Enhancing client outcomes through proactive ongoing advice services


INSIGHT
Published
Mar 25th '24
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In the ever-evolving landscape of financial advisory services, the importance of ongoing advice and its associated charges has increasingly come under scrutiny. Recognized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the need for a rigorous, client-focused approach in delivering these services is paramount. This article delves into the essence of ongoing advice services, the criticality of aligning them with client expectations, and the strategies firms can employ to excel in this domain.

 

The imperative of ongoing advice services

Ongoing advice services are not merely a regulatory requirement; they are a cornerstone of client-centric financial planning. These services ensure that financial advice remains aligned with clients’ evolving needs, life stages, and external economic shifts. The FCA’s heightened focus on these services underscores a broader mandate: to foster an industry that prioritizes enduring client well-being over transient gains.

 

Navigating the regulatory landscape

The introduction of the Consumer Duty regulation has marked a significant shift in how financial services must operate. Firms are now mandated to demonstrate unequivocally that their services and advice continue to serve their clients’ best interests, avoiding foreseeable harm while empowering clients to make effective financial decisions. This regulatory backdrop necessitates a reassessment of how ongoing advice is structured, delivered, and valued.

 

A framework for excellence in ongoing advice

 

Client engagement and review processes

Central to exceptional ongoing advice services is a robust framework for client engagement. This involves regular, structured reviews that not only assess the current relevance of financial strategies and investments but also anticipate future needs and adjustments. Firms must develop a methodology that ensures comprehensive and personalized reviews are not an exception but a standard practice.

 

Transparency and value alignment

Transparency in communicating the nature and costs of ongoing services is critical. Clients should never be in doubt about what they are receiving and at what cost. Equally, firms must rigorously evaluate the value provided through these services, ensuring they are in line with the clients’ expectations and financial objectives.

 

Technological integration

Leveraging technology can significantly enhance the delivery of ongoing advice services. From digital platforms enabling more frequent and interactive client reviews to analytical tools that provide deeper insights into clients’ portfolios, technology can bridge the gap between regulatory compliance and exceptional service delivery.

 

Training and development

Investing in the continuous training and development of advisory teams is indispensable. As regulatory environments and financial markets evolve, so too must the knowledge and skills of those providing advice. This not only ensures compliance but also elevates the quality of advice and service clients receive.

 

Mitigating risks and embracing opportunities

As the sector navigates through these regulatory and operational changes, firms must be proactive in identifying and mitigating any risks associated with their ongoing advice services. This includes revisiting existing practices, conducting thorough risk assessments, and engaging with subject matter experts to fortify their approaches.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the elevation of ongoing advice services is not solely about regulatory adherence but about redefining the value proposition of financial advisory services. By embedding client-centricity, transparency, and innovation at the heart of these services, firms can transcend compliance and become beacons of trust and excellence in the financial industry.

 

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We are Affiliate Members of the Consumer Duty Alliance, which is an independent, ‘not-for-profit’ professional body. It aims to support the personal finance sector in the adoption and implementation of the FCA’s Consumer Duty requirements through the alliance of like-minded individuals and firms.

 

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