Tom Wooders, head of sales, clearing and wealth solutions at GPP, said: “I don’t think any of the tech is about getting rid of anyone. The whole direction of travel is to free up the time for advisers to concentrate on their clients.
“It will help the firms place their energy in the right channels with their clients, for things like onboarding.”
GPP offers client services and portfolio management, on top of client reporting and execution, settlement and custody services.
“With the tech, the investment manager and the IFA can have access to portals and keep an eye on their underlying clients.
“The advisers are effectively monitoring and administrating only their piece of the business, and the clients have the comfort of thinking they are interacting with the IFA.”
This statement comes days after a Wells Fargo survey found 84% of US investors believe that technology will not take the place of financial advisers.
Left by the wayside
Fin- and wealthtech have been conversation starters in the industry over the last few years, but does it mean it is now a necessity for IFAs and wealth managers to have advanced technology in their set up?
Wooders, who helps create end-to-end solution for a range of professional services clients, believes “anyone who hasn’t got a client portal system will be left by the wayside”.
He highlighted engagement, interaction and the ability of the adviser to monitor client activity as key benefits.
“Clients are more likely to hang around if they know they have that ease and comfort of interaction.
“The market is continuing to evolve. We are seeing DFMs looking at the rise of robo-advice, and the market is looking at the pseudo-advice model.
“Our system allows them to do that – our system gives our clients total flexibility when it comes to designing and running their model portfolios.”
No rise in AI
There are different types of fintech that have come into play recently, and AI has been an area of intrigue.
In March, IA reached out to Brandon Rembe of data aggregation and analytics platform Envestnet Yodlee, a firm developing conversational AI technology for the financial advice market.
Rembe expects AI will become a vital part of the financial adviser sector.
But Wooders told IA that, from his experience in the wealth solution space, AI has not really been part of the discussion.
“Our ability in being a market disruptor is moving away in some cases from technology that was built in the 1980s,” said Wooders. “The industry is still making those baby steps. We are still seeing movement from legacy systems.
“There isn’t anything wrong with that, as such, it is more the fact that, with legacy technology, it is harder to evolve and make changes.
“A lot of conversations with firms are about them using several systems for different areas – but what we say is to harmonise and consolidate.
“It seems obvious in retrospect, but we have seen it loads of times in the wealth space. This happens especially when firms are merging and acquiring – you end up with that mosaic issue.”
This lack of AI discussion echoes a recent survey by Intertrust, which assessed the views of 500 private wealth executives.
It revealed that AI represents both a major challenge and opportunity in the sector, with over a third (36%) of respondents admitting they have struggled to capitalise on the technology.
But wealth firms, even before they start looking at the advances in tech, need to make the implementation of technology a priority.
Wooders added: “No one can survive without a tech backbone to be scalable and competitive.”