David Attenborough’s fantastic recent television programme Blue Planet II has focused on how the world is changing – and the impact is there for all to see.
The same can be said of the world of financial services. Be it due to the continued march of technology or the equally remorseless march of regulation, we are facing continuous change.
Compared to 20 or 30 years ago, everything we knew about our marketplace has either already changed, is changing, or will change. Of itself this is not new; change is as old as time itself and we have always had to adapt to survive and prosper. The crucial difference today is the astonishing speed and impact of change.
Who would have imagined that four years ago, with the stroke of a pen, the government would have virtually destroyed the multi-billion pound annuity market? Or that Standard Life, one of the world’s most successful life insurance companies, would appear to have a strategy that might well see it ceasing to even be in the life insurance business.
Likewise, regulation from the EU and the UK could turn the age old business of asset management into little more than a utility service, where price, not value, becomes the final arbiter.
If that wasn’t enough to scare you, then keep in mind that right now there are some ‘nerds’ sitting in their back bedrooms trying to figure out how to destroy all our businesses using fancy algorithms and robots. We may not like it, but we must recognise that everything we know is changing and there is some awesome technology out there.
In reality, clients still have all the concerns, hopes and aspirations for themselves and their families they have always had. While it would be foolish to rule out completely the possibility of someone inventing a successful robotic solution, all the experience to date is that, when it comes to life’s big decisions, people need people. Indeed when it comes to digital guidance, clients need a human interface.
I believe financial advisers face a changing, but incredibly exciting and prosperous future. I urge you all to embrace change by harnessing technology to advance your business. You will save hours of time and be able to give many more clients a better service, more profitably.
Ken Davy is chairman of SimplyBiz Group