Advisers need to show ‘real appetite’ for tech reinvention

Advisers need to show ‘real appetite’ for tech reinvention
Moneyinfo’s business development director, Sim Sangha

Technology disruption will only happen if advisers show a “real appetite” for reinventing the wheel, according to Moneyinfo’s business development director.

Sim Sangha told FTAdviser providers will only change if advisers put pressure on them to, pointing to how the platform industry currently operates.

“With platforms, the ball is rolling on it - you’ve got Hubwise, Seccl, Fundment, you can see the cost they can drive out,” he explained.

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“Big platforms will only move once they start losing business. It’s often proud adviser users which nudge platforms to integrate with CRMs [customer relationship management systems]. 

“Platforms often say to us - ‘if advice firms aren’t asking for it, they won’t do it’. To achieve disruption in the CRM space, advice businesses need to have a real appetite to reinvent the way things are done.”

Moneyinfo has built a client portal for advisers and wealth management firms. Its app, Sangha said, is used by some IFAs as a front-office CRM system in place of their old provider to help reduce repetitive processes.

Clients include Premier Wealth, Kingswood, Progeny, and The Private Office - among others.

But many advisers still require the “comfort blanket” of their old provider and so use both Moneyinfo and a traditional CRM system, said Sangha.

He said the main challenge his firm faces is convincing advisers to push for change and leave old ways of working behind.

“If advisers are relying on a CRM system, data feeds going in aren’t always daily and can sometimes fail or not exist at all,” said Sangha.

“Advisers are often left to figure it out themselves and clients can see out-of-date information.”

One of Moneyinfo’s features strives to solve this. Meanwhile, other software providers have turned to a partnership model to solve the issues of data flows and re-keying information.

Last month, CashCalc and Fundment signed a deal to connect their platform and cashflow planning tool. Other platforms are yet to follow suit.

Sangha said traditional CRM systems struggle to accommodate any documents and messages sent through a secure portal like Moneyinfo, and that they often can’t cope with the concept of conversation - ie, they can only technically store messages in isolation.

“Advice firms are less willing to sacrifice client experience for a perceived back-office benefit,” Sangha explained.

Much of the problem with traditional systems not speaking to each other, Sangha said, lies in UK software firms attitudes’ to data ownership versus their stateside neighbours.

The reality is, he explained, a software firm does not own client data and should therefore facilitate its movement through a business.

“We would be taking a leaf out of software firms in the US, where software is stickier. That’s because they allow the free flow of data.”