How much do your clients trust the financial industry?

VP believes wealth industry has 'work to do' to improve its standing

How much do your clients trust the financial industry?

When Coast Capital in Surrey, B.C. recently launched its trusted advice survey with Angus Reid, it was surprised to find that 46% of the Canadians polled felt misled by their bank or financial institution.

Coast also noted that trust in the global financial industry is fast declining with financial services ranking second last in an industry trust score, coming out just slightly ahead of the increasingly volatile social media industry, at 44%.

Given that inflation continues to rise and even the Bank of Canada this week noted that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has reintroduced more uncertainty again, Daryl Hosein, Coast’s Vice President of Treasury, was concerned about Canadians finding themselves in a more precarious financial position just as they should be getting sound financial advice from a trusted advisor.

“There’s certainly work to do for the advice coming through from the industry,” he said, noting the survey showed 29% of respondents were more likely to turn to friends or family rather than financial institutions for financial advice.

That raised the question of how to build trust with people, and Hosein thought that some of the answer may lie in the fact that many of those polled also felt they were just getting cookie-cutter, rather than personalized, advice to meet their specific needs.

“When we look at that, we see this as being an opportunity to engage with our members over a longer period of time to build a relationship,” he said. “So, we can move away from the feeling that it’s transactional and can engage with members to understand what’s important to them from a financial standpoint and what’s important to them in their life overall. Then we can try to figure out what their goals are, so we can help them work toward those. I think that can go a long way to this idea of helping to build trust over time.”

Hosein said it’s important to have continual touchpoints, so the relationship doesn’t feel “one and done”.

“Financial planning is more of a marathon than a sprint,” he said.

Ideally, that means having financial advisors and planners who can really listen to their clients and play the role of a coach to prepare a more holistic financial plans that provides that more personalized service that people are craving as well as help them ride out the volatile markets.

For Coast Capital, all this means ensuring it gathers the right breadth of information at the start of the relationship, so Hosein said that it’s introduced a digital money chat to help its credit union members do that. But, it also means providing a team to help its customers make all the decisions they need about savings, investments, insurance, and tax and estate planning, among other things.

Coast’s survey was conducted at the end of last September with 1,033 Canadian adults. Hosein said it plans check in to see what progress it’s made when it runs another survey.