The Internet will significantly change the way in which IFAs (independent financial advisers) and product providers operate, according to a poll by sales automation software provider Focus Solutions.
According to the poll, which surveyed 66 Scottish IFAs and product providers, nearly all (94%) feel the Web will transform the way in which they work.
As many as 11 per cent of IFAs are regularly processing new business applications electronically and more than a third think that is quicker than using paper based methods. A quarter feel that it will reduce costs.
The survey also shows that 42% of IFAs use e-mail to communicate with customers, a quarter use the Internet to check up on the competition and nearly as many use the Web to research new products.
Claire Forrest, director of marketing and planning, Focus Solutions says the momentum for doing business electronically appears to be building in the IFA community.
"It’s good news for product providers, who are currently investing in systems intended to drive more new business through electronic channels. Many IFAs have already got the message that doing business electronically is cheaper and quicker, reducing their paper mountains in the process," adds Forrest.
Over a third of product providers surveyed already believe that about 40% of new business will be handled entirely electronically by September 2004. The majority (59%) also say the Internet will cut costs and 12% think it will reduce administration errors.