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Technology will make advisers a one-stop-shop

Technology will make advisers a one-stop-shop

Advisers who want to retain clients and grow their business will have to use technology better to provide a one-stop-shop, according to a senior business outsourcing executive.

Susir Kumar, executive chairman of Intelenet Global Services, a multi-billion-dollar business process outsourcing firm based in India, said technological advances have changed the way financial services works from a product-centric approach towards a customer-centric approach.

"The world is changing. We have moved from a product-centric approach, through to a service-based approach and now we are in a phase where businesses need to have a customer-centric approach.

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"Once where firms operated independently of each other, technology has enabled greater sharing and allows firms to be connected to provide a better service to the end customer."

For financial services firms, this means better automation enabling data sharing across the professions: legal, accountancy, banking and financial advice.

Mr Kumar commented on one Indian wealth management firm, which provides one client-facing financial adviser, but the technology behind the scenes enables that adviser to work with the client's lawyer, accountant, investment manager and even the bank.

"The adviser will talk with the accountant about my tax affairs and the adviser will talk to my bank about moving money between accounts.

"All these operations are separate but connected. Why should I as a customer want to talk to three or four different people when I could talk to just one person?

"Financial services is going to have to operate in a more integrated environment", he added.

Robo-advice, algorithms, better back office software: all these will serve to improve processes and turnaround times, but Mr Kumar said this would ultimately benefit financial advisers.

Mr Kumar added: "Robots and algorithms can read data and pick up information, process it and make some decisions to automate the process, with greater speed and accuracy.

"And what of the people being replaced by these machines? They can now be freed up and trained up to develop new product lines, find new business, launch in new locations, spend more time growing the business and, most importantly, spend more time with the client."

His comments were applauded by the Sifa, the body which works to bring together financial advisers and law firms in the UK.

David Ingram, managing director for Sifa, said: "We have been speaking for ages about the benefits to clients of multi-disciplinary process and the importance of working together for the end client.

"Sifa is this month launching a link to some software called Catalyst. This will help with data sharing and documentation that both solicitors and advisers need to transfer clients to each other, securely."

He commented that technology being developed now already takes into account incoming rules on data protection, and therefore advances in technology would help this sort of collaboration.

In May 2018, the European Union is bringing in its General Data Protection Regulation directive, in addition to existing data protection rules in the UK.