​The top five trends for risk advisers in 2014

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Craig Parker of Affinia Financial Advisers, a TAL-owned risk-specialist dealer group, shares his predictions on what 2014 has in store for risk advisers.

Be prepared for the online risk revolution – it’s here
Consumers are increasingly turning to the internet to investigate and validate financial services products and companies – risk products and financial planning services included. Blogs and forums for product reviews, online comparison sites and social media have empowered consumers with more information than ever – and that’s before they even pick up the phone.
For risk advisers, your online presence is important. Make sure any online activity – such as your website and social media profiles – will attract, engage and capture that all-important early attention.

Rethink your value-add
Understand where you can deliver the most value to your clients – it may not necessarily be during the initial advice process. When it comes to risk advice, the opportunity to deepen the relationship comes during the claims process. This is the time when the need and appreciation for a great risk adviser is most prized, so highlight your track record and philosophy about supporting clients at claim time.

Know thyself and thy business but most of all… thy client
As competition hots up with a growing number of channels through which clients can seek risk products, you need to simply and clearly spell out the benefits of your offer. Technical expertise is a given, but knowing how to apply it to the specific and individual needs and circumstances of your clients is what will set you apart.

Build a business model that supports strong relationships
Your client relationships are the glue that cements the long term success of your business. Your role as an adviser is to deliver lifetime value to your clients, and taking a short term, transactional approach won’t achieve that. If you want a sustainable and profitable business, don’t be afraid to rethink your business model. Consider moving away from the traditional upfront mentality and build formal client management processes that foster long-term, relationship-based engagement with your clients.

Keep your eyes on the horizon
2013 was a year of big regulatory change for our industry. Keeping on top of those changes took a lot of time and headspace for advisers, particularly those in smaller groups. With the wave of change receding, now’s the time to lift your gaze and look at the strategic direction of your business and where it fits in the wider industry. Streamline your processes, take advantage of the specialist knowledge and resources your dealer group can provide, and think ahead so you can take your business to the next level in 2014.

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