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Triumph of technology

Peter Williams

Yet despite the UK experience, in most of the world, and especially Europe, the banks are the dominant provider of financial advice and planning. I have often said that the same should be true of banks in the UK and I sincerely hope that they will now learn from the errors of the past and that going forward UK banks can take their rightful place as a potential supplier of trusted financial advice.

Whatever the past failings, banks do have contact with the wider population and in the post-retail distribution review world we have too few advisers servicing too few clients so we need them. We also need new blood and new ways of delivering cost-effective and good-quality advice to the mass market. In my opinion banks will need to be part of the solution, but I was also hoping that technology could also play a significant part going forward – hence my attendance at Finovate Europe.

Overall I certainly enjoyed conference. It was incredibly well organised and orchestrated. The catering was excellent – the best I have experienced in many years – and I thought that the conference chairman was a first-class anchorman. But the real winners were the presenters and their ideas.

Did I find the ‘Holy Grail’ that would deliver good-quality, low-cost advice to the mass market? In one word no, but I did discover a number of new ideas that, when added to some developments that are already underway in the US and UK, may give a glimmer of hope and I will explain more next month.

Dr Peter Williams is an independent industry consultant and chartered financial planner

Finovate is a unique conference that showcases software companies and their latest offering.

During the two days of the conference there were 64 presentations and they all went remarkably well with no serious communications problems.

Whatever the past failings, banks do have contact with the wider population and in the post-RDR world we have too few advisers servicing too few clients so we need them.