Role of adviser changing, Macquarie report shows

The role of the financial adviser is changing due to increased client expectations and technological advances, Macquarie said in its 2018 Accounting and Financial Services Benchmarking Report. 

The second bi-annual Macquarie AFS Benchmarking Report surveyed 396 accounting and financial services firms to identify the key industry trends in a changing market.

David Clatworthy, a division director for Macquarie Wealth Management, said accounting and financial services firms need to evolve more quickly than ever before if they are to deliver the level of service clients expect in a market that is rapidly evolving.

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“Almost all firms surveyed believe the role of the adviser is changing,” Clatworthy said.

“The findings demonstrate that personalising the client experience is key for firms wishing to differentiate themselves in the market, with clients expecting high-quality relationships with their advisers that are tailored to their individual needs.”

Clatworthy said the report showed high-performing firms are investing in systems which give them a comprehensive view of the client, enabling advisers to highlight gaps in services so these can be proactively bridged, and the client relationship strengthened.

Macquarie’s report also showed the industry has begun to form an idea of what the firm of the future will look like, he said.

“Two-thirds of firms surveyed believe that a client-centric approach is the future and will be underpinned by either a key relationship manager or by increasing the proportion of client-facing staff,” Clatworthy said.

“Our findings suggest that the adviser of the future will have strong interpersonal skills supported by technology and data-driven insights, helping to drive truly meaningful client interactions.”

The report also showed that 78 per cent of high-performing firms believe that enhanced efficiencies through better use of technology is one of the most effective strategies to improve profitability in the current market.

“While many firms recognise the increasing value of technology to improve efficiencies and profits, the percentage of firms planning to invest in a new system in the next 12 months remains surprisingly low,” Clatworthy said.

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