They say that “Perception is reality‘”. And there is a perception that financial services sector have two different strategies: one tailored for the elite, and another one for the previously disadvantaged majority that cannot just be wished away. Given the unfortunate persistence of historical inequalities almost three decades after the dawn of the country’s democracy, it is high time the financial services sector took the bull by the horns and tackled the matter frontally . This is the challenge Momentum Metropolitan is presenting to the players in the financial services sector.

Changing the perception

Says Momentum Metropolitan: “There is the need for wider access to financial services and their benefits; this is a business and moral imperative. It is important to change the prevailing perception that financial advice is only accessible and meaningful to wealthy or older, established clients to one that’s inclusive to a more diverse, racially inclusive and a younger spectrum of up-and-coming professionals.”

Momentum Metropitan reminds its peers that, in fact, supporting the equitable access to financial services is outlined in the various elements of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) goals. Consequently, there is an urgent need for a diverse, competent and client-centric adviser force representative of its market, he adds.

COVID-19 pandemic a great opportunity

The financial services provider views COVID-19 pandemic as a great opportunity to redress the lopsidedness. The pandemic has accelerated much-needed and overdue transformation in the financial services industry. “To remain relevant, the industry will need to transform from a product-led to a client-centric, advice-led approach, from an exclusive to inclusive culture and finally, from simply achieving growth to striving for inclusive growth that benefits and enables broader participation in society.”

In general, Momentum Metropolitan believes that focus should be on advice and guidance, based on a deep understanding of clients’ needs, whether financial and life goals or aspirations. Momentum calls on the financial services sector to start viewing financial advice for what it intrinsically is. “Financial advice is a trust relationship that requires a personal and authentic connection between adviser and client.”  

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