Send out a search party…no one is looking for you!

Some recent surveys in the trade press may be causing the brows of more than a few financial advisers to furrow.

The first, from The Marketing Eye, reveals that fewer people are searching online for IFAs. Their research shows IFA related terms via Google (the search engine that accounts for over 70% of searches) are 83% down from their peak in February 2004. Although the rate of decline has slowed, search volumes are still 35% down on where they were around the time of the financial crisis in 2008 and 18% down over the last three years.

The second, from Sanlam, highlights that one in five (19%) of their survey sample (500 UK adults with more than £100,000 in personal savings and investments, excluding property and pensions) had never spoken with a professional adviser and three in five (60%) said they trusted their own instincts.

Both surveys point to possible trouble ahead for those advisers who want to play the long game in terms of running profitable businesses.

But business is booming…

I say the long game because, for the vast majority of financial advisers, business has never been better. Pension freedoms and the baby boomer generation have created more business from relatively affluent clients than most advisers can handle.

So much so that another study, by Nucoro, reveals that 72 clients are being turned away every year by the average wealth manager because they fall below minimum investment thresholds.

The phrase ‘feast today famine tomorrow’ comes to mind.

Feast today famine tomorrow

With advisers being under pressure from juggling increasing regulation, new technology and managing healthy books of clients, it’s easy for many to push thoughts of what might happen in the future to one side. But it’s a dangerous strategy to ignore the warning signs that future generations may overlook them.

So, what can be done? Smart advisers are structuring their firms to meet the demands of multiple generations with varying levels of assets. They are not just focusing on those that are affluent now, they are looking at how they can cost-effectively work with all sorts of people, regardless of their assets. They are doing this through engaging with technology and streamlining their functions, often out-sourcing specialist investment management. They are increasing their online marketing and engaging with social media.

The world is changing fast and advisers must act if they want to avoid being overlooked in the future.