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New evidence of the value of advice

What does investor behaviour during the pandemic tell us about the value of advice? Are advisers’ views on virtual meetings shared by clients? Why should ad-hoc advice be a menu option for some firms?

Embark Group has launched the Embark Investor Confidence Barometer.

The Barometer is a twice-yearly survey of investor and adviser confidence, on a range of issues, some enduring some topical. As far as we know, it is the first time advisers can simultaneously learn what is on the minds of both advised and unadvised consumers – as well as their peers – on a range of issues.

It may not be the only confidence tracker out there, but as it drops in on all three groups, it provides an extensive range of insights.

What can advisers find out?

At the end of last year, we asked more than 1,000 people (250 each of advisers and advised consumers, and 502 unadvised consumers) to rate their levels of confidence on a range of issues.

For example, given the unprecedented volatility triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, we wanted to see how the confidence of the three groups was affected. Were advised consumers calmer than their unadvised counterparts? Similarly, with national lockdowns preventing in-person meetings, how did clients rate their adviser’s communications, and how did this affect their confidence?

Meanwhile, we wondered whether the market turbulence had prompted any unadvised investors to reconsider their approach?

We shone a spotlight on retirement confidence, defined benefit pension transfers, regulation, and adviser technology, among other things.

How can advisers use the Barometer?

This was the important bit: How could we present our findings in a simple, digestible way?

Start by looking at our headlines – there are four on this occasion – to see what interests you. You do not have to download and read the report in full (though you are welcome to); instead simply browse the insights that pique your interest.

Then it is a case of using the insights to your or your company’s benefit – whether that be insights on initial client meetings, annual reviews, what to say in times of market crises, even marketing.

For example, clients, it turns out, were pretty bowled over by their advisers’ communications as the pandemic took hold last year. It worked wonders for their confidence. But clients did not feel quite as upbeat about virtual meetings as advisers did. This is an insight you can use to decide whether virtual conferencing is an investment worth making.

Looking ahead

We hope you find this first Barometer useful, and helpful enough to come back for more when we run our next one before the summer.

It would also be remiss of me not to mention that, should you be interested in more insights from Embark Group, you can sign up easily at embarkgroup.co.uk/insights

If you have any questions, or if there are any areas you would be interested in hearing more about in future Barometers, please contact me at scott.sinclair@embarkgroup.co.uk.

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