Many significant cultural changes begin with a crisis. As the recession blows across Canada, many small to mid-sized investment firms are simply hunkering down and waiting out the storm. However, there is a growing recognition in pockets of the industry that yesterday’s methodology will be inadequate going forward. In today’s rapidly evolving business environment, agile enterprises must continually re-examine every aspect of their operation to see what can be improved. An ongoing focus on improving client focused investment products and services will help firms retain and attract new clients.
These days there is increasing pressure by clients for better service, which means financial service providers will experience multiple challenges, such as:
- escalating competition and industry consolidation are shifting power to new intermediaries with greater financial clout
- increasing regulation is bringing closer scrutiny, increasing compliance costs and uncertainty which diverts attention from revenue generation
- demanding clients are better educated and diversifying their counterparties by prioritizing reputation, advice and consistency
As a result of these pressures, strategies to enhance value in this uncertain environment must be offered to:
- give clients the ability to seamlessly meet their needs and not just their “wants”
- rationalize workflows and build efficient, flexible partnerships
Clients are increasingly driven by cost effectiveness, transparency, consolidation and customization. They are tired of overblown, high priced and partially effective products and are demanding better value. Clients are seeking individualization and are less likely to accept off the shelf services. Advisory service providers will best meet these needs if they are seen as trustworthy problem solvers.
If the recent market downturn has taught us anything, it’s that transparency will go a long way to dampening a client’s pain. Service should be one continuous conversation with clients. Times will change as they always do. As part of that process, clients will seek improved effectiveness and resiliency in order to further their strategic business goals.