Why Zoom will never beat face-to-face advice

MarketLit Esther Althaus Perspective Financial Services Judith Fox Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers Association

15 December 2021
| By Chris Dastoor |
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Digitalisation of advice has improved the process substantially, but it will never eliminate face-to-face advice, according to experts.

Speaking at the MarketLit forum, Esther Althaus, Perspective Financial Services managing director and financial adviser, said the COVID-19 pandemic had created a catalyst for the rise of advice digitalisation.

“What we did was send out videos because I felt like I needed to communicate with as many people as quickly as possible and the only way to do that was using technology to get out there quickly,” Althaus said.

“What we’ve done since is to be able to provide ongoing timely advice, we’ve been using Zoom and similar technology but at the end of the day, there’s going to be a limit on how many times you can do a Zoom call when they want to see you.

“You’ve got to know your technology, you’ve got to be smart about keeping pace with new things whether it’s for building your business, providing the education, providing the advice.

“But at the same time you have to couple that hand-in-hand with some of the old fashioned stuff because looking into a person’s eyes and sitting in the same room with someone ultimately can’t be beaten.”

Judith Fox, Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers Association (SAFAA), said the online space had seen a huge lift because of the pandemic which was good for advisers in general.

“Traditionally advisers would see people in an office, you know George Street or Pitt Street [in Sydney] or Collins Street in Melbourne,” Fox said.

“Everyone moved online which has been a really good thing and there’s been a huge push to being able to have a very good digital offer for clients.

“In many ways, the movement online has been a fantastic thing because that’s keeping pace with what’s happening in the world.

“For advisers – who are in a heavily regulated industry – the mere fact that you’re in an online space as opposed to a face-to-face encounter does not change the regulatory framework in which you have to operate.”

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