Research was recently released by International Adviser Magazine showing the results of the Middle East Investment Panorama (MEIP) survey. It was a survey of financial advisers (IFA's) which showed around 63% of respondents identified a lack of willingness by retail clients to commit to using a financial adviser.
What was previously taken for granted was that expatriates would use the services of advisers - this is now changing. Some clients are electing to "do-it-yourself", others may deal directly with asset management companies or life insurance companies. This is a major change. Whilst in the past, advisers have been mainly concerned about the regulatory environment or competitive pressures- today they are more worried about their business models and the attractiveness of their services to clients. Advisers will need to move quickly to improve their image in the Middle East. This may also be the case among other parts of the world.
The survey also found that technology change was a growing concern amid advisers. Approximately 20% saw that robo-advice was likely to be a serious threat to the business over the next one or two years. This comes at a time when the Insurance Authority in the Middle East is planning a ban on paying upfront commissions, in response to a rise of complaints from people who had savings or investment products. Another key finding of the survey showed that 70% of advisers surveyed, saw technology and electronic processing as a major opportunity believing they would could use such advances for business efficiencies i.e. to reduce costs.
Source: International Adviser December 2016
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