One of the biggest challenges facing the advisory sector, according to Intelliflo chairman Nick Eatock, is how to help advisers engage with more clients at a time when the advice gap is growing.
Given regulatory and market changes, the consumer needs more advice than ever before. However, the sector is not set up in a way which makes that possible, as it is typically the wealthy who have more access to advice than everyone else. Intelliflo is on a mission to change that.
Mr Eatock said where Intelliflo’s mission statement used to be all about efficiencies, it has slightly shifted as the company wants to provide an “ecosystem” that enables advisers to provide quality advice to more people more of the time.
“The principal challenge is about how you deliver advice, which is highly regulated and therefore has a lot of things you have to do; how to deliver that as efficiently and as cost-effectively as you possibly can in order to meet a client’s needs,” he said.
“How do you do that if the fees you are earning from a client are relatively low because they don’t have much to invest? We see a world where advisers deliver advice to many more clients, albeit segmented based on the types of clients they are and how they want to be serviced.”
This, for Intelliflo, is through a combination of face-to-face and digital meetings, as the company tries to encourage more take-up of its back-office business management software Intelligent Office.
Alongside this is its eAdviser Index, which seeks to illustrate the benefit of using the IO technology, showing advisers how well their businesses are performing. The index pools data from 2,000 companies, which equates to 20,000 users and 1.5bn clicks to analyse how well adviser clients are using the software.
The data looks at business metrics to show how many clients are being serviced, their revenue, recurring revenue and assets under advice. And through its Personal Finance Portal, Intelliflo says this technology will help provide cost-effective advice to more customers by offering automated advice online.
PFP’s automated advice option means that advisers can provide a light-touch, self-service option for clients who want to buy basic investment products online: for example, employees or early savers who want to invest in an Isa or a general investment account.
By using PFP, Intelliflo will be able to digitise the traditional advice process, allowing clients to electronically schedule face-to-face and online meetings, capturing fact-finds and providing electronic signatures for documents.
Mr Eatock sees a world where advisers can use PFP and IO to provide capability to more clients. Research from Intelliflo has shown that almost half (47 per cent) of consumers surveyed want automated advice for simple investment products. The research also revealed consumers want automated advice, because it is regulated advice service with personal recommendation and not a direct-to-consumer offering with no advice.
Mr Eatock said: “We have a fact-finding part to our PFP, which has substantially reduced the cost of getting [client] data for the adviser, which means the adviser does not have to charge for that any more because the client is actually doing the work and they are doing it in a way they enjoy it.