Technology is here to stay as part of the advice process, it seems.
If the advice industry wants to capture younger clients, including those who are likely to be the beneficiaries of generational wealth planning, then the industry will have to continue to adopt technology.
Conor Murphy, chief executive of Smartr365, insists: “Without a doubt, advisers will continue to introduce more and more technology into the services they provide.
“There are so many parts of the advice process ripe for digitisation and automation: fact finding, know-your-customer, document storing, product sourcing, application submissions, compliance and more.”
For Niral Parekh, head of retail wealth and asset management at Capco, technology could go even further.
“We are still debating as an industry what constitutes ‘value’ for clients and what the best wealth management and advice model is for clients,” he points out.
“We believe technology will play a key role in driving the definition of value and making ‘money matters’ engaging and interactive, while understanding and mitigating our in-built behavioural and cognitive biases such as loss aversion and endowment bias.”
Anthony Morrow, chief executive of evestor, reiterates that advisers will use technology in the advice process more in future.
And that technology will be used for “better customer service, more efficient administration lowering costs and time for the adviser and, above all else, client demand”.
When those in the advice industry discuss technology, the idea that it will improve client conversations comes up frequently.
Is this really what happens in practice though?
Rob Gagliardi, digital product and propositions manager at Bravura Solutions, explains technology has changed how advisers’ clients interact with their finances by delivering the means for them to do far more for themselves initially. He suggests advisers are still learning how to use this to their advantage though.
“By using technology to deliver efficiency to the advice and financial planning process, advisers will have more time to service clients,” he insists.
But Mr Gagliardi also acknowledges: “What technology doesn’t tackle directly is the cost of providing advice, which at the moment is prohibitive to some.
“This is where the robo market is interesting, with companies developing propositions that use technological automation and human interaction – hybrid advice models, to varying degrees.”
But one area that advisers will have to work on when it comes to using technology increasingly with clients is trust, as Roger Brosch, chief executive of Foster Denovo, points out.
“Technology-driven solutions, such as robo-advice, have an important role to play, particularly when it comes to servicing those parts of the market who may feel they are unable to access traditional financial advice,” he notes.
“That said, I think providers have some way to go in building trust before these types of solutions are fully embraced.”
So while the emergence of artificial intelligence cannot be ignored, he thinks its use in the industry remains “in its infancy and we’re yet to see its true potential”.