It may be the season to be merry but for many financial advisers and planners the business hangover starts in December and lasts long after the last turkey leftovers have been eaten up, according to a survey by adviser software specialist, Intelliflo.
More than half (55%) of the 233 users of Intelliflo’s Intelligent Office (iO) software polled said the December festive season results in lost business opportunities, with almost a third (29%) estimating losses of between 10% to 40% below what they would expect in an average month
The impact on business doesn’t end in December. More than half (53%) of those surveyed said it’s typically the second week of January before business returns to normal, with one in 10 (11%) saying it’s at least the second half of January or later. Only around a third (34%) said they expect it to be ‘business as usual’ by the first working day after 1 January.
Closed for Christmas
The majority (86%) avoid scheduling meetings with existing or prospective new clients between 24 December and 2 January, with just over half (55%) closing the office completely over this period.
Just over a quarter (27%) take a couple of extra days’ holiday between Christmas and the New Year, while around one in seven (13%) tell clients they are on holiday but actually use the time to catch up on non-client-facing tasks such as paperwork.
Almost half (45%) send seasonal greetings cards to clients, unless religion or cultural reasons make it inappropriate to do so, while over two in five (21%) choose to email to wish clients a happy Christmas. Around one in six (16%) give Christmas gifts to some clients. Just under a fifth (18%) don’t use the Christmas holiday season as an opportunity to contact clients.
Jo Gilbey, Intelliflo’s Marketing Director comments: “Obviously many businesses are disrupted over the Christmas period but it’s a concern that a significant number of advisers find the month of December a real challenge in terms of lost business and it can take until well into January, and for some even into February, before things get back to normal.
“However, it’s our experience that most advisers are far from being ‘bah humbug’ about Christmas, choosing instead to see it as an opportunity to make contact with clients and use the quiet time to catch up on paperwork and non-essential jobs around the office. We wish all advisers a great Christmas and a very short business hangover in 2015.”
Notes for Editors
The survey was carried out among Intelliflo’s database of financial advice and planning firms during 8-10 December 2014. 233 fully completed responses were analysed.
Intelliflo (www.Intelliflo.com) has been providing information technology services to financial services companies since its formation in 2004. Its leading web-based business management software, Intelligent Office, helps financial businesses large and small to improve efficiency and increase profits. Intelligent Office supports over 1,250 firms and 11,250 users with assets under advice of £172 billion (as at 30 September 2014).
In July 2013 HgCapital, a leading European private equity investor in B2B technology companies, became a majority shareholder in Intelliflo Ltd. HgCapital has a wealth of expertise in developing web-based software businesses and is committed to supporting the next phase of Intelliflo’s growth.
Intelliflo has won the Professional Adviser ‘Best Technology/Software Provider’ award, voted for by Financial Advisers, every year since 2010.