The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the way almost every company operates.
For most of the financial services industry, this has meant more phone and video conferencing, and a huge reduction in face-to-face meetings.
However, even before the current crisis hit, technology companies of all sizes were seeking to streamline advisers’ processes and improve the onboarding experience for all parties.
Fee compression across the industry has made it more important than ever for advisory firms to manage costs and find efficiencies – and fintech providers are keen to provide ways to do this.
The initial factfinding work can be “one of the most time-consuming” parts of the onboarding process, according to Nick Eatock, chief executive of software provider Intelliflo.
His company has developed a “self-service gamified factfind” app to make it easy for clients to input their own information – improving the quality of the data as well as making the process more efficient for the adviser.
Intelliflo’s Intelligent Office and Personal Finance Portal link with this factfinding programme to allow advisers and clients to access and update information at any time, as well as store documents and communications securely using two-factor authentication.
Gamification refers to the adaptation of tasks such as saving into ‘games’ – giving users tasks or awarding points or achievements when they hit targets.
Yaela Shamberg, co-founder and chief product officer at wealth management software provider InvestCloud, says gamification is “key to helping the client build good habits”.
It can set a positive tone, as well as getting the client engaged early on.
“Many advisory firms struggle to onboard clients quickly and effectively, with face-to-face meetings still the de facto industry standard,” says Brian James, chief executive at Digital Clipboard, an onboarding app for advisers. “Web portals to collect and share information with clients in the early stages are becoming more popular especially with the changes brought about by COVID-19.”
SJP recently rolled out its Pre-Meet app across its adviser network to collate background information on new clients so advisers can go into meetings fully informed.
Views on investment risk and tolerance to loss are important elements of a client’s background to ascertain early on.
In recent years robo-advisers have been developing more sophisticated questionnaires to allow this to be done with little human interaction. Such technology is also available to advisers through services such as Evalue or some asset managers, including Royal London.
Verifying a client’s identity can be more difficult without a face-to-face meeting. However, companies such as Credas and Digidentity allow secure remote verification, as well as anti-money laundering and know-your-customer checks.
Completing these processes securely and digitally can also cut out delays caused by waiting for paperwork to be delivered by post.