‘Financial planners will have online avatars by 2030’: FPA

financial planning technology artificial intelligence

25 November 2022
| By Rhea Nath |
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The chief executive of the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) has said she sees great opportunities in the use of technology like artificial intelligence and online avatars in financial services.

Speaking at the FPA Professional Congress in Sydney, Sarah Abood, told members that financial planners could use online avatars for client meetings by 2030.

The discussion arose from a panel on what financial advice and the financial planning industry would look like in 2030. Abood was joined by CoreData global chief executive, Andrew Inwood, Lifebid founder Brett Wright, former Labor MP Bernie Ripoll, and former FPA chair Marisa Broome.

“I'm an optimist when it comes to technology, and I think enabling it to do more has two great advantages. One is around removing friction from the process,” Abood said. 

She highlighted “awful” experiences of having to map financial history, go through necessary documentation, and resolve queries and concerns over the phone for hours with government agencies like Centrelink. 

Abood added: “Compliance by design is another area where I think technology has a huge amount of opportunity. We are spending a lot of time on regulation largely because we have to think about it. But technology has got this massive value to add to us by making those processes compliant by design so we don't have to think about it, we just follow the process and know that we comply.”

To facilitate further interaction with clients, she foresaw the use of avatars and artificial intelligence that could replace the need for online video meetings.

“I am a believer that humans want to deal with humans wherever they can, but there will be times when they can't afford to or there's a lead time to get to the human engagement. So if we're talking 2030 here, I do believe that many financial planners will have avatars online and they will be able to do a lot of straightforward engagement with their clients,” she said.

Meanwhile, artificial intelligence could be used to match consumers to planners to assure a long-term successful relationship.  

“We all know there can be a client where the fit’s not quite right, it's always an effort and there are issues in reviews and trying to get the idea of strategy across. Now there are engines out there that can do that at scale and work [it] out,” she said. 

Her comments followed Michelle Levy’s position on digital tools like robo-advice ahead of the Quality of Advice Review (QAR) report to be provided to the Government by 16 December. 

“There are 16,000 [financial advisers and planners in Australia] and we hope with the benefit of these recommendations that there will be more. But there will never be enough to provide the advice that people need on a day-to-day basis,” Levy told the FPA Professional Congress.

“I don't think that all advice requires a professional. A really important part of the proposal is that the obligation, when it's not with a professional adviser, will sit with the licensee [organisation]. And I suspect digital advice and robo-advice and technology will be of enormous assistance here.”

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Submitted by Duke Nukem on Fri, 2022-11-25 08:55

Dear FPA. why do you still not understand what we do?

Submitted by Ben Dover on Fri, 2022-11-25 09:16

Dear FPA, nothing will fix mass BS Over regulation than cutting it in half at least.
No technology, no AI, no Avatar, no, no & no.
If Robo Advice worked it would have taken over the world, yet it has largely failed globally regardless of $$$$ billions spent developing it.
And that’s with other countries and far less stupid over regulation, it has much less chance in Australia.
I bet you are wrong, stop pretending technology will solve moronic legislation.

Submitted by Anon on Fri, 2022-11-25 10:00

I'll be flying to work in my flying car too hey.. Given the compliance regime and anti adviser sentiment at ASIC I don't think anything will change much. The Electronic Communication Act was signed off in 1999 but only adapted by Investments and Super funds during Covid some 21 years later ..she's dreaming. Advisers tend be innovators but the compliance framework is limiting innovation and for large firms a change in tech involves big dollars.

Mid 2021 I moved from COIN software to a new "leading edge" popular software program and the only innovation in 20 years in financial planning software is the colours have change. ASIC should be ashamed of themselves.

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