IFAs facing technology challenge

According to a BT survey released this week, the internet has been shaking up the intermediaries market, and will leave traditional IFAs out of the loop if they are technophobic.

90% of those questioned in the survey said technology would help address key business issues, while 66% said they preferred to use both direct and indirect methods of buying financial services. The most purchased product on the internet was shares.

A wide range of financial services traditionally sold face-to-face or over the telephone are now available on the internet and on digital television, and IFAs will need to offer customers a variety of means to do business.

The report said more than 90% of intermediaries believed they had not suffered significantly from online competitors, although 80% perceived internet use as an opportunity rather than a threat.

IFAs that adapt quickly and exploit e-business opportunities stand to reap major benefits. Price transparency and the widespread availability of information available via the internet, has meant that customers have begun demanding integrated solutions that suit their individual needs.

Steve Rathborne, head of marketing of BT Finance Industry Solutions, said: ‘The research demonstrates the power and influence of the internet.’

There was a still an underlying ignorance about the role of intermediaries, he added.Independent but not on their own

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