Advisor | April 2024

The consensus is (almost) unanimous: the world of consultancy is changing gear for the umpteenth time to anticipate a change that has been in the air for some time and which now has a very specific deadline: the revision of the consultancy remuneration model in part, but not only, induced by the next revision of the remuneration model (the Retail Investment Strategy).

In reality, major changes never happen from above – regulators, governments, institutions and banks – but from below, that is, from investors, users and customers, who with the change in their attitudes and habits have always marked and will mark the success or failure of any service or product.

And if this is now well established in the consumer goods and durable goods sector, it is also becoming a reality in the banking, financial and insurance sectors.

Just think of the closure of thousands of bank branches: customers decreed their end before the banks noticed, so much so that some continued in the mad rush to purchase them after the time had expired.

The same thing is happening to paid consultancy, which for years was mocked and, in some cases, opposed, has now become the object of attention because the so-called trend setters, i.e. the trend forecasters, are attracted to it and appreciate its clarity, transparency and value added.

In the world of finance, the trend setters are typically young people and the wealthiest individuals (private individuals and HNWIs).

From the research that FINER periodically conducts, it emerges that 72% of them declare themselves willing to pay a fee for the financial advice offered by their banker in exchange for an optimization of the commissions on the individual products subscribed to.

The expansion of the range of products offered in a single container – the so-called advanced consultancy – which sees mutual investment funds in the company of government bonds, BTPs, ETFs, ETCs – is in fact liked by 88% of the super rich who are willing to pay for this their consultant.

The same thing goes for young people, who over the next ten years will inherit hundreds of billions of euros from those who preceded them: 76% of them say they are in favor of paying a consultancy fee in exchange for a professional who is able to listen to them and select the solutions characterized by the best cost-quality ratio, the so-called value for money.

The transition is epochal for those who know how to grasp it: the consultant will no longer be a mere selector of ingredients but a real director who, thanks to the technological support of his bank, will be able to mix them masterfully, supporting each client in the realization of his life projects.

Among the networks there are those who are already ready for this change, those who are gearing up and those who will opportunistically wait until the last moment to change course.

Then there are networks that have decided to focus almost exclusively on savings management, others also on protection and credit, some more focused on the private customer segment, others that wish to serve a more universal customer base.

Despite all these differences, only those banks will thrive that are able to continuously listen to both customers and their employees and consultants, in order to anticipate the changes taking place and not suffer them.

Nicola Ronchetti