Are IFAs Becoming Obsolete?

IFAs abroad

With the rise of online service providers, there has been much concern in the IFA community, and those looking for IFA recruitment assistance may think that the position of IFAs is under threat. However, this is not the case. According to a study conducted by Accenture Research in the UK, 30% of the respondents still choose IFAs for their financial planning while 43% would also like to do so and this number is likely to be replicated around the world. Although customers may go online to make price comparisons of various financial products and services, it seems that they still value personal face-to-face professional advice, preferring to deal with a human being on a personal level. According to the survey, the most popular channel through which people buy life insurance products in the UK is through IFAs. This accounted for more than 35% of policy sales and pension products. The survey also revealed that IFAs remain a popular platform for consumers seeking information for the formation of retirement plans. Therefore the need for financial advice and planning benefits the independent financial advisors.

The benefits of IFAs as opposed to the Internet

Face to face services provided by Independent financial advisors are still seen to be more trustworthy. Financial planning is always a sensitive matter, and it’s essential that a client has trust in the person giving that advice. With the upsurge of the internet, it’s hard to regulate the information out there, and while anyone can set up and maintain a blog or social media account purporting to be an “expert”, some of the people who claim to provide genuine online services do not have the necessary qualifications and expertise required to give such advice. Horror stories are found in many different forums of those people who’ve trusted an online source of advice and people have lost money as a result, and this is why savvy investors, or those wishing to gain advice turn to IFAs.

 

Dealing with an IFA on a personal level gives clients the confidence they have the right information to make decisions that are personal to their unique circumstances and requirements. While genuine online services can be useful for some simple issues such as purchasing insurance, if there are any complicated decisions to be made, or any special circumstances involved, policies can be rendered invalid, or clients pay more than they should for premiums. In addition to this, there has been a great deal of furor around internet security, and with many online service providers requiring a myriad of personal details before services can be provided, it’s no wonder that smart clients prefer to keep their financial information off the web.

Is there room for both IFAs and online services?

It’s clear to see that there are huge benefits to using an IFA, which is why there are still opportunities for financial advisor jobs in every country. And while some online service providers are doing substantial amounts of business, there will always be those who look for a friendly face and personal, accurate independent advice before they make any financial decision.

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