Lack of client engagement risky business for advisers

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Financial advisers who only communicate with their clients once a year or less risk seeing the overwhelming majority make a switch, according to the latest SMSF research report.

The report, titled Intimate with self-managed superannuation, was commissioned by the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA) and Russell Investments to provide insight into SMSF moving forward.

Focus groups have highlighted how essential it is for advisers to be in regular contact with their SMSF clients, as frequency is seen as the major driver for maintaining advice and relationships.

Despite this, across the industry close to a third of clients only see or are in contact with their main adviser once every 12 months.

SPAA CEO Andrea Slattery told Wealth Professional the research in the report made it very clear that advisers who have limited contact with trustees will quickly lose clients.

“The overwhelming evidence is that if you believe once yearly contact or less with your client is all you need, perhaps you aren’t competent in your skills and the clients are moving to somebody else,” she said.

Slattery pointed to the growing savviness, education, and engagement level of trustees as a key factor in their engagement expectations.

More positively however, the results of the report also indicate adviser to client contact is continually increasing.

Last year financial advisers contacted their SMSF clients on average 9.4 times per year, up from 8.2 times in 2012, and 36.6% of advisers are in contact their clients at least monthly, up from the 2012 results of 34.1%.

When Wealth Professional spoke to Pamela McDonald, manager of financial services operations and financial planning at Robert Walters, she also emphasised an upward trend in client engagement.

Part of this was due to the move towards the fee for service model under FoFA, she said.

“There is a big focus on client service here. Clients are more aware and expect a much higher level of service. It’s one area we’ve been seeing a lot of recruitment at the moment.”
 
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