How has the financial advisory sector changed in the last ten years?

# 10 Years Challenge

  • Ten years later, financial advice is much more regulated and supervised in Spain and there are more qualified advisors.
  • Investment in funds has grown by 65% and there are new saving and investment strategies in the low interest scenario.
  • In recent years the need to develop a series of actions to promote education and financial culture in different segments of the population has been highlighted and the client is better informed.
  • In these last ten years, new technologies have burst in force, causing the appearance of new players in the industry, such as robo advisors or automated managers.

By Funds Society, Madrid
# 10YearsChallenge became the first viral challenge of 2019, where millions of social network users shared images comparing their current image with that of ten years ago, to show physical, labor, personal changes … EFPA Spain has made its particular # 10YearsChallenge to analyze the most significant changes that the financial advisory sector has experienced in Spain over the last decade, analyzing changes in the relationship between entities and professionals with their clients, as well as how to save and manage your investments.

  • One more sector and better regulated. Ten years later, financial advice is much more regulated and supervised in Spain, which has ceased to be an exception in Europe. Now, after the entry into force of the EU MiFID II regulations, financial advisors must have a set of professional qualification requirements and minimum experience, before sitting down with a client, to offer information on financial products or a more advisory service. full.

  • More certified advisors. EFPA Spain has almost tripled the number of certified consultants in ten years, going from 11,000 to the more than 30,000 certified members with which it closed 2018, which reflects the exponential increase in the number of professionals with high knowledge, skills and aptitudes, meet certain requirements of continuous training and respect a strict ethical code.

  • Importance of continuing education. Another of the great changes that the counseling sector has experienced in ten years is the awareness in the profession about the importance of continuing education, as a fundamental element in a sector where new products and entities appear continuously and dependent on markets exposed to a great volatility.   
  • Bet on the investment in funds. At the end of March 2019, investment in funds in Spain accumulated 161,325 million euros, according to Inverco data, and the number of participants stood at 5.9 million. Ten years later, the equity invested through these vehicles has grown by 65%, reaching 266,318 million, and the number of participants exceeds 11.2 million. It is interesting the comparison with respect to deposits, which closed 2018 in 806,936 million, compared to 788,905 million a decade earlier.

In these years, funds have become an optimal alternative to channel the savings of Spaniards in search of greater profitability, thanks to their diversification, the different asset categories and some advantages related to professional management, liquidity or taxation of the product.

  • New savings and investment strategies in the low interest scenario. Interest rates in the euro zone remain at the historical low of 0%, while ten years ago, the rates set by the ECB stood at 4.25%. Undoubtedly, a huge difference that has changed the way of drawing an investment strategy. In this context of zero rates, which continues over time, savers are forced to take more risks to obtain positive returns, always taking into account the inflation variable. In short, it becomes more visible the need to have the support of a qualified financial advisor.

  • Awareness of the promotion of financial education. In recent years the need to develop a series of actions to promote education and financial culture in different segments of the population of our country has become clear. To date, there are numerous actions developed in this area, from the field of Public Administration and also by private entities, and there has been a widespread awareness of the importance of improving this aspect.
  • A more demanding and better informed client. After the financial crisis that broke out in 2008 and some punctual episodes of malpractice, but which caused a lot of reputational damage to the sector, the client has become more demanding and more distrustful, but also shows a greater interest in knowing how it works. the products it contracts and the investment alternatives it has at each moment of the market.
  •  New players in the industry. In the last ten years, new technologies have burst in force, causing the emergence of new players in the industry, such as robo advisors or automated managers, which allow to expand and improve some primary saving decisions, improve access to investment services and they can reduce the current advisory gap for certain client segments, but they can never replace the work of the personal financial advisor, since their simple system of financial algorithms can generate problems of inadequate financial distribution and doubts about regulation.