers

The coronavirus and the lockdown have brought huge changes in working practices for IFAs ushering in a rapid and successful shift to remote working.

As we move back toward a degree of normality or at least a ‘new normal’, it is vital for firms which distribute through intermediaries to understand whether these changes will prove to be temporary crisis measures or represent a more permanent shift.

Even a few shifts in working practices could have huge implications for advisers and the firms which distribute through them.

Advisers themselves certainly expect some of this shift to be permanent. Intelliflo polled advisers during lockdown to find 68 per cent believe there will be less frequent face-to-face communications with clients, while 57 per cent expect staff to work remotely more frequently.

Advisers are also seeing a big shift in client attitudes as well. A recent survey of 400 advisers by Guardian Financial Services saw three quarters reporting an increased willingness among clients to talk about protection.

We know that this is only one change among many for the public in the face of incredibly testing circumstances. Yet again, it is important to know in some detail how public attitudes have changed for clients and customers and potential clients and customers of advice and FS firms.

That is why Space is embarking on an insight project focusing on what is really happening in the market with parallel research among both advisers and clients.

The study will have the following aims

  • To help our clients and the market in general understand what has changed in terms of adviser processes
  • To consider how consumer attitudes have changed especially among adviser clients and how this is shaping what they expect from adviser firms
  • To understand the implications for adviser business models
  • To consider the future shape of advice and distribution
  • To analyse what these changes mean for providers, fund managers, platforms and insurers in terms of aligning their approach, marketing and technology with advisers’ and their clients’ shifting needs and demands

We want to start the debate in parallel with our research. In the coming weeks, we plan to update you in a series of posts with interviews, mini-analyses and opinions and some discussion of research from elsewhere.

At the end of this process, we will publish the full insight report. In the meantime, your views are very welcome.



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