The human touch still counts despite rise of digital — survey

Advisers report that face to face meetings remain the most valued client communications channel, despite the growth of digital and social media alternatives, according to a new study commissioned by Investec Wealth & Investment.

On average, advisers say the majority (59%) of time spent communicating with clients is through face to face meetings while two-fifths of IFAs (42%) predict the portion to be over 75%.

Despite the current dominance of face to face meetings, nearly one in four advisers (23%) predict the amount they do will fall off over the next five years compared to 10% who think they will do more. The majority (62%) think the number of meetings will remain the same.

The study shows that advisers are increasingly using a variety of digital and social tools to engage with clients: three-quarters (72%) forecast email will become more important over the next five years while a quarter (26%) predict they will be conducting more remote meetings through Facetime and Skype. Despite their high profile, only 5% think that LinkedIn and Twitter will become more important as client communications channels.

“The majority of long term relationships between intermediaries and clients are built around delivering face-to-face advice and the research underlines this will remain the case for the foreseeable future,” said Mark Stevens, head of Intermediary Services at Investec Wealth & Investment.

“That said, advisers recognise the growing popularity of digital and social channels how these can be used positively to strengthen their relationships but not act as a substitute for face-time,” Stevens said.

Alicia Villegas
Alicia Villegas speaks Spanish and Italian and is Iberia Correspondent for InvestmentEurope. She was shortlisted for the Rising Star Award at the British Media Awards 2017 and Writer of the Year at the PPA Independent Publisher Awards 2016. Previously, she worked for almost three years at the seafood business website Undercurrent News as a market reporter. In Spain, she also worked for more than five years for several media outlets.

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