IFA support providers Paradigm Consulting and Adviser Portals carried out a survey of 120 firms and found 14% do not have a website.
Some 30% said it was ‘very important’ to have an online presence, followed by ‘important’ (26%) and ‘critical’ (18%) to their business.
Yet in the age of technology, 5% said that it was not important to have a website and the same number said their firm does not need one.
Mark Barry, managing director of Adviser Portals, said: “Websites play such an important role in our lives, and they are vital to IFAs, so to see so many not valuing an online presence is concerning.
“Having a digital presence is particularly important because many people now carry out online research, before even thinking about face-to-face communication.
“People want to know things before they directly engage, so websites and social media play hugely important roles in helping support advisers with client relationships, and perhaps even bringing new clients to the firm.
“The research we carried out with Paradigm Consulting shows that many IFAs do place value in a positive web presence, but that there’s still some way to go before all firms are making the most of the digital opportunities available.”
The survey also asked IFA firms if they saw the importance of social media.
While there is undoutedly progress to be made with getting IFAs to set up websites; there is also a lot of work to do to get them on social media, as 17% said they do not have any accounts.
Some 26% said it was slightly important and the same number said it was not important to have social media.
Only 4% said it was a critical part of their operation.
Just over one-in-10 said that it was very important (13%) and important (14%) to connect to clients via the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
Daunting yet influential
David Ryder, head of proposition at Paradigm Consulting, said: “Social media has an important part to play too, particularly given that current and future generations of potential clients are practically born with a smart phone and social channels in their hand.
“Using social media channels can be daunting, but they are a great place to showcase an IFA’s web content, while first making sure it’s compliant and professional.
“But a website and social channels will only be of maximum benefit if they’re compliant, so constantly updated with the latest FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) regulations and policies. Only then can a digital presence start to provide positive promotion of an IFA.”