The importance of trust when managing other people's data

By Ryan Smith on June 8, 2018

Your financial advice clients want to know that their personal data is protected.

When building a relationship, financial advisers must understand that more than just money is exchanged with clients. Trust is an inherent part of the interaction too.

The high-profile nature of unravelling data strategies carries the potential to seriously damage the financial performance of a business.  Not just in the value of company shares, but also in the way people distrust the company and it’s data collection and protection.

As news of social media giants and some contradictory statements towards their data collection started to emerge, it became clear that what everyone had been taking for granted may no longer be taken at face value quite so easily.

GDPR in the mix

Of course, if this wasn’t enough to contend with, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) also stole many news headlines as they were introduced across the EU in May 2018.

With many companies scrambling to save their data sets, and seemingly even more not fully aware of the rules and how their compliance strategy worked, it left many up for ridicule on social media.

How does all this affect the financial advice market? Well, if someone is looking for a financial advisor, then it is best to be upfront with any reasons why you need certain aspects of their data. For instance, if a client is in debt, it would help you to know they got there so that you can better tailor your services. But too much intrusion into what could be a very personal situation could easily backfire.

However, we are all well aware of the benefits of using data to help customers and clients and to improve services. It is entirely possible to shape your financial advice based on available data – someone with a large organisation will inevitably pay more than someone who just needs a few things answering.

Generally speaking, the idea of getting data from your customers should be a two-way street. The data may hold enormous value for you, but what does it do for them?

If you can sell the idea that the capture of a particular set of data will benefit them in different ways, then you are much more likely to be able to gain consent, and not alienate many prospective clients before you have even got them to finish filling out a form, as they might decide to stop halfway through.

It is unlikely that there will be a mandate from the government to be extra-cautious about data harvesting, in the sense that it seems accepted as something that most people do. However, there is a valuable PR opportunity in being known as a company that cares about its customers and makes it clear that they are more important than their data.

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