Expert group unveiled to support digital advice policy

FSC digital advice fintech Ignition Advice

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The Financial Services Council (FSC) has launched the Digital Advice Expert Group to support policy development around digital advice adoption.

The idea of an expert group was first formed early last year, when several digital advice providers joined forces to establish the Australian Digital Advice Association (ADAA).

Since then, the association has now joined the FSC to create the Digital Advice Expert Group.

The group’s members, including Ignition Advice, IntelligenceInk and moneyGPS, operate with the shared goal of improving the affordability and accessibility of advice in Australia. This will be achieved through the FSC’s policy development to drive reform through Parliament.

“Digital advice offers new and exciting ways for consumers to access high-quality, affordable financial advice,” remarked Blake Briggs, FSC chief executive.

“The massive opportunity to deliver financial advice digitally is confronted by common challenges posed by a costly and burdensome regulatory framework.”

The CEO cited research which found that nearly 4 million Australians said they would be open to low-cost digital advice solutions, demonstrating how these solutions can provide assistance to consumers who typically cannot afford advice on a mass scale.

Andrew Baker, Ignition Advice global head of strategy and corporate services, described digital advice technology as “the only way” to address the significant gap between the demand and supply of advice.

“The Digital Advice Expert Group has a pivotal role in contributing to the formation of policy to support digital advice adoption and we look forward to working closely with the FSC to help shape the exciting future for digital advice in Australia,” Baker explained.

Jacqui Henderson, chief strategy officer at IntelligenceInk, said the group’s objective is to consult with the Minister’s office and Treasury to ensure policy supports technology innovation for the wealth industry.

“Our guiding vision is to enable all Australians access to a digital advice service and give them a greater chance of a financially secure future. Our role is to support the industry in the delivery of advice in a more digitised, efficient and scaleable way – solving the age-old problems around complexity and cost,” she commented.

George Haramis, moneyGPS chief executive and co-founder, believes it is now “crystal clear” that the industry has accepted digital advice as a mainstream solution, which is critical to the wellbeing of working Australians.

“As a founding member of the Digital Advice Expert Group, moneyGPS welcomes the opportunity to be working with the FSC, given our common objective is to progress the use of digital advice services across the financial services and superannuation industry, and lead the policy discussion as the technology-lead proposition evolves over time,” Haramis said.

Following the final tranche of the Delivering Better Financial Outcomes reforms in December 2023, discussions on digital advice have centred around how superannuation funds can provide simple advice at scale to its members.

“The benefit of digital advice is that it enables the client to receive helpful advice at a time and place that suits the client. In the superannuation context, I envisage that funds will look at embedding these digital tools into their advice services,” Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones said on 7 December.

Industry experts have also described the steady maturation of a digitised approach to advice as “game-changing”, signifying a pivotal moment in the industry’s evolution.

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