Financial advisers have a trust issue – and here’s a way to solve it

If anyone was still in any doubt that financial advisers in the UK have a trust issue, it’s now in black and white.

Research by YouGov, commissioned by the International Longevity Centre, found that 61% of people aged between 55 and 70 who are yet to retire have no intention of seeing a financial adviser. The most commonly cited recited was a lack of trust. 44% of respondents agreed with the statement: ‘I do not trust the financial services sector to provide me with good advice’.

This is, of course, a depressing indictment – and it’s a problem which all advisory firms, no matter how trustworthy they are, have to address if they’re to grow. If nearly half of people in the age bracket for which advice is most essential distrust advisers, what hope is there for the industry when all the evidence suggests that younger people are even more sceptical about the value an adviser can add?

The good news is that most advisers are at least doing something about it. In a survey of 110 financial planners and wealth managers by Birmingham Business School, 90% identified establishing trust with clients and prospective clients as a key marketing objective for 2015.

As someone who for many years has advocated the use of content such as videos, blogs and inforgraphics as a way of building trust and assets under management, I was also heartened to see that advisers now consider content as the most effective communications tool of all. 4 out of 5 firms surveyed said they specifically intended to use video content.

Encouraging though that all is, the sad fact remains that many of those who try content marketing end up disappointed. Done well, it does most definitely work. But there are three main reasons why all too often it doesn’t:

Lack of planning I’m surprised at how many advisory firms launch straight into producing content without having a strategy. Before you start, ask yourselves three key questions: 1. What are we trying to achieve? 2. What sort of content do your clients and prospects actually want? And 3. How do you intend to reach them?

Lack of resources There’s no escaping it, content marketing is neither a cheap solution, nor an easy one. If you fail to invest sufficient time and money, it’s not going to deliver the results you’re looking for. Your content must be relevant, engaging and high quality, or else people aren’t going to consume or share it. Either you recruit staff to do the job properly, or you outsource to specialist experts. Whichever you choose, don’t under-estimate the skills required, or what it’s going to cost.

Lack of patience Content marketing is not a quick fix. It takes to time build an audience, to climb the search engine rankings and to start putting a figure on the return on investment your content is delivering. As a rule of thumb, it takes six to eight months before it really begins to make a difference. So have a plan and stick to it. Remember, you’re building value in your business, and that only ever happens through perseverance.

Robin Powell is Editor of Sensible Investing TV and Director of Ember Television, a content marketing company with specialist expertise in the financial advisory sector.