Face-to-Face meetings are still the most valued communication channel among clients despite the social media alternatives, according to new research by Investec (financial planner)

The majority (50 per cent) of the 98 intermediaries who took part in the online survey said they spend most of their time communicating with clients through face-to-face meetings, while 42 per cent claim the proportion to be more than 75 per cent (financial planner).

However, almost a quarter of the sample predict that they will communicate to clients in this fashion less over the five years compared to 10 per cent who envisage doing more.

Meanwhile, nearly two thirds foresee no change in the number of face-to-face meetings they hold.

What is more, the study shows advisers are increasingly using a variety of digital and social tools to engage with clients. Three-quarters of respondents forecast that email will become more important over the next five years, while a quarter predict that they will be conducting more remote meetings through Facetime and Skype.

Only 5 per cent think that Linkedin and Twitter will become more important as client communication channels.

Mark Stevens, head of intermediary services at Investec said “The majority of long-term relationships between intermediaries and clients built around delivering face-to-face financial advice, and research underlines that this will remain the case for the foreseeable future.

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

Steve Carlson, a financial planner said: “I always have an intial face-to-face meeting with clients, but I have found many of them arte happy for subsequent meetings to be held via skype and over the phone”.

(FTadviser, 2016)

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