He added: “The danger is that if we think that hybrid advice is simply doing everything online then we're going to be just laying the path ready for disruptive innovators to come and sweep it all up.
“We have to think more deeply than that. We need to really think about a proposition, about how our proposition is responsive to the threats of these disruptors, so we can actually be there and can change before these disruptors come in.”
Closing the advice gap
Kate Holmes, chief innovation officer at Innovating Advice, also discussed ways that hybrid advisers could aid in diminishing the advice gap.
She noted that traditionally, financial services has been firmly focused on bricks and mortar: everything has been in person.
However, the way in which the pandemic accelerated the shift to virtual processes could be a route to solving the industry's shortage of advisers, she explained.
“I've worked with financial planners around the world and see a lot of really great examples of thinking ahead to the intergenerational transfer or thinking about hybrid advice and leveraging technology.
“It's a great opportunity to bring in the next generation of financial planners and leveraging technology to then attract that younger audience, ideally where possible starting with the clients, or with the children of your existing clients. Because unfortunately, and I know a lot of people don't like to hear this, but we see there's a lot of inertia that can happen, and clients might stay with financial planners longer than they really want because it is a hassle to find another one to transfer everything.
“That's why a lot of times we'll see that when the parent dies and the money's transferring, the inertia is done, the child has to kind of make a decision and that's when they might decide to leave.
"So if you can leverage technology and have younger planners, you're going to have lower expenses and by leveraging technology, maybe those planners are all virtual, and that will allow you to potentially serve that clientele at a lower price point.”
Ross said the primary way of attracting the next generation was through financial education and literacy.
He said video clips that got across an educational message were cost effective and interesting.
“We put them out for our clients' children and they are very much engaged. This is just looking at foundations of investment to try and give people more opportunity for self service.