Today’s consumers are riding a wave of technological and societal change that is altering their collective behaviour and influencing their expectations of product and service providers. Most people now automatically expect everything to be supplied at speed, and see digital interaction as a given, rather than a novelty.
Many financial advice clients therefore regard real-time interactive digital experiences such as tablet-enabled client meetings as the norm rather than as a value-add. The days when clients were impressed by basic financial modelling software tools are long gone.
At the same time, technological innovation has – somewhat paradoxically – fuelled a consumer yearning for simplicity, particularly in financial services. Advisers themselves also crave simplicity in their working lives amid a regulatory landscape that has become bewilderingly complex in the post-Future of Financial Advice [FOFA] world and its ever more demanding compliance burdens.
Technology solutions that integrate administration systems with financial planning software offer both simplicity and clear efficiency benefits. For advisers, they provide streamlined back-end processes that free them up to focus on providing high-quality advice. For clients, it can mean quick reporting and having all their financial data in one place, with easy access and complete transparency.
But the benefits go further. The faster, more accurate reporting that integrated technology enables makes it easier for advisers to fulfil their compliance obligations and gives them complete control over the quality of advice execution – meaning clients receive better service and support. Administrative staff become more efficient, with less paperwork. System integration lets them execute investment switches via straight-through processing, with no reliance on external platforms to initiate and confirm transactions.
All this means that clients’ demands for real-time digital experiences are satisfied and more time for advisers to spend on business development and client servicing.
Incorporating new technology has naturally been a focus for many forward-thinking advisers in recent years. While clever-looking features may appeal to some clients in the short term, it’s the streamlined back- and front-end capability of a truly integrated technology solution that sustainably supports an adviser’s business and frees them up to provide the very best advice possible.
Technology will continue to evolve, as will every adviser’s client base. As people move through the different phases of their lives their financial needs and behaviour will change – as will their expectations of how they receive financial advice.
Fully integrated single-provider platform and dealer software solutions that are customisable and built to support the evolving needs of advisory businesses and their clients are arguably best positioned to offer greater long-term benefits and take advantage of future technological innovations – whatever they may be.
Alan Dunne is chief investment officer at Fiducian