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Trust discussion: the difference between insurers and advisers

Trust is so important to financial services because of two core reasons: one is that what we offer tends to be intangible, the other is that security is usually fundamental to the service. This explains the conservatism of most financial service brands. It also explains the marble entrance-ways and the appeals to consistency and continuous service that are constantly made in many more subtle ways: we will continue to be here. That is also why it is such a shame when a brand loses the attributes that have been gradually developed over years. Some brands have lost these - and it seems they were quick to lose, and will be hard to get back. 

But advisers are a bit different. In spite of news stories about poor sales practices, trust in advisers has generally been retained, only finally being broken when an adviser has been, say, taken to court. Otherwise, mistakes are often forgiven by clients. It really takes a lot to break that. 

This is a blessing and a risk. The higher the assumption of trust, the easier it can be to misuse it, so the good adviser must be more careful to ensure that they take care of the trust relationship. I think almost all do. Where they don't it often wasn't a deliberate decision to profit from a breach of trust (although that clearly does happen). It is more likely to be a mismatch between what was considered acceptable, or a blind-spot as to what the right standard is in some situations. That is where an external review can play a part - getting people from outside our culture to come in and see how the team culture works from a customer perspective can be immensely valuable from time to time. 



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