How will Vanguard’s upcoming portal support financial advisers?

advice vanguard digital advice quality of advice vanguard super

15 February 2023
| By Laura Dew |
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Vanguard Australia is set to launch its Adviser Portal in the first half of the year and has worked with 10 advisers to determine how the service can best support them.

In conversation with Money Management, Rachel White, head of financial adviser services, said a pilot was expected to be launched in the first half of the year and would be expanded to the whole of the industry within the next 12 months.

This followed the launch of its Vanguard Super option last November when it announced the portal would offer a streamlined solution for advisers.

White said: “There has been a lot of curiosity about the adviser portal and how people will be able to access it and use it seamlessly. We see it as an access point to give them direct access to Vanguard Super and investments, a whole wealth solution for them to use with their clients.

“It will allow advisers to actually serve their clients effectively and efficiently. It will be simple and intuitive, so it’s really for advisers who are serving those clients with a more simplistic investment need.”

The firm had been working with an advisory board of 10-12 advisers who met with Vanguard on a regular basis and provided feedback on the service.

“These advisers have provided us with valuable feedback and mentioned things we hadn’t thought of on how it can be more efficient and more valuable.

“When we’ve built a new screen, we’ve run it past them and ask how it works for them, how does it feel and there’s been such interesting feedback that we wouldn’t have thought of such as adding Excel files rather than PDFs. They have really added a huge amount of value and we love that they are so engaged on this.”

However, White added that all new developments such as data feeds, transactional capabilities and plugging into third-party financial planning software would be added but would take time to perfect

“We’re not going to have all the capabilities an adviser may want straightaway so we have to manage that and the roadmap and set expectations. We want to get there but it won’t be on Day 1. We’re very conscious around making sure we do things in a way that makes sense but we also need to keep costs low in the proposition we offer.

“We’ll start simple and basic and then continue to enhance that with additional capabilities over the 12-18 months.”

Digital advice

In the firm’s submission to the Quality of Advice Review last year, it stated Australia should offer ‘personalised guidance’ as a cheaper alternative to full advice. In Michelle Levy’s final report issued last week, she said she was “convinced” of the need for digital advice to solve the accessibility gap.

White said: “We see digitally-enabled advice as way to better serve a part of the market that is currently priced out from receiving advice. There is an opportunity for the financial advice regime to be more flexible and foster and facilitate the development of innovative and affordable guidance and different types of advice offerings that suit those different clients”.

However, a Vanguard survey of over 1,000 Australian clients had found a “very, very high level of demand” for human advice with 93% of advised clients saying they would like to continue receiving human advice as they appreciated human relationships.

“They see the perceived value of having that emotional relationship as having a significant portfolio value, at 5% annually per year which is quite significant,” White said.

“So human advice plays a really important role but there is absolutely a role for digital and hybrid type offering to particularly serve those clients who have less complex or sophisticated needs."

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