Financial advisers have critical role to play in tough economic times

By Janice Roberts

Lizl Budhram

Petrol price hikes, electricity tariff increases and constant market volatility mean there’s a greater need for financial advisers who can guide customers through the noise and uncertainty to achieve their financial goals and dreams.

Lizl Budhram, Head of Advice at Old Mutual Personal Finance, says financial advisers have a critical role to play in tough economic times.

“Advisers need to think beyond product solutions and position themselves as coaches who can provide their customers with essential financial knowledge and tools. They should remind customers to allocate their disposable income wisely, whether it’s to reduce household debt or to earn compound interest through disciplined savings.

“Take a moment and ask yourself: do I have the right approach to enable my customer to stay committed to their long-term financial plans, no matter what is happening in the market?

“Demonstrate you are as invested in your customer’s financial well-being as they are. A comprehensive financial needs analysis is the starting point, followed by a holistic financial plan that forms the framework within which a customer can maintain control over their finances and achieve financial freedom and security.”

4 practical ways to help your customers stay on track:

Show you’re in touch by being in touch

Knowing what is happening in the market – whether it’s major price increases or legislative changes – is an opportunity to keep in touch with your customer. Have you considered an email communique, reminding them to stay committed or unpacking the impact of these changes? Annual reviews provide another opportunity to re-connect, giving customers a chance to reassess their financial situation and discuss their changing needs with you.

Empower them

Listen to your customer and understand their pain points as well as their financial needs. Pointing out a specific module on a free financial education portal can show you’re invested in their success and empower them to do more with their money.

 Add value through technology

Tell your customers about apps like 22SEVEN which help categorise spending and provide a good view of where their money goes. It’s free to use, saves time, adds convenience and reinforces commitment.

Practise customer centricity

Your success as a financial adviser will be determined by how effectively you provide the kind of holistic advice that helps your customers do great things with their money. Ensure that the processes used in your practice make it easy for customers to do business with you, and are responsive to customers’ needs and queries. “Financial planning practices can boost your productivity as well as your value-add to customers by using heat-maps, maturities, and lead campaigns, and by using the central services available to free up the capacity of your back-offices,” says Budhram.

“Market volatility can lead people to make emotional decisions that can have detrimental impacts on their financial plans. But proper financial advice which transcends financial solutions ensures your customers maintain a balanced perspective and minimises the risk of rash decisions that could derail their holistic financial plan,” adds Budhram.

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