Here’s a horror story for you: Financial advisers are spending nearly five hours a week on “unnecessary” tasks.

This amounts to around one in every eight working hours and is costing advisers a whopping £220 per week in wasted time!

We know this because we’ve just asked 86 financial advisers from across the UK to reveal their salaries, average weekly working hours and the hours they spend on various tasks.

The average gross annual wage was £81,956.02 for an average 39 hour week, giving an hourly rate of £46.38. Asked to tot up personal time wasted each week on tasks advisers believed were either “unnecessary” or “could be done quicker”, the average response was 4 hours and 45 minutes. We don’t need to tell you that’s 4 hours and 45 minutes too long. In many cases, this is because of the legacy systems of dino-providers, but here are lots of options just a Google search away to help you automate admin. If the figures above aren’t enough to put you off your lunch, then keep reading.

“I feel there is a lot of waste on tasks which the client feels no benefit in but is done to satisfy an assumed regulatory need”


A closer look at the figures

For an adviser on a 40 hour week working the standard 46.4 weeks per year, that amounts to a cost of £10,222.15 per year at £46.38 per hour. Breaking their week down, the respondents said they spent, on average:

  • 2 hours and 55 minutes shredding or disposing of paperwork
  • 2 hours and 41 minutes printing documents
  • 2 hours and 35 minutes filling out paper forms by pen or pencil
  • 2 hours and 23 minutes physically filing paperwork

It’s clear to me that financial advisers are overwhelmed with paper and facing a daily fight against increasingly onerous admin tasks. This ends up leaving them with less and less time to do what they love doing – sitting down with their clients.

We also asked our survey respondents to say how much time they spent manually on tasks that can be automated using technology. They said they spent, on average:

  • 4 hours and 34 minutes on regular review service
  • 4 hours and 16 minutes preparing suitability letters
  • 3 hours and 8 minutes fact-finding
  • 2 hours and 55 minutes re-keying data
typewriter shooting paper into the air

Asked about two main client-facing tasks, they were spending an average of just 5 hours and 25 minutes a week on financial planning and 4 hours 16 minutes on “client engagement or education.”

Too much paperwork?

When asked about how advisers felt about their jobs, one adviser said: “I feel there is a lot of waste on tasks which the client feels no benefit in but is done to satisfy an assumed regulatory need. Ie reports generally too long, too much regulatory paperwork.”

Seen enough? Let us know what you think, and how much time you think you could save by getting smarter with tech solutions. Email us or Tweet us @advicefront.

More detail on the survey

Tasks conducted personally every week by UK financial advisers and the hours they spend:

TaskHoursBase of respondents
Financial planning
5h 25m70
Client engagement / education4h 16m81
Data collection3h 36m83
Re-keying data2h 55m80
Performance reports3h 23m85
Regular review service4h 34m83
Fact-finding3h 08m82
Pipeline / sales tracking2h 44m85
Wrap account opening2h 33m83
Portfolio trading2h 59m84
Client approval and signatures2h 59m85
Secure document sharing2h 47m83
Client referrals3h 36m85
Suitability letters4h 16m82
Opening letters2h 27m85
Printing documents2h 41m85
Filing out paper forms by pen or pencil2h 35m83
Physically filing paperwork2h 23m84
Shredding or disposing of paperwork
2h 52m85

A few important notes on survey methodology

We used Typeform to survey 86 financial advisers online in August and September 2018.

We calculated the average hourly rate for each of the respondents by multiplying their stated weekly hours by the number of weeks they would work in a year, according to statutory holiday allowance for workers on their weekly hours, and dividing that figure by their stated salary.

We calculated the average annual cost to respondents of the time they feel they are wasting (£10,222.15) by multiplying the average hourly rate (£46.38) by the average amount of time they said they were wasting per week (4 hours and 45 minutes) and by the statutory number of weeks that would be worked by someone on a 40-hour week.