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Because you’re worth it: articulating the value of advice

Do you struggle to quantify the value clients gain from engaging with you? Many aspects of the service provided by financial advisers can’t be measured in monetary terms, so it can seem like a daunting exercise.

It’s easy to focus on the tangible aspects of advice but other important elements are often overlooked. Taking time to record all the benefits you provide to clients – from the peace of mind you bring them by managing their finances, to the opportunities to ensure they have considered how their financial situation impacts different aspects of their lives (health, property, pensions, inheritance, tax – to name but a few) – will provide a valuable resource for you to share with clients.

Recently, as part of a wider project to articulate value, we undertook research to find out what advisers believe are the main elements that combine to add real value to their clients.

What advisers say

Advisers were asked to pick, and then rank, their top five attributes from a suggested list of twenty. They were also asked to specify any skill or attribute that they felt had been overlooked. From the 194 responses, we discovered it was the soft skills that ranked in the top three.

Top three attributes:

  • Empathy (76% of respondents including it in their top five)
  • Understanding a client’s life goals (49%)
  • Simplification and peace of mind (joint, at 47% each)

Other elements that scored highly include:

  • Building a personalised plan (41%)
  • Consistency & continuity (39%)
  • Behavioural coaching (36%)

Interestingly, none of the other 13 categories were selected by more than 25% of respondents, which suggests that advisers position their wider value proposition quite differently.

Moreover, you may find some of the lower-ranking attributes quite surprising:

  • Advice on non-investment products (4%)
  • Cost consciousness (6%)
  • Consolidation (6%)
  • Considering the whole family (6%)
  • Helping with life events (11%)

As you can see, this is a subjective topic, with varying views, but below are four categories of skills and attributes that advisers agree ‘add value’ to their clients. Again, soft skills came out on top as the most important category:

  • Soft skills (35%)
  • Building a financial plan (30%)
  • Putting the plan into action (20%)
  • Ongoing service (15%)

Whether or not you agree with these findings, it should provide an insight into how other advisers position their offering, particularly if you are looking to stand out in a crowded market.

What do your clients value?

The above notwithstanding, it’s worth remembering that what you think is valuable to your clients is not always matched by what they think. Something that definitely merits considering is surveying your own clients to assess what they value from the relationship.

Being able to discuss the findings from this will give you the opportunity to make changes to your offering or communications that will lead to strengthened relationships that will thrive in the years to come.

Allocating time to record how you demonstrate value to clients will not just benefit your existing client relationships. We know the FCA is increasing its focus on transparency and looking at how advisers protect the best interests of their clients. Although there’s currently no formal requirement for advisers to evidence the value they add, there’s a strong chance that is where we’re heading.

Having a well-articulated method for highlighting the value you add will help to future-proof your practice should the regulator start to ask questions, and the evidence will be essential in communicating your value to clients.

You can find full details of the research at the PortfolioMetrix website.

For more articles visit our insights page.

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About the author

Ben Peele, UK Managing Director, PortfolioMetrix

Ben Peele joined PortfolioMetrix in April 2019. He has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining PortfolioMetrix Ben ran equity sales teams at UBS Investment Bank and held senior positions in the fintech industry.

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