We spent all of 2019 planning for the launch of LLM and making sure we were well capitalised for any event. This proved to be key to our success. Even though 2020 has had a few bumps in the road, we have managed to double our staffing and expand our advisor base to cover the whole of the United Kingdom for face-to-face appointments (when it is safe to have them again). Recently, we’ve also been approved to offer consumer Annuity products.
Our mantra has always been about seeing the client “face-to-face”, avoiding the phone whenever possible, however we have had to adapt to meet the consumer needs.
The easy options given the lockdown would have been to conduct business over the phone or shut down for a while, especially as we’d just launched.
However, we have always felt that later life products are too sensitive and important to be done over the phone, so we upgraded our technology and offered video meetings for all clients, always requesting their families and friends join the meeting. Even though we couldn’t be in the same room, the ability to record these meeting gave clients a great piece of mind in that they could refer back to the meeting.
In conjunction with OMS, we are working on a complete IT system for later life advisors. Prior the development of this system, most advisors used a system designed for mortgages or paper fact-finds. This will be available to all OMS users once we have fully tested it.
During the lockdown, we encouraged the clients to call us if they needed anyone to talk to, we also enlisted the help of TMG ambassador Ashley McKenzie (Team GB Olympian and TV personality) to drop some food hampers off to anyone needing supplies, no questions asked.
Over the time we’ve been in the industry, we’ve worried about advisors getting qualified and offering later life products without any training or support. Given the complex and once-in-a-lifetime nature of the products, we feel that those offering such services should be either experienced in the area, or be monitored and supported by someone who is (at least until they gain some experience).
To combat this, we soft launched our own Later Life Academy, for our own advisors, where we hand hold them for 6 months (and upwards if required) making sure everything they do is in the best interest of the client and correct in procedure.
We are now progressing to the launch of a helpdesk for advisors nationally, regardless of whether there are our advisors or not. While this will be time consuming, we believe that such an initiative would contribute to raising industry standards. We won’t be charging advisors for this, as we believe that it would benefit clients in a way that would benefit the reputation of the industry as a whole.
Overall, adaptability has been the key this year, being able to pivot and change direction in a fast-changing environment.