Covid-19 continues to challenge every aspect of our lives—our health, our homes and the way we work. The business of providing financial advice is no exception. While the pandemic is driving up the demand for advice, it’s also posing new challenges for advisors and financial professionals—and changing the way they do business.

Advisory firms, from the independent one-person office to the multi-billion-dollar wealth management practice, are re-tooling operations as social distancing and working remotely becomes the new normal. What do you need to know about leveraging technology to combat Covid’s impact and protect profitability so you can grow your practice in the new year ahead?

The Nationwide Retirement Institute’s sixth annual 2020 Advisor Authority study of more than 2,500 advisors, financial professionals and individual investors, has uncovered valuable insights that can help you stay connected, retain satisfied clients and attract new ones, all while keeping the pressures of the pandemic in check, to help keep your firm profitable.

Covid Drives Demand For Advice
Our most recent Advisor Authority study shows that investors’ number-one financial concern is losses in their portfolio due to the Covid-19, with protecting their assets a very close second. They see the pandemic as the top driver of volatility and also the number-one threat to their portfolio. The good news: while Covid-19 is driving investors’ financial concerns to new levels, it is also driving the demand for guidance and advice.

According to the Nationwide Retirement Institute’s Covid-19 survey conducted in April 2020, more than half of investors (52%) say the Covid-19 pandemic made them realize that they need help managing their finances and investments to succeed in the future. Nearly half of investors (49%) are now relying on an advisor or financial professional more than ever. And more than a quarter of investors (26%) engaged an advisor or financial professional for the first time due to Covid-19.

Pandemic Puts Pressure On Practice Profitability
Just as Covid drives investors’ concerns, and they are seeking financial guidance at a rapidly growing rate, the pandemic is also putting added pressures on advisors and financial professionals, including concerns about the profitability of their practices. According to our most recent Advisor Authority, in 2020 only 54% of all advisors expect profitability to increase, compared to 72% in 2019 and 84% in 2018. A 30-point drop in just two years. Meanwhile, among those who expect profitability to decrease, the negative impact of Covid-19 is the number one factor, cited by more than two-thirds.


When asked to name their top practice management concerns related to Covid-19 over the next 12 months, advisors and financial professionals say their health and safety is number-one on the list, followed closely by a decrease in profitability. At the same time, they are taking action and putting technology to work. As our research shows, providing a digital experience and self-service tools for clients, followed closely by providing digital “work-from-home” strategy for employees are also among advisors’ and financial professionals’ top five practice management priorities related to Covid-19.

In fact, when asked what they will do to enhance profitability, year over year advisors and financial professionals say that adding new technology is consistently among the top five factors. With the pivot to social distancing and working remotely, the pandemic has expedited the industry’s adoption of technology. Digital solutions are an important ally to combat Covid’s impact and keep your business going strong.

Staying Connected—Even At A Distance
Year over year, Advisor Authority has also shown that advisors, financial professionals and investors say face-to-face meetings are the most important form of communication. And to ensure a strong advisor/investor relationship, trust comes first. While social distancing is crucial for reasons of health and safety, not being able to meet in person presents its own challenges. Technology provides a solution.

According to our latest Advisor Authority study, nearly 4 in 10 advisors and financial professionals say the top way technology will help them better serve clients is by enabling them to meet remotely. Virtual meetings—such as FaceTime, Skype or Zoom—are a way to combine tech with the human touch. It’s clear that nothing can replace face to face. And recently there are more refences in the news to “virtual meeting fatigue.” But until we can put social distancing behind us, and safely meet in person again, virtual meetings give you a way to connect with clients, maintain more personalized interactions and reinforce your trusted relationship.

After decades spent perfecting our own hybrid wholesaling model, one thing we’ve learned is that consistency matters. Maintaining the right cadence of just enough emails, phone calls and virtual meetings will help your clients know that you understand their needs and you’re there for them—without overwhelming them.

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