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FT/MPF report highlights need for advisory firms to deliver consistent service and a more commercial perspective

  • 80% of clients expect a more consistent level of service
  • 69% of clients want more added-value services from their advisers

  • 87% of advisers recognise they need to be more commercial

LONDON: A new global research study from the Financial Times and the Managing Partners’ Forum shows the relationship between clients and their advisers is changing, as clients become more demanding about quality and consistency of service and the price they are willing to pay. The report, published today at www.ft.com/clientadviser2012, highlights the importance for advisory firms in delivering the consistent service and commercial understanding demanded by clients in today’s business environment.

Entitled ‘Effective Client-Adviser Relationships 2012’, the report draws on insight from an online study completed by 569 respondents around the world: 36% are owners, and senior- or mid-level executives at client businesses; 64% of participants are management and fee-earners at advisory firms across four sectors: law, accounting,
property and consulting. The key findings of the report are as follows:

  • What matters most for clients is firm management’s ability to ensure that a consistent client service is being delivered: 80% of clients say they expect a more consistent level of service

  • Clients expect their firms to be well-managed and take notice of management’s contribution when deciding who to instruct. 54% of clients say the impression of whether a firm is well-managed is an ‘essential precondition of selection’ and a further 36% say it is ‘important but not essential’

  • 47% of clients see formal measurement of fee earner performance and client satisfaction as a key priority for firm management. This contrasts with 24% of managing partners (MPs) of advisory firms who believe this to be a priority

  • A commercial perspective is essential for advisory firms. 75% of clients require their professional advisors to know their organisation’s strategy and plans. Furthermore, 67% of clients expect MPs to have knowledge of industry sector issues and trends

Caspar de Bono, managing director B2B at the Financial Times, said: “It is clear from the study that clients want advice in a commercial context, particularly in a more uncertain business environment. The FT offers a practical way to help advisory firms to stay informed of emerging commercial issues and the market context expected by clients.”

Sir Nigel Knowles, MPF Chair and joint CEO of law firm DLA Piper, commented: “Technical competence and the responsiveness of individual advisers are increasingly seen as hygiene factors: critical if absent but no longer as influential in selection. Creating a consistent client service and a culture of commerciality is next-to-impossible unless a firm is well-managed. And the only way to create the impression of being a well-managed firm is to become one, ideally through someone taking ownership and responsibility for delivering a more sophisticated and client centric approach to client-adviser relationships.”

The research report was produced by research consultancy Meridian West. The full report and supporting materials can be downloaded free at www.ft.com/clientadviser2012

- Ends -

For further information please contact:

Financial Times:
Emily Gibbs
Corporate Communications Manager
T: +44 (0)20 7873 3184
E: emily.gibbs@ft.com

Clive Booth
Director, Spada Limited
T: +44 (0)20 7269 1430
E: clivebooth@spada.co.uk

About the Financial Times:

The Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business news organisations, is recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. Providing essential news, comment, data and analysis for the global business community, the FT has a combined paid print and digital circulation of almost 600,000 (Deloitte assured, 2 April 2012 – 1 July 2012) and a combined print and online average daily readership of 2.1 million people worldwide (PwC assured, May 2012). FT.com has more than 4.8 million registered users and over 300,000 paying digital subscribers. The newspaper has a global print circulation of 280,124 (ABC, August 2012).

About Managing Partners’ Forum:

The Managing Partners’ Forum is the pre-eminent professional body representing those entrusted with leadership and management roles at professional firms. MPF provides tailored knowledge, insights and resources to help its members become more effective. Find out more at www.mpfglobal.com

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