Written by Michael Feinberg, Warwick Wealth Regional Manager Western Cape
The nature of financial products and services differs significantly from other consumer goods and service sectors, as financial services are essentially intangible and, therefore, cannot be seen, felt, or touched.
So, how do investors source and select the right products and services for their financial needs?
Of course, would-be investors could utilise good old Dr Google to navigate through a plethora of information and come to the realisation after weeks, that placing one’s financial future in the hands of 0.001% of the information out there is unwise. Alternatively, taking counsel from a friend of a friend after a few glasses of wine is certainly not the best route to pursue either.
This brings us to relying on the professionals and qualified financial advisors. Akin to seeking medical help while under the weather by visiting your local GP, one should always seek experienced investment advice from a licensed, suitably qualified, experienced and trusted financial advisor. Now, of course, I would make such a statement considering that I am a certified qualified financial advisor, but as the saying goes, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”. So I too utilise the advice of professional financial advisors for services and products relating to insurance and medical aid, for example.
I have always been a firm believer in dealing with people that I enjoy spending time with as life is too short to do otherwise. This sentiment extends to my clients who have placed their trust and confidence in me. But with the financial services industry being somewhat intangible, how do clients really measure client service?
There are many ways to establish if clients of an organization are being serviced adequately. A few of the more obvious measures are low complaint rates, high client retention and a regular flow of renewed and new business. Any potential client would be wise to first investigate the above criteria before placing their trust and financial future with any investment organisation. A quick search on the FSCA website should also be helpful in order to avoid any potential issues.
For more in-depth client service monitoring and from an investment standpoint, the following are important areas to note: Regular yearly reviews, performance, tax planning, asset allocation, currency, offshore exposure, income reviews, retirement planning and will amendments to name a few. As a qualified financial advisor, these are basic non-negotiables and are the minimum aspects I conduct with my valued clients on a face-to-face basis. Indeed, I know that I have learned far more from sitting down with my clients over coffee than over the phone or video call. (Covid lockdown restrictions notwithstanding)
What then is the distinction of client care?
Client care is the above and beyond assistance that great advisors conduct for their valued clients. These are additional acts of kindness and assistance that are not mandatory or merely part of one’s ‘job’. Advisors who go out of their way for their clients when it truly matters and what makes an organisation great. I believe it is not something that can be taught to employees, but rather inherent in the values of quality ethical professionals. I have gained and learned a lot through being surrounded by like-minded professionals and we at Warwick are stronger because of them.