Advice technology solutions work in silos

Financial advisers are bombarded with an excess of choices when it comes to technology while many of the software solutions in the market work in silos and do not talk to each other.

That was the view of technology and advice solutions provider, YTML, whose director, Terri Ho, told a media roundtable yesterday that it was not a case of advisers and planners being reluctant to embrace technology but that they did not know how to combine the different components together.

Citing planning and accounting software solutions as an example, Ho said both sets of software required client information to be entered separately and manually, meaning planners and accountants were performing repetitive tasks.

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“They find that, ‘okay, when I do my financial planning advice and I do my file notes, which system do I put it on? Do I put it on my financial planning software, or do I put it on my accounting software? Because then I’ve got two records that don’t talk’,” Ho said.

William Buck director, wealth advisory, Adrian Frinsdorf voiced similar concerns earlier this year, stating that while there were technology providers out there who had claimed to have designed software to fill this void, none of the software solutions had actually solved the issue.

Other technological elements in an advice practice might include implementing a service like Suitebox to enable electronic signatures from clients for remote access, software to enter commissions earned, or a software to compare insurance quotes.

“We find that there are a lot of practices that just put up with, ‘oh you go and enter the client data here, but then you’ve got to enter the same client data on to this software in order to generate this report and the piece all the reports together manually,” Ho said.

Principal consultant, Damian Murphy said the advice community was sometimes seeking a silver bullet technology solution without understanding what their precise needs were.

“When we are engaging with any business no matter what the size, we stress how important it is to spend the time diagnosing the issue so that consulting part of our business is just critical,” Murphy said.

“But if you try to jump ahead to the technology piece or the solution piece, which a lot of these advisers do, then they’re just creating a problem for the future.”

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