• However, 60% expect increasing client assets to result in growth
  • Research published as part of FundsNetwork’s second annual IFA DNA report

London, 12 April 2021: As lockdown restrictions continue to unwind, new research from FundsNetwork, Fidelity International’s adviser platform, reveals the impact of the past year’s events upon advisers.

The findings are revealed in FundsNetwork’s second ‘ IFA DNA’ report, which captures the views of the UK’s financial advisers*. While more than half (57%) say their firms’ 3-5 year plans have been affected by Covid-19, this is an improvement compared with the two-thirds (64%) surveyed last year who reported concerns about the pandemic’s impact upon their plans*. 

This optimism continues, with a majority of firms remaining confident about their prospects for growth. Six in ten (60%) advisers expect to expand by increasing client assets under management, while recruitment (17%) and acquisition (11%) are also under consideration.

Jackie Boylan, Head of FundsNetwork at Fidelity International commented: “As the advice industry looks to move forward from one of the most challenging periods in the UK’s recent history, our findings provide great grounds for optimism. While many advisers have revised or put their growth plans on pause over the last year, their ambition hasn’t been deterred. In fact, the pandemic may have strengthened their determination to succeed - just look at the increase in those who say their firm plans to grow by increasing assets under advice, up from 48% at the start of last year, to 60% today.”

Looking at the more immediate changes prompted by Covid-19, many advisers have welcomed changes to their everyday working practices. Almost two-thirds (62%) say they have more time available within their working day compared with before the pandemic began - with more than one in five (21%) noting a significant increase in free time. More than a quarter (27%) have reclaimed this time as their own, focusing on activities that are good for their physical or mental health, while one in ten (10%) have sought to achieve a balance with commitments outside of work, such as home schooling.

Many of those who have found themselves with more time within the working day have dedicated it towards supporting existing clients (21%), while for 15% it has presented an opportunity to catch up on admin and report writing.

On the other hand, 16% have found the changes to their day-to-day routines more disruptive, leaving them feeling time-poor and citing their volume of work (25%), process issues (22%) and less administrative support (22%) as challenges to overcome. Sixteen per cent have found commitments outside of work are also difficult to juggle alongside their work.

Jackie Boylan continues: “The past year has seen a renewed focus upon how we spend our time. Fewer hours spent commuting may have led to greater flexibility in how we structure our working weeks, but many will also have benefited from the digitisation of certain processes. Technology has helped many of us to adapt to a different way of working and led to increased efficiencies as a result. As companies consider how they might adapt their working practices over the months to come, their use of technology is likely to play a key role in maintaining this new-found time. 

“Not many of us would claim to have sailed through the last year without experiencing some level of stress or anxiety. However, our research shows that levels of career satisfaction remain consistently high amongst advisers - at 86% compared with 88% last year - suggesting that despite the challenges many have faced, the industry has once again embraced the opportunity to adapt and innovate.” 

For more information about the research, please visit:  IFA DNA: Practitioner insights for advisory businesses | FundsNetwork (fidelity.co.uk)

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