Find right blend of technology and human touch

Technological developments in financial planning such as robo-advice and other digital tools have the potential to minimise clerical work and allow advisers more time to develop relationships with clients but it will not replace the role of a human adviser, according to HUB24.

A new whitepaper by CoreData and HUB24 titled ‘The modern face of advice’, argues that while technological tools were reshaping the wealth management industry, the role of advisers remained critical and the relationship they built with their clients remained more relevant than ever.

The paper, which is based on interviews with advisers, said technology used in advice practices continued to mature and costs, including platform fees and management expense ratios were decreasing to boost bottom line results of firms.

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Godfrey Pembroke Financial Advice Specialists managing partner, Paul Trosti, said: “There are more and more tools becoming available to assist advisers”.

“There are cash flow tools, modelling tools, estate planning tools that weren’t available, and these really enrich the adviser-to-client experience.”

Digital tools such as accounting platform, Xero, cashflow platforms like MoneySoft, estate planning vehicles like ViewLegal, and accounting services like Beany was allowing advice to be more personalised with richer information, he added.

Importantly for advice practices, the next generation of advice clients – the Gen Y demographic – have embraced digital innovation in personal finances even as the high cost of financial advice deterred them from seeking advice.

Advice firms that could implement technology to appeal to this demographic would be investing for the future, the whitepaper said.

Robo-advice could play a role in tapping into the estimated $2 trillion worth of unadvised savings in Australia but awareness was still in its infancy. However, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC’s) ‘RG255: Providing digital financial product advice to retail clients’ suggested robo-advice was here to stay.

However, Equilibrium Wealth’s Simone Du Chesne, said a client’s personal financial wellbeing was better served by a face-to-face conversation.

“It’s very hard to be emotionally connected to an email or a faceless person or a voice over the telephone because you’re limited in your ability to read your clients’ cues, their body language,” she said.

“Are they shrinking back in their seat? Are their eyes rolling? Are they leaning forward in an engaged manner? You don’t have that ability if you’re not face to face with them.”

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