Is video conferencing the 'new norm' for advisers?
For intermediaries only
Two-thirds of advisers report an increase in use of video calls since Covid-19 outbreak.
New research from Aegon has found that services such as Zoom and Skype have become a mainstay for 67% of financial advisers when talking to clients, however, 27% of consumers said they would like to receive professional advice face-to-face.
Interestingly, the survey of 2000 individuals revealed that three quarters (73%) of financial advisers intend to keep using video conferencing more frequently once social distancing ends.
This has led Aegon to surmise that remote communication could play a more prominent role in financial services much like the way virtual GP consultations are changing the way healthcare is to be delivered post-Covd.
A recent report from AXA PPP found that UK business could save an estimated £1.5bn in lost working time through the usage of online GPs, and Aegon points towards similar cost-saving benefits of virtual financial advice going forward.
Despite this, the advisers surveyed did not dismiss the future of face-to-face meetings completely, with 71% saying they are still important. Especially for older clients - two in five over the age of 65 said they would prefer to postpone meetings until they could be done in person, compared to 18% of younger clients.
The researched also showed that four in five advisers (82%) believed that not all people are willing or able to cope with the technology of virtual meetings.
Virtual wealth check
Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, said:"Lockdown restrictions and social distancing fundamentally changes the way we go around our daily lives and the way people access advice, be it medical or financial. There has been a big increase in virtual GP appointments and obtaining financial advice has also been turned on its head. In these hugely uncertain times, financial planning has never been more important, so it is great to see individuals and their advisers using new technologies to access advice.
"The big question is if these alternative approaches, which started as a necessity, become permanent by choice once the social distancing shackles are released.
"Our findings show that financial advice by video conferencing looks like being here to stay. For more tech-savvy customers, it can offer convenience and time saving while also cutting costs. But meeting in a virtual world isn't suited to everyone and for many, can't replicate meeting in person. For some, the non-verbal signals both parties can pick up on if physically face to face may be difficult to replicate through a laptop screen."