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How COVID-19 is changing the intermediary approach

20 May 2020 Sanlam
Theesan Moodley, General Manager: Intermediaries at Sanlam

Theesan Moodley, General Manager: Intermediaries at Sanlam

While the power of face-to-face, physical sessions remains indisputable, COVID-19 has called for a ‘new normal’ where Zoom meetings and WhatsApp calls are the order of the day. All sectors of society have been impacted, including intermediaries who have had to quickly digitally mobilise to be there for their clients in a time when they’re needed most.

Theesan Moodley, General Manager: Intermediaries at Sanlam, notes it has become crucial that intermediaries adapt and diversify the way they work to ensure business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He emphasises that we are living in unprecedented times which call for extraordinary measures and, with the livelihood of so many South African businesses and individuals under pressure, now is the time that clients need their intermediaries’ advice, expertise and support the most.

Intermediaries can enhance their approach through digital mobilisation by practicing the following:

1. Up communications efforts: Now is the time to proactively reach out to clients to cement these relationships and keep your services top of mind. It’s also imperative to adopt an omnichannel approach so you can reach out to your clients via channels they’re active on. From WhatsApp and Zoom to email and Skype, ask clients what works best for them. Consider sending out regular mailers from your practice and check in often with a friendly WhatsApp.

2. Ensure you have a digital presence: Having a digital presence has the potential to keep you top of mind for clients. It could allow you opportunities to share relevant news, interesting insights and updates with them, reinforcing that you are staying abreast of current events and issues which could potentially be relevant to their finances. It allows you to be accessible for potential clients, and it could help you pick up on issues and concerns that are currently in the market.

3. Eye on the prize: Work alongside clients to prioritise their finances so they stay on track to reach their financial goals despite extremely tough financial times. Keep in regular communications and nimbly adapt plans according to people’s adjusted circumstances.

4. Share educational resources: Try and prioritise sharing weekly financial management tips, relevant articles and other educational material you believe may help your clients. Consider hosting financial management webinars or Zoom focus groups as another value add.

5. Look out for leads: Make sure you reach out to prospective clients that contact you for advice and timeously follow up leads to maintain a robust client pipeline. Client expectations may be a lot higher in the current circumstances, from a timeline perspective.

During this time, intermediaries have the chance to be agile for the long-term. “The value of advice in the current climate is of paramount importance to support your clients in making sound financial decisions during times when fake news is pervasive, and trust is something to treasure.” concludes Moodley.


Quick Polls


Which of the following business models do you favour to achieve a sustainable succession outcome in your financial advice practice?


[a] I will find an independent financial planner to buy my business
[b] I will sell a portion of my advice practice to a large corporate
[c] I will join a large firm and give up my independence
[d] I will invite another independent financial planner to join me
[e] I will partner with a large firm
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