The coronavirus pandemic has presented many challenges for businesses around the world. For financial services providers it has meant an acceleration towards technology, which may have been resisted previously, writes Bruce Ely-Johnston, chief commercial officer of Advice Bridge.
Although some have faced difficulties in knowing how best to digitize with an ageing client base and a changing regulatory environment, according to a survey carried out by Lloyds Bank, 88% of senior decision makers in the sector intended to make investment in technology one of their top priorities.
The same survey also found that 62% expected to increase their spend on technology in 2021.
The way the profession has embraced the changes suggests that technology will transform how financial planning and advice is delivered.
Where do your priorities lie?
While most financial advisers are prioritizing practical technology solutions, chief executives are more interested in the power of newer technology, and are keen to explore AI blockchain, virtual reality, and biometrics.
Some speculate that augmented and virtual reality could help drive investment behavior.
If so, it’s believed that tech enhancement could help increase new customer acquisition, especially younger generations, with a particular focus on millennials.
Be ready to keep up with digital solutions
Forward-thinking planners know it will take more than virtual client meetings to attract new clients and keep existing ones.
If you haven’t yet moved towards digitizing client advice, you risk losing out on capturing a younger clientele.
And it’s not only millennials who expect 24/7 access to their financial data.
Adopting a digital approach can increase client engagement across the board. Clients of all ages now seek online services, and improved engagement tools allow you to serve their needs more efficiently.
Build a stronger business with the right technology
Technology enables us all to access instant information and services. The growing demand of our increasingly tech-savvy population means we all want more than previous generations.
There are numerous opportunities for you to digitize your service offering in all areas of your business. The biggest benefit is digitizing time-consuming tasks, such as administration and analysis.
The financial planning process, information gathering, keying in data, analysis of the client’s structure and holdings versus your recommendations, is one of the most time-consuming and costly areas to address. Automating how information is gathered and analyzed, and how it should be re-structured, can cut the time spent on new clients down by between 75% to 85%. This alone will substantially increase the level of profitability with smaller clients.
Intuitive software can also notify you of your client’s potential future actions, such as receiving redundancy pay or an inheritance, so you can get in touch with relevant, timely advice.
From portals and planning, cashflow and reconciliation tools similar to the ones from https://www.finlync.com/solutions/reconciliation-software/, there’s no shortage of ways you can offer a more personalized and intuitive service to your clients, whatever their life stage or financial aspirations. Technology for advice firms can no longer be compared to the historical IT adoptions most of the market is still using.
While embracing new technology may seem daunting or a scarily big investment, these days modern tech is much easier to implement. And the rewards can certainly pay off. Choose the right technology solutions and you will save time and money.
Build trust with clients with technology enhancements
Client portals that provide a transparent, always-on service allowing 24/7 access, will increase client understanding of their financial situation. With all the information at their fingertips, the simple ability to access their financial information whenever they want helps improve engagement and trust.
It also means clients are more likely to think of you, and how you can help them, on a regular basis. Instead of an annual review or half-yearly financial statement, you and your firm remain a constant bedrock of reliable information.
You’re competing with apps that allow people to invest without advice. These apps give customers immediate access to investments from their ever-present smartphones. Customers can make and implement financial decisions in an instant with zero hassle and low fees.
But it’s not just about “doing investments”, it’s knowing what wrappers to use, how to make the best of the various tax scenarios (navigate to this website to know more), and which providers are most suitable for a particular client.
Advanced tech can deliver on this at a reasonable cost, adding value to both client and adviser.
Compared to other industries, financial services are lagging in the digital transformation.
Meeting expectations of technology-minded clients is increasing the pressure on advisers. Applying new technology will reduce this pressure and make advice more affordable and more widely accessible.
This has the added advantage that it allows advice firms to take on a much wider range of clients profitably, which, over time, might even help reduce the troublesome wealth gap.
Whether you want to spend valuable time with your clients, improve your service, make your business more cost-efficient, or simply introduce more automation there’s no time like the present to grasp new technology with both hands.
This article was written for International Adviser by Bruce Ely-Johnston, chief commercial officer of Advice Bridge.