Enabling advisers to be able to work flexibly and enabling them to interact and advise clients no matter what location the adviser or the client may be has become increasingly important in the digital age.
Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, many firms are now instituting home working and, with many clients also unable to travel, the use of technology to help adviser firms to continue to function has become acutely important.
This technology already exists, particularly co-browsing and client portals, and particularly larger adviser firms and banks have been increasingly installing this functionality to deliver their services.
There are several considerations when selecting the right type of co-browsing or client portal software. Here are some key areas to bear in mind.
Consider a co-browser that is entirely web-based to mitigate the risk of installing software or bugs and requires minimal setup and training.
This also avoids the legal risk of asking clients to download software onto their equipment.
A client portal should allow your clients to upload their own documents, and automatically publish reports and provide an easy place for clients to check the data you hold on them.
Your co-browsing software should work on every device with a browser - PC, Mac, Tablet, Phone. If your webpage can be read by a contemporary browser, your co-browsing should work on it as well.
Look for a client portal that supports all product types including investments, protection and pensions in one place so that you are not having to worry about bolting lots of different pieces of software together.
Co-browsing should enable several invited people to share a web session on any modern web-enabled device.
It should include webchat and drag-and-drop document sharing as standard, but the co-browsing should also allow each of the people invited, wherever they are in the world, see and control the same web content at the same time.
A client portal is a personalised communications channel that should drive client engagement in multiple ways.
A quality client portal should enable advised clients to access their data, share and track goals and objectives and, more importantly, give advisers a new, secure communication channels for sharing sensitive data and to provide education and assistance.
While the importance of co-browsing and client portals are especially acute right now, the benefits to advisory firms is clear from the feedback we have heard.
It makes it possible to expand the client base anywhere in the world and improves communications security by, for example, giving an alternative to email.
Importantly it saves time and increases profitability because it reduces the need for extensive travel and cuts back on the amount of cancelled appointments.
The technology exists and it is simple and inexpensive these days.
For regulated advisers, it is the next step in the development of delivering advice in the most client-friendly manner.
With the new generation needing advice and wealth beginning to transfer from parents to children, these kinds of tools are important to win and retain future clients with changing demands.