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Advisers 'need to improve productivity'

 

Advisers need to adapt to technologies, which may very well include embracing the opportunities presented by artificial intelligence, according to Focus Solutions' Chris Pitt.

He said: "In a world where demand for advice is outstripping supply, we need to improve productivity and we need to have better systems that work together and drive up productivity whilst maintaining control."

Speaking to FTAdviser, the fintech provider's head of propositions explained that the advice process is about collecting and processing data: the adviser relays an understanding of the clients, so the correct use of technology in this is really important. 

He explained: "Over the last 20 years or so we have introduced technology into the advice process, [but which has been] effectively piecemeal, so we have ended up with a lot of disparate systems that do not talk to each other particularly well."

Earlier in the year, re-platforming issues affected a number of providers in the industry, with many advisers and their clients unable to use platforms while issues persisted.

Mr Pitt said a lot of the problems "around those disparate systems" can be fixed by "integration, developing and making use of APIs, open interfaces, which make systems talk to each other a lot more easily".

"Using consistent, common definitions of data items and processes, firms need to focus on how they use technology and the experience that they give to the client," he said.

He added: "If we make the components themselves more compatible and able to join up, then we can focus more on consumer engagement and interaction."

According to Mr Pitt, client portals are becoming increasingly important, as is the use of digital signatures.

He said: "The thought of still having to print off pieces of paper – sign them, scan them, send them back via post – those days should be rapidly diminishing.

"There are huge savings to be made in travel time and process efficiency."

He also suggested firms look into using artificial intelligence systems to analyse calls to figure out and improve on their engagement with clients.

He said questions advisers and their businesses should be asking: "Did the customer understand what you were saying?

"Things like that are really going to make a step change in productivity and in compliance."

Watch the full video at the top of the page.

victoria.ticha@ft.com