As the vast majority of Canadians take their products-and-services search online, businesses are beginning to follow.

The financial services industry is waking up to this trend as it starts to tap into the immense potential the internet offers.

“I cannot recall the last time I personally used a phone book instead of just looking through the internet to find ‘stuff’,” says Vince Valenti, president and CEO, Independent Planning Group (IPG).

As part of their efforts to bring in new business and to become a lead generator for their advisors, the IPG Insurance website has teamed up with Manulife’s Cover-Me, Follow-Me and Travel Insurance client oriented website.

“With the introduction of IPG Insurance website, clients that use our website to purchase these products, Manulife will pay compensation to IPG Insurance,” says Valenti. “It is our intent when compensation is paid to us, we’ll browse our VO client data to identify if the client is one of our advisors and proceed to pass on the commission to that advisor.”

Valenti says while the internet will not replace advice giving, it can be a useful tool nonetheless to impart knowledge and experience.

Social networking websites such as linkedFA also allow financial professionals to use new technological tools to improve advisors’ ability to grow client relationships.

Based in Miami, linkedFA claims to be a fully compliant social networking site for financial professionals.

However, compliance, wariness about the medium and the lack of awareness as to how to effectively use various social media tools to take advantage of technology continue to remain the biggest barriers to acceptance.