FS must catch-up to digital demands

Some 80% of consumers surveyed online now conduct research before making a significant purchase or investment decision. This is largely due to the impact that price comparison sites have had, as 52% of consumers use them, 60% trust them and 33% say that they have had a positive impact on them personally. Company websites are the next most popular method (49%) to research products while 19% use peer review websites and 29% say that they use a specialist website.

Simon Badley, managing director (UK), IRESS, said: “Digitalisation has meant the needs and demands of consumers has undergone a seismic shift in the last decade. Financial Services companies need to do more to match the consumer experience and engagement expectation and build more trust from the digital consumer. Without innovation from established companies, the industry will be more prone to disruption.

“Regulatory change and in particular the pensions freedoms have highlighted a need for access to financial advice but the solution will not be a ‘one size fits all’ approach. This research has shown that many consumers still want face to face advice when planning for retirement yet will happily make financial decisions online in other scenarios. The future is undoubtedly multi-channel.”

John Penberthy-Smith, customer director for the Money Advice Service, said: “It is great that the Data, Disruption and Digital Consumer report highlights the increase in consumption of online information and the importance of researching financial information thoroughly before making decisions. The Finance industry is crowded with complex information and confusing terminology which consumers must be able to navigate in order to make the best decisions about how to manage their money. With more people turning to the internet to carry out their research, it is important for organisations to make the best use of the latest technology available to ensure that there is plenty of information available in formats which are clear and easy to understand.”