While the core job of an adviser remains face-to-face advice, it can be challenging to focus on financial planning when there are many onerous tasks surrounding it, from compliance and regulation, to effective communication, policy selection, retention and onboarding.
Technology is one of the areas that has developed in recent years to help advisers build stronger businesses, offer more comprehensive compliant advice and help them to focus on the tasks at hand.
The digital age has opened up opportunities across all segments of financial services - platforms, provider portals, back office tech stacks, planning and cashflow tools and AI.
Systems have developed in such a way that rather than sucking up time and money, they are becoming intuitive and faster, enabling ever more varied clients to be triaged more quickly.
“There is a belief that there is little benefit in changing technology, they all broadly do the same things. Or do they?” says Paul Yates of technology provider iPipeline.
“It is easy to stay with what you know, but newer, more agile solutions are fully focussed on the user experience.
“These solutions are constantly evolving – based on user feedback – to ensure advisers get real value from the technology. In turn, these solutions are proving much easier to adopt and fully utilise.”
Heather Hopkins of Next Wealth, which conducted recent research into adviser technology, says that during the current pandemic “Advisers have told us that they have come to rely more heavily on tech - for workflow and client portals in particular as well as the more talked about video conferencing.”
Here are some of the key developments that help save advisers time and money.
Adviser software systems
The next generation of software can provide a fully interconnected system for financial advisers.
This is particularly important for larger adviser firms because maintaining and servicing clients in a fully compliant manner at scale can be particularly challenging.
A hybrid system approach is an important innovation designed to offer a fully integrated proposition that provides advice in the most appropriate way, at the most appropriate price in the way the client wants to interact.
In practice that means building a fully functioning suite of interconnected client-facing and back office tools that work with each other seamlessly but also help direct the client to the right type of advice quickly.
For example, a triaging tool enables advisers to ensure consumers are offered the most appropriate advice model and investment proposition to meet their particular circumstances, which could be face-to-face, automated or anything in between.
“The benefit for a client is their level of flexibility of human and digital elements, such as the ability to choose their level of advice, type of product and fee structure,” explains Steve Andrews at Focus Solutions.
“Advisers can reach a much greater range of clients with varying financial advice demands and make servicing all of them profitable using hybrid adviser software to mix self-service and one-to-one advice to best match the client’s needs.