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Business as usual for advice firms 1-3 months after lockdown?

4 June 2020

Advice firms are feeling optimistic about their business bouncing back following the Covid-19 pandemic, new research from Royal London has revealed.

In a survey of 96 advisers, more than two thirds (67%) said they expect business to return to usual within three months of the “end of Covid-19”. Nearly four in ten (37%) expect this to take a month, while only 10% believed it would take longer than six months to resume normal levels.

While new business demand has decreased since the start of the crisis, 60% of advisers said contact from existing clients had increased by 25% with a greater need for reassurance on investments, information on furlough, self-employment and payment deferrals.

Demand for protection products has also increased, with mortgage advisers exploring protection-related opportunities as the housing market remains subdued.

Tom Dunbar, distribution director, Royal London Intermediary, said: “Seeing advisers keeping calm and staying resilient in the face of Covid-19 is good news for the industry. While many will face challenges in the months ahead, it’s clear that the marketplace for impartial advice remains buoyant with advisers looking for opportunities such as within the protection market.”

According to Royal London, advisers are also feeling confident around their ability to remain independent rather than sell or merge their business. Separate research carried out ahead of the Covid-19 crisis found that nearly half (48%) of advisers had been approached to either sell or merge in the last two years, yet only 17% were actively considering the proposition, with the majority of smaller firms planning to stay independent.

A third said they were investing in people to help grow their business and drive efficiencies, with only one in ten advisers believing consolidation would be the best option for clients.

Hellen Ball, group operations director, Tenet Group, said: “The findings of this research back up Tenet’s belief that the majority of advisers value their independence and the ongoing provision of independent advice for their customers.

“Being part of the Tenet network gives principles the option of a future exit, retiring from the industry in the knowledge that their clients will continue to receive quality independent advice rather than sell them into a restricted model, with clients receiving a very different proposition.”

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