Viewpoint: What Australians truly value from financial advice

By Darren Whereat, Chief Advice Officer

Last year presented enormous challenges for businesses and how we stay connected with each other. During the midst of a pandemic, last July IOOF undertook The True Value of Advice research study in conjunction with CoreData to understand how financial advice benefits those who receive it and the value placed on that experience by clients.

Partnering with our advisers we received an impressive 11,615 responses from their clients, including more than 12,000 verbatim comments, clearly indicating the high regard, engagement and loyalty advised clients have with their advisers. In addition, we received more than 1,000 responses from unadvised individuals to enable us to identify where the gaps and opportunities exist.

What are the key benefits clients reported?

The research revealed key benefits clients experience from receiving advice. It helps clients to identify, prioritise and achieve financial and personal goals, and provides increased overall personal wellbeing.

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Non-financial benefits

I have always believed that when clients receive financial advice it helps to alleviate stress, hassle and provides them with a greater peace of mind when it comes to achieving their financial goals. Our research shows that 95% of those who have a financial adviser reported greater peace of mind around their financial future. It’s also clear from this research that financial advice provides much broader benefits than financial ones including improved mental health, better family life, better social life and improved physical health compared to those that have not received financial advice.

How do clients view their financial adviser?

Of those who do have an adviser, 90% agreed that their adviser is a critical partner in their financial success. The strategies which a financial adviser provides and then help clients to implement are the road map to achieving financial goals. 97% of advised clients agreed that their adviser understands their circumstances with 95% saying their financial adviser always meets or exceeded their expectations, showing the clear link between trust and value that exists between clients and advisers.

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The role of technology

Relationships with clients will always be number one. To help facilitate these, better technology can help advisers spend more time in face-to-face interactions with their clients to build trusted relationships.

We’ve recently invested in our digital capability by acquiring Wealth Central, a proprietary financial advice and client engagement technology platform.

The acquisition of Wealth Central gives us the platform to support our client engagement model and to deliver goals-based advice, more efficiently, to more Australians. This is differentiating technology that IOOF now owns exclusively, for the benefit of our adviser network.

It will significantly improve and streamline the client experience, meaning less time is spent collecting clients’ financial information and more time is spent on creating a plan to help clients achieve their financial and personal goals.

What did the unadvised individuals say and what is the advice opportunity?

Almost half (46%) of the unadvised individuals who were surveyed, said that they were open to the idea of seeking advice in the future, with 61% saying that they would seek advice if they better understood the benefits it provided.

The research glaringly revealed that advice transcends, age, wealth and gender. If anything, these simple six words embody the essence of our approach to advice - that it is valuable, meaningful and should be more affordable and accessible to more Australians.

At IOOF, we remain committed to supporting and helping advisers to deliver advice to their clients in an efficient way that not only makes advice businesses valuable and sustainable, but also helps to remove perceived barriers to seeking advice and making advice more affordable, more accessible, and more engaging for more Australians.