As highlighted in our previous article, the dawn of robo-advice has attracted both supporters and sceptics. Whether you are a fan of technology or not, the reality is it’s here to stay, and the financial advice arena is by no means immune to its advances.
Whilst the focus of our business is, and always will be, the personal approach we take to understanding our client’s financial and lifestyle aspirations, we are also committed to embracing technology to help to streamline certain aspects of the process, thus speeding up transactions, improving convenience for clients and freeing up our advisors’ time to do what they do best…advise.
1. Addressing the advice gap
As the FCA continues to address the ubiquitous issue of making financial advice accessible to all, financial services firms are being called upon to make their advice service much more efficient. Through adopting a combination of one-to-one client/adviser time and technology supported processes, typical industry standard case preparation times can be considerably reduced.
By streamlining certain aspects of the process, the whole experience is faster and therefore more cost-effective, opening it up to more people than ever before.
2. Planning for future generations
A survey conducted by MoneyMagpie and TISA revealed that 69% of the so-called ‘Generation App’ millennials feel more confident managing their finances online. It has been predicted that by this year, mobile banking and payments will reach $92billion. Smartphones continue to influence how we conduct our day to day lives – using online banking apps, investment platforms and expense tracking apps are as commonplace as making a phone call or sending a text.
One area that we are excited to see join the online bandwagon is the Government’s Pension Dashboard. The Department for Work and Pensions is aiming to bring all of the 64 million different pension schemes under one online roof, allowing everyone to view their entitlements from both previous employers and their state pension all in one place.
In addition to being highly convenient, by offering individuals more access to their personal wealth via online services, it can help to deliver better engagement and participation, motivating people to save more and take more control of their financial future.
3. Quality AND Quantity
For any financial services firm, the back-office is as important as the client-facing activity. Regulatory requirements relating to data protection, compliance, fact-finding and record-keeping can be time-consuming but necessary all the same. At Finura, to support our back-office team and to coordinate adviser and client interaction, we have invested in technology that integrates CRM, platforms and client portals. We have also developed a new MyWealth Portal for every client, which offers secure 24/7 access to their portfolio and overall wealth via mobile and desktop. Secure messaging allows us to communicate with clients any time of day, and vice versa, whilst a document storage facility means all records are stored online ensuring clients never have to worry about paper storage at the same time as reducing the impact on the environment.
Clients can update their details personally and complete certain forms and tasks online. This means that when it comes to their review, their adviser always has the most up to date and complete picture of their finances allowing the best possible use of both parties’ time with data that is relevant and current.
4. Adapting to a changing workplace
Millennials aren’t just shaping the way we use technology to manage to our finances, they are shaping the way we work every day. A penchant for more flexible working conditions, innovative technology and the desire to climb the corporate ladder is challenging a historically traditional industry to become far more dynamic.
At Finura, the average age of our senior advisers is under 36; we have a very open and informal office environment; and we encourage communication along the full length of the hierarchical chain. We also appreciate that clients can’t always come and see us as often as they’d like, so we take the office to them – Skype, video conferencing and our new online portal ensure clients can get the information they need, when they need it. Businesses that fail to change with the times will, in our opinion, fail in time.
5. Keeping Our Promises on Privacy, Security and Trust
With continual headlines about security hacks, leaked personal information and high-level privacy breaches, it’s no wonder that an industry holding such sensitive information about its clients approaches the implementation of new technology with an air of caution. However, the past couple of years have seen a continued move towards more personal authentication; facial recognition (iPhone X) and iris scans both launched onto the consumer market. Providing clients with the confidence that their personal finances are in safe hands – both ours and online – is going to be one of the toughest challenges of the next few years.
Nathan Mead-Wellings of Finura, said: “In some respects, the thing holding back new technological innovations is clients being willing to engage with them. We have the functionality and the technology to keep them secure. The challenge moving forward will be reassuring clients that having personal information stored online is as safe as having it on a printed piece of paper. As a firm we embrace the efficiencies that technology can provide through using a secure client portal for all data.”
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