In this video, Mauro Renna from our Centre for Behavioural Research dissects the five key components that contribute to client trust. But we don't stop there. We also provide actionable strategies for how you can enhance trust across these vital five domains and step beyond the numbers and metrics to build even stronger client relationships.

  • Understand the prevalent trust issue in the advice industry.
  • Examine the five components of trust that influence client-adviser relationships.
  • Demonstrate strategies to enhance trust along these five components. 

(00:00): Thanks. Good afternoon everyone. My name is Justin Towlson. I'm one of the national sales directors here at Aegon, and I'm delighted to be hosting today. This is the first session this part of our financial wellbeing live. It's an annual event where we focus on how psychology and behavioural finance can redefine your advice process, really, that journey from financial adviser to financial planner taking evermore resonance in in the current advisery landscape. We've got some great sessions lined up for you this week. Our first speaker is Mauro Renna. So good afternoon to you, Mauro.

(00:43): Good afternoon to everyone.

(00:45): Mauro's here today to talk to you about the important topic of client trust and provide some actionable strategies for enhancing that trust. Very topical, given all the market challenges that we face. Today's session will be wrapped up in a CPD bow. We'll make sure you get the respective communication on that. And for any questions, there is a Q&A bar, please post on on that, and we'll come back to those at the end of the session. If it's okay with you Mauro. I'll pass over to yourself.

(01:17): Thank you, Justin. Thank you everyone for being here with us. How much can I trust you? That is what we're gonna talk about today in in our professional and personal relationships. We assess so much we can trust this person, that organisation, and we look and keep track of cues that help us make up our judgment about trust. So probably, needless to say, trust is fundamental. Our society is based on that. Trust is a dynamic we can earn trust and then lose some, or even all of it. And sometimes over trivial things. Trust is also not binary. If you think about it. It's not either trust you or not, but has different degrees, different levels that you can and want to climb in your, in your professions with your clients. Just to give an example out of the domain of finance, right?

(02:18): Imagine that your pipe goes burst in the middle of the night. You choose the first plumber that picks up your call on the hour, right? You assume that they know what they're doing. Did they have competence in your pipe problem? Fine. There is not necessarily loyalty or relationship other than a basic level. Then if they do a good job, you might call them again or otherwise, easy to switch. In other context, the performance of a professional can affect you personally as a person at a deeper level. If we think of a lawyer or doctor, gp, what level of trust is needed there? You need to know that these professionals are putting your interest first before their own interest. Then what about financial advising? Are your clients entrusting you with something very personal? Their finances, their issues, their financial wellbeing, their future, essentially?

(03:22): So I would say so. You do affect people at the very personal level with consequences in their future. So it is important to think about trust in a systematic way to get to the highest level if possible, that you can achieve on next slide. So, what help what helps building trust? And then what can you do about it? So, to look at this today, I will be looking at three things. First, I want to look at the trust issue in the world of financial advisers. I'll summarise a study we did at our Centre for Behavioural Research at Aegon. Second, I want to look at what are some essential components of trust. And for this, I will use a framework of five aspects. And this is coming from Dr. Henry Cloud, a clinical psychologist and leadership expert that recently published a book called Trust. And along with those five components, I will also provide some more practical aspects or strategy that you can start to implement.

(04:29): The key takeaway from all this is that, yes, functional skills or technical skills are of course, essential in our work is a base for what you do, and also to build trust. Yet, if you think about it, there are other forces that affect strongly, that sense of trust, and those are aspects that you are in control of. That's why it's important to think about those systematically. So there is a bit of a trust issue in the industry. Hopefully this is not a surprise to you. Early this year, we asked our panelists, and they would be our customer, but also known customers. Some already used financial advisers in part to dozen and never did. Others did use financial adviser in the past, but then decided not to use them anymore. So here we are representing all those different views and that helps to have a more complete picture of how people feel about financial advising.

(05:42): We asked them this question, why people don't trust financial advisers. What are the reason for that? To answer that question, we gave them a series of options to select from. As you can see here, the top reason, the number one most selective reason to not trust a financial adviser was about conflict of interest. This is about thinking that products a financial adviser recommends are benefitting the adviser more than the client. Then we have lack of transparency, this perception that it is not quite clear to clients how much they will be paying and what are the reason for such cost. The third reason is industry reputation as a whole finance industry, and this refers to halo effect, right? Your general distrust in the industry, they can reflect as a halo on the area of financial advice.

(06:46): In this graph, you see that through the top three of all the reasons that we provided to our, our panelists. Just to give you a relevant comparison, which I think is interesting. One option that we gave was competence. And interestingly, that was the least selected only 21% of the time. In a way, this highlights how when talking about trust, the focus of people is on the other issue, the functional and technical aspect of competence. It's almost taken for granted. It was also interesting that on the, on an open question, respondents talked about commissions, financial adviser provisions, the adviser getting more out of it than the client themselves, also not understanding what they're really paying for. All these reason, reinforcing those points on conflict of interest and lack of transparency. Now, I'm not saying this is necessarily what happens in reality for conflict of interest or lack of transparency on what is happening for for you or your firm, right? But what we have here are perceptions, beliefs on how the industry works. And this perception can guide decisions of, of people. So I think it's important to be aware of them and acknowledged these reasons.

(08:15): In the same study we've asked our panelists to rate three different ways an adviser can present themselves. Well, what we wanted to see is how change in the focus or the frame of a description that can change the sense of trust. So here on the screen, you see three different description variation one. The first one highlights technical skills variation two highlights a more human centered approach. And variation three stresses the ethical approach. We will provide the slide. So later you can read through all the description. What is interesting is that all participants rated all three of the description, right? We showed them a random order about, they were able to see all three of them and choose which one they they prefer in order of trust. What we did, we asked them how much they would trust an adviser or a firm based on these descriptions, and they rated them on a scale from not at all trustworthy to very trustworthy.

(09:25): So what were the results? Variation two and three, those ones that are focusing on the human-centered approach and ethical credential are the best performing. Nearly 60% of the ratings are for trustworthy and very trustworthy. Not much difference, though, between two and three, they both perform quite the same well at the same, at the same pace. Variation one, which is focusing on competence and technical skills is rated trustworthy only 30% of the time. In fact, for this description, the majority of the scores are in the category of neither trust, neither distrust. So in the gray area. So this is showing us how, when it comes to trusting those elements that go beyond the technical skill and competence, what helps clients connect on the human level and the reassure on those ethical aspects. Those are elements that can strongly affect the sense of trust. And here we, we just show like a simple description, nothing more complicated.

(10:38): So let's move to the question. What is trust? Surely we all have an intuition on it, right? We experience trust and mistrust on a daily basis with anyone really. We all recognise that it's an essential ingredients for good relat inter interpersonal relationship from families with with friends and organisations. The trust can have many phases. It's multidimensional. Okay, now what I want to look at it systematically with methods. So just before that though, I think it is worth saying that building trust is not about persuasion. Talking people into trust in you. Trust is a much deeper, it's a neurobiological, psychological. It's emotional, right? If we want to be trusted as professional, if we want people to be fully invested with us, we also need to be fully invested with the person that we are talking to.

(11:41): So now, let's look at trust in a systematic way. So this is based on the framework of Dr Henry Cloud, as I said, in the latest book Trust. Dr Henry Cloud has extensively studied this the topic of trust and provides practical strategies for life and business. I strongly recommend his book. Let's look at the five components that have a strong effect on trust. They are motive, understanding, track record, ability, and character. And they're all important to the point that you can do good on all. But if one of those aspects is really getting in the way they can negatively affect the entire feeling of trust.

(12:28): So first, clients want to know your motive. What is driving you and your recommendations as, as an adviser specifically, they need to feel. So it's not just cognitive, right? That you can trust the person, but you need to feel it's emotional. They need to feel that you got their back, that you are there for them, and not just your personal interests. They need to have this clear, this transparent vision about, about your motive. The second point is about understanding, obviously understanding their financial needs, right? That's why your clients are there. But then the question is what is behind, behind those needs? So it is about listening and empathy. And it's not just a matter of you understanding them, okay? That's important, but also about their perception. Do they feel that you have a genuine interest in understanding them? So it's a two way you need to understand them, but also making sure that they have this reassurance, this feeling that you are actually understanding them. It's about perception. The third point is track records. Clients will keep a mental record of what you do also in comparison to what you say you will do and their personal expectations, right? So it is about consistency as well.

(14:02): Then we have ability this is fundamental as we say. There's a client is going to always ask, is this the right person? Is the right professional for the job that I need done? So how are you showing your competence? Is the question. It is about the expertise you have and the good judgment that you show to them, the process. If you have good intention, but the delivery doesn't match those trust can can deteriorate. And finally, we have character. Really, this is about who who are you showing to be and who you are. So it is about authenticity. Maybe a client can start to trust their adviser, right? That's talking to, because they seem to tick all the boxes. So now the client has a good positive sense of them. The adviser seems to be honest, benevolent, and then they notice something, something doesn't fit.

(15:00): Maybe it's a comment, simple comment that they do or how they treat the personal assistant, and that can create doubts about their character and trust then is quickly turned away. Okay? So these are the five elements we are considering here and there are a lot of studies and books about trust. But you might also be familiar, for example, with the trust equation on trusting an adviser. But in this book, these five elements we think they cover a lot of ground in understanding trust in a systematic way.

(15:40): So I will talk about those components one by one now, and how you can make use of them to build trust with prospective clients and also with existing clients. So let's go back to motive clients. Clients are wondering, what is your motive? Of course, it's clear that it's your job, even a job that you love and there are fees that come with it that's known to both parties, right? So that's, that's an important motive. Yet we have seen in our server results that the top reason for not trusting a financial adviser has to do with the perception that advisers have conflict of interest. And also there is a lack of transparency. And so, if you think about it, this speaks directly to motive. As I say, clients want to know your motive, what is driving you and your recommendations. They need to feel that you gather back that you are there for them and not just your personal interests. There's also an element of belief the client might have, right? Assumption about the industry in general, and people who work in finance. When people see the news over and over scandals, like the Libor, PPI mis-selling, money laundering, excessive banker bonuses. This creates belief or even confirm those beliefs that people already have about the industry overall.

(17:15): So what you see here in these slides is a quote coming from the financial conduct authority through their financial life survey from 2020, highlighting that there is a problem of trust in the industry, specifically for advisers. They were showing like a lower trust score than, than banks. So really, here is important what you communicate and and how all that you do is important in term of what the client perceives and interprets. Maybe your intention is exactly helping your client, that person, and doing in their best interest. Yet it is always a matter of perception, how they perceive this, how, what beliefs they have before that. So it's about perceiving the benevolence, the will to do good, our client perceiving your benevolent intention. That's a good question to keep always in mind. And also, how can you outbalance that mistrust those beliefs to begin with. So let's go a little bit more into practical aspect.

(18:24): Actually, before we go through these slides, I want to quickly mention a cognitive effect you might have heard of before. It's called confirmation bias. Essentially that means is that once we have a view or a belief, once we believe something is true, we filter all the other information that come to us in line with those belief, right? So we exclude and neglect any information that counters our belief. This is a quite a strong and common effect in many domains, and it's widely studied. Now, a way to interact this is to create some form of dissonance, some form of surprise in the person. And I think it's a little bit of what happened in our test of those three descriptions, right? Those three variations, those descriptions they were focusing on the human-centered approach, on the ethical aspect, they were all being expected for, for the topic of financial advising.

(19:24): They kind of refocus the attention of the readers on aspects that are not usually in the stereotype of the finance, finance industry. So when you think the clients are holding some beliefs, they might not be accurate, right? About you, about what you do and how you do your job. Is there something that you want to address as early as possible, so to change the lens that they're using the information that they receive. Okay? So back to motive. As I say, we trust people that we feel they have a motive that is not just about them, right? You want to feel that they're there for you, looking out for you in your, in your interests. That's what you want as a, as a client. You want to feel that they're going to protect to protect you even when you are not there at the table. So this should be reflected in what you communicate and how you communicate it. So some practical things that you can control immediately. The first observation is about your website, or more generally about controlling how you describe yourself, your firm in the public's sphere. Public content is a first opportunity to communicate messages about your approach, your ethical standards, with the idea of conveying a sense of transparency that focus on helping the client.

(20:56): So that's the first instance. Then people get to re office physically or virtually. That first meeting is another opportunity to build trust, to give a taste of how your relationship is going to be in the future. When we want to show that the client is important to us, that means listening and understanding those question, like how did it get here, right? As the client, what is the story behind their visit? Visiting me? Do they have previous experience with financial advisers? If yes, was it a good one? What was good and what was bad in those in those experiences? What are their values, their preferences, if they have any? And leaving space to client to talk. And helping them by prompting asking some, some questions.

(21:50): I think that the point here is that other than telling that you have a genuine interest to help, right? And you can do that through your website and public presence, what you want to do is you also want to show them that you have a general interest in them to working on that perception that I mentioned earlier. So the first meeting can be more about listening, understanding rather than solutionising, right? If finding solution and the offers for the client. So this this can create engagement and of course, showing transparency on how you provide financial advice, and also about the fees, setting the expectation for the relationship in the, in the future ongoing. And third point, ongoing communication with our clients. So just keep going with the communication. And this approach of listening, the continuous communication is, is fundamental. The relationship, like every relationship evolves with time.

(22:53): And so, the client's need and perspective, right? They can possibly change as well with time. So it's important to keep that channel communication channel open. Again, overall, the goal is that you want to show them that you have a genuine interest. These are just some first ideas. Then depending on you and your firm, the resources that you have, surely you can come up with more specific solution by having in mind the importance of, of motive. So let's move to understanding, as I mentioned this a couple of times now, right? The importance of listening and understanding clients. Money is not just about money. Often it is hard to be rational about this topic. In fact, money and finances can be quite emotional.

(23:50): And you probably know this better than I do, I guess you already know this. It's hard to think about money in the long term as well. And it's also hard to think about money broadly. More holistically, a client comes into your practice saying that they want to speak about optimising taxation or retirement planning, or whatever it may be. We get the requests, right? You get the requests that face value, of course. And sometimes it's the only things that you can do depending on the client. Yet, quite likely, there are several untold reasons behind the question of the client emotion, thoughts. They push the client on your chair. They might feel worried about the future, feeling that they're running out of time or they want to do what their friends are doing, or even their partner just strongly nudge them to come see you, right?

(24:47): So what is your story as a client, right? What is your story? How did you get to this point here with this request? So starting from the request and asking question with the goal of bringing to the table their personal story. That is a good way of beginning, and that don't don't think about this as a, it is not a small talk, is that this is a systematically getting to know them. So you're not trying to convince someone to trust you. You want them to feel that you know them, right? And this goes through listening and understanding, and this, and that is important to when it comes in the future, to talk about options, the offering that you are proposing. If a client doesn't feel being understood, what are the needs, their context, the goals, they will have less trust, less engagement, and they're less likely to follow through with the plan that you suggest, or even future engagements. So especially when there are some negative beliefs about the industry, people, people start to listen only after they feel they've been listened to.

(26:01): So we offering a bit of systematicness on how you can go about that, about, about listening and understanding. You can read some of the suggestions here on this page. We will not go through all of them in this very moment, but it gives you an idea, right? These are skills that are important to develop and nurture. Continuously listening is clearly the overarching skills to develop understanding. So the clients feel they perceive that they're not just a number that you care about them. So these active listening and reflective statements, they help also when talking about their options, as I said. And as you can explain why the reason that you are proposing something to them, because now you know their personal story.

(26:59): Okay? Let's move to track record. Trust. Trust is not simply given, it's earned. So this is referring to a process, right? During the interaction, we are always building a map, a track record in our heads. Every experience with someone adds to the map of how we went last time this happened in professional and personal life. Track records here can be considered in a couple of different way. The most immediate, of course, is thinking in terms of performance or experience, how many clients you have held before and how well, and of course, this is an important aspect. That's why there is such a big market out there and the interest in product service review, right? Why websites include all those cues like their most famous clients, how long they've been in business and so on, just to give the sense of trust in terms of track records, all pieces of information are put there to see their track records.

(28:01): In fact, to build a map and increase the initial trust, even a client referral is a track record, right? The person may think, oh, this adviser, they seem to have done well with my friends. They will do the same for me, right? That sense of social aspect that is really important, but it doesn't stop there in terms of track records. The second way to consider track records has to do with consistency. A track record of is, that is a pattern of what you do, being reliable. When we say that we will do something, we set an expectation. And if we don't, if we don't do it or we do it late, that track record is not to going to be as positive as we want. If you say, for example, right, you call for a check in every quarter, half a year, or even when there is some worthy market situation, and then you don't do it once, then you don't the second time, now you got a track record of not being reliable.

(29:10): So here is some application to consider in terms of track records, when, of course when you have a website, there is quite an obvious space to begin with. You can include customer reviews, quotes, other cues about your track records in general. And then probably you're already doing this. You can also develop and and share some case studies about clients and how you help them. They can help showcase your expertise and also the kind of clients that you are helping and make very concrete how you're helping clients bring it up during face-to-face interaction as well. Little references to similar cases, other clients, right? In cases in the same industries as the clients that you have. So give these cues, but that without overdoing it too much. Because in the end, it's about the clients that you have in front of you, not about the other clients you have.

(30:10): So just be subtle about it. And it's good to remember that, you know, we all want to feel unique in a sense. We don't want to be generalised to a big category of people. Another aspect is a social proof that is in a way showing what others think of you. So again, these can be of reviews like Trustpilot, Google Maps, very important because people really look at those nowadays, right? And that can also be included in other places. Other than the website, let's say. If you have a newsletter, if you have one, you can include those reviews, some quotes, case studies in the newsletter as well. And talking about ongoing communication, that is very important. Ongoing communication. It shows that we care continuously about our clients. And on top of what you see on this page, as I say earlier, track record is about consistency, meeting the expectations, doing what we say we will do, and showing that you listen and care about that person at every interaction.

(31:27): So again, these are aspects that you are in control of that it's that important part. You can control this aspect that you can strategise on ability. So I probably know much talking about here because this is you have great technical abilities. What I'm doing here, I'm making a strong contrast calling on the, on the Dalai Lama. Maybe a bit unfair as well, but what I'm saying is that the Dalai Lama is a strong charismatic guide. You will trust his help and guidance in dealing with emotions, instincts, life goals, what is important to us and our happiness, right? The Dalai Lama got your trust on that, yet you will not trust the Dalai Lama doing a financial plan for you, right? <Laugh> there is just not his ability and nor is it expected. Yeah, you would be positively surprised if, if you make ones, who knows.

(32:29): So, abilities. The point that I'm trying to make with abilities is that is that wellbeing maximiser, technical skills are the base almost taken for granted. And technical skills are often obscure to your clients. They don't perceive the concreteness of your skills. But here you can see, you know, some examples. And then this is your comfort zone. Again, what you need is a high level of trust that is expected by an adviser. And the technical abilities are just one aspect they contribute to trust. I hope it's clear that the argument is not about becoming some sort of therapist but that working on the soft skill, communication, listening can help build that sense of trust, the leads to more engaged and happier clients. That is the point of the soft skill and, and hard skills.

(33:31): So lastly, we have character. This is about who you are and who you show you are. It's about authenticity, our clients' experiences, they're experiencing the real you. If people feel that they're not getting access to the real you, right, to what you think, to what you know, to what you feel, then you can probably have an authenticity mismatch as a perception from a client. Here I chose Boris Johnson as an example, just for an easy common story probably quite relevant in these days. But of course, totally unrelated to the industry, of course. I mean, he has always been a controversial figure coming to character, and probably he was trying to characterise himself as to say, this is me. Same at home, pub or Parliament, right? But really, it was too much when the stories about lockdown parties broke. He was talking about what we all shall do, but then not applying it in his own office. It was obviously a mismatch between what he was trying to say in public. And those episodes just pointed to the fact that his thinking was different at closed door. So there was a mismatch in his character.

(35:08): So on this slide, you can read some of the traits that reflect on what can hinder trust. Other character traits like perseverance, self-control, kindness, honesty, right? Those can amplify the trust. So the stress here is about thinking strategically on how you are presenting yourself, your character, those good traits that you have. Are they showing all that you do with clients, but also with colleagues and the practices that you have? If you focus on transparency, are you being transparent? In all occasions? Do clients perceive it? Quite importantly, if you say that your motive is to really help others being benevolent, right? Are you showing this trait? Is that felt by the clients, again, about perception and not just by the client, but also with others around you, with your colleagues. So again, it's about authenticity. Character is about authenticity.

(36:16): Okay? So I wanna wrap up here. And just to recap very quickly, I spoke about five components that affect trust. I spoke about motive, having good motives, showing benevolence, developing, understanding, listening, thinking about track records, consistency, abilities, so the technical skill and then softer skill and the character which is reflected in authenticity, right? In how to relate with clients. So this is a framework that you can use to self-reflect and think systematically on how to adapt this idea to your own case and your own and your own practice as a premise. We also talk about the trust issue we see in the industry, show how conflict of interest, lack of transparency and those are like vivid perception about advisers, and they can undermine trust. The main message was about reflecting how to build trust. Technical abilities are important, necessary, right? But also not sufficient. There is much more to consider when building trust as trust is fundamental to your relationship with clients and to, and just to help them prosper. Really, that is where I think, yep. And that is me. I hope you found this useful. And let's see if there is any question.

(37:52): Mauro, great session. Thank you so much for doing that. Really great insight. There are a couple of questions that come up on the chat if we've got time to just throw at you. One really resonates to me, it's around listening and sort of what does good listening look like or sound like. And, and the other one is how do you practice listening?

(38:14): So I guess listening is, is about showing genuine interests in your client's wellbeing, right? It is really about all the small consistent actions that show that you see them as individual, beyond just the financial figures. So I would say that the first important step is about adopting a mindset of holistic approach, looking more at your client's entire financial picture as opposed to just the asset that you are managing at any time in isolation, right? When when advising, a question that we can ask ourselves could be, okay, how can I help the client? What are those aspects that can impact their financial health directly and indirectly? So we can talk about budgeting and insurance, even career decisions, right? All aspect outside the main question that the client brought to us that can affect on the long term the, the holistically the financial health.

(39:27): So that is a foundational mindset, I would say thinking of holistically about, about the client on a more tactical level that is about building rapport with the client. Your client should leave your chair, and as I say, they should feel that you as an adviser gather back, that you advocate for them. And this aspect is one of the most powerful in building trust still in the domain of tactical actions to build a rapport. Listening is top priority. So that means listening, listening more than talking, you can use like a rule of thumb 80% listening, 20% talking just as reference points, right? And make it active listening. That means asking follow up questions based on what the clients say is saying in that moment. Just to dig deeper into the reasons of the client gathering soft facts about the client is is is not just a form filling exercise. Gathering soft facts

(40:33): to be effective in that you must be fully present, deeply engaged with what the client is saying. Having the absolute involvement, staying curious, right? Having that mindset of curiousness and the listening deeply to what you're saying, your client must feel secure and that they're not being judged, especially the first time where they don't know you well, right? You need to make that extra step to feel them, to make them feel as much as possible at ease and not judged not see like the next piece of business that it's at your desk. Someone that often needs time to reflect and think to answer those soft fact question. It's not like a hard question, they're like quite defined, right? They need more time to to think.

(41:28): So as an adviser, you don't want to be tempted to jump in and if you begin to feel uncomfortable with some silence, just leaving space and being feeling comfortable as an adviser with the silence with your adviser. And before we go to the to the one last point is is about a tactical action is also I would like to highlight the personalised communication. So while listening, take note of the personal details that your clients shared with you and then follow up on them. For instance, if a client mentions a family event or a personal milestone, then make notes and ask about in the next meeting, right? That help building the rapport, but also shows that you are listening to what I've been saying. I hope that helps all we answer the question.

(42:27): Brilliant. Thank you. Just one quick one. Well, it's a big question, but just limited slightly on time. You know, I've been in the industry 30 years and I've seen a huge shift since I first started. You referenced still some of those negative beliefs in the industry. What suggestions or how do we try and combat some of those stereotypes moving forward?

(42:48): That's right, yes. So we have seen three barriers, right? We have seen industry reputation issue, conflict of interest and lack of transparency. As I say, what presence, it's likely your first touch of point that you really can control at least for potential clients, because of course you have already your clients and they're with you, so it's an assumption that they, they trust you already, right? But then there is like a big population of people that we don't know about. So we have seen how changing the description for focusing on a human-centered approach and ethical credential that can help in having increasing that sense of trust. So I would say that quite a lot of the effort can be dedicated to this, looking at the content with the critical eye, what you have on your website or your public presence and decide how to change it, how to act on it, what you include, what what not.

(43:44): And, we're not talking just about the mission statement, of course, right? As we've seen in the description during our presentation, it's important to have the mission statement, but they like all the bits, all the pages that you have scattered around, because the visitors will not just look at your mission statement, but they just look at the pages that are more important to them. So you want to include these trust building description all around the website. So finding those strategic touchpoint, it's important to use, I would say concrete language to explain also your approach in using case studies as well, right? What you want to do, you want to offer a good degree of transparency. Specifically, there is this concept in behavioral science that is called operational transparency.


But I think that can help with that perceived barrier of conflict of interest. A simple example, maybe naive because I'm not a financial adviser, right? But just to exemplify a client asks for advice on the mortgage, you get back to the clients with your best bet, your best offer or a couple of options. Operational transparency means explaining what has been the process that you have used to get to the conclusions. In academia when writing a research paper, there is a section about methodology and analysis of the results, right? It's kind of like the same thing. You explain your approach, the methodology that you have used and the criteria of judgment that led you to your conclusion. And this is something that helps building trust and the having trust in the outcome.

(45:39): The same can be done on the website as well, right? You can explain, you can generalise your approach. What is your approach to advising - to advising products and the solution that you provide? Again, the language is key. You want to use like simple language, concrete language that people can relate to. Even explaining fees, right? We've seen is one of the barriers that people don't understand the fee. And it is obvious, it might seem to people in the field. General people might still think that financial adviser get commissions from providers or there is some specific interest that they have right? So it is something that this can be addressed as well in the light of transparency, providing some education about how fee works, how that works.

(46:33): These are just like some examples, Google Maps. It's something to be leveraged as well. Encourage reviews as much as you can because people then we see also at the local level the people from from the area are engaged in and join your practice, your advice, even community engagement in terms of actively participating in community events, right? Offering some free educational workshop maybe for the NHS or some group of interest that you're in touch with, or if you provide some pro bono work, trying to include that on your public website as well. You can easily create a webpage for pro bono application just to give the sense that you're doing something else for the community. So whenever you have something in the sense, leverage that and communicate that wherever you can. Brilliant. Thank you.

(47:28): That was really comprehensive answer. I'm very conscious of time just like to cover off. The CPD is now available online. Mauro, thank you so much for your time this morning. As we mentioned before, this is part of our financial wellbeing live week. So we've got two more sessions and I believe the link to attend those sessions will be posted here as well. Those centre around moving to becoming that wellbeing maximiser and one that I think is really relevant at the moment is investing in those volatile markets. So hopefully a number of you can attend those sessions as well. I think there'll be a real value. But finally, from all of us, certainly from Aegon, thank you so much for your time and engagement today and Mauro. Brilliant job. Thank you, sir.

Test your knowledge

Once you've watched the webinar, enter your name and correctly answer the questions below to generate your CPD certificate. 

Question 1: What is the top reason people say they wouldn’t trust a financial adviser?
Question 2: What are the five ways to build trust, according to Dr Henry Cloud?
Question 3: Which example adviser firms were the best performing in our research?

Continuous Professional Development


Certificate of completion

Completed on:

CPD credit: 50 CPD mins

The User

The five pillars of trust: strategies to build successful client relationships

  • Completed on: 20 July 2023
  • CPD credit: 50 CPD mins

CPD Learning covered

  • Understand the prevalent trust issue in the advice industry.
  • Examine the five components of trust that influence client-adviser relationships.
  • Demonstrate strategies to enhance trust along these five components. 

© 2024 Aegon - All rights reserved /content/auk/adviser/knowledge-centre/continuous-professional-development/the-five-pillars-of-trust


CPD Growing your business