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A team approach adds value!

What do clients value from their financial adviser? Many articles have covered this and usually reach the same conclusion that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. Value is assessed by the client,  is subjective and based on a variety of expectations and perhaps influenced by how value was positioned with them at the outset.

However, a new survey from Cerulli Associates[1] perhaps offers a different insight. They asked clients what the key factors were when selecting a financial adviser. The top three responses were:

  1. Transparency in interactions
  2. Taking time to understand their needs, goals and risk tolerance
  3. Monitoring portfolios and letting them know about any problems and opportunities

The first two points are probably no surprise and make perfect sense. Clients want clarity and honesty in their interactions and understanding needs, goals and risk tolerance is at the heart of any financial planning relationship. Last year gave us the perfect example of all this working in practice. Hypothetical questions about risk tolerance and capacity for loss for many became a reality while understanding needs and goals, ensuring that financial plans actually stayed on track, were viewed as critical.

However, let’s explore the third factor in more detail. Last year was like no other in terms of volatility. After over 10 years of a bull market, many clients experienced the pain of significant losses in their portfolio. This came at a time when real financial stress was being felt in other areas of their lives such as job security and the impact on their regular income. Mortgage holidays, disinvesting from pension pots or ceasing contributions and other strategies were deployed.

Whilst market recovery has helped some clients’ financial position,  it has also shone a light on the requirement for financial advisers to closely monitor clients’ investment portfolios and stay in touch. That requires two activities: advisers maintaining client contact and investment managers delivering appropriate information and support. This needs to be relevant, delivered  in ‘client friendly language’ and supported by people who are available to respond to any enquiries.

However, the research dug deeper on this point and asked about expertise in managing portfolios. Only 29% of clients felt that their adviser had the highest level of expertise to run their portfolio and identified that ‘a team approach’ actively benefits them.

So what is the key takeaway from Cerulli’s research? Perhaps it reinforces the need for financial advisers to consider outsourcing their clients’ portfolio to an investment manager. One that offers multi-asset expertise and a team-based approach. By offering a range of solutions, investment managers can support advisers to deliver the outcomes their clients are seeking.

We are delighted that the Schroder Investment Solutions Model Portfolios are now available on Embark. To read our latest insights, click here or visit our website to find out how Schroders can help you


[1] ThinkAdvisor, 8 April 2021 -

About the author

Gillian Hepburn, UK Intermediary Solutions Director, Schroders

Gillian has over 30 years' experience in financial services. Prior to joining Schroders, she had an extensive career at Standard Life followed by consultancy positions with a range of platform providers, asset managers and financial advisers. She also founded DISCUS, a business which provided research, insight and educational content for financial advisers about the outsourced investment market and spent time as Head of Strategic Partnerships at the Embark Group. Gillian is responsible for outsourced investment solutions for the UK Intermediary market including model portfolios on platforms and multi-asset funds.

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