Is data quality stunting your firm’s growth? 

12 September 2022
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Is data quality stunting your firm’s growth? 

12 September 2022

Stephen Wirth
Stephen Wirth
Head of Operations

The way advisers handle and process client data can make or break a business. Get it right and you can improve efficiency, streamline your advice process and increase the overall productivity of your firm. Get it wrong and you run the risk of falling foul of regulators and facing fines for the most serious infringements.

Even if an adviser meets the minimum regulatory requirements of the Australian Privacy Principles[1], inefficient handling of data can still cost your business dearly. For financial advisers, handling large quantities of sensitive personal, financial and health data, the cost could be even higher.  This is why the obligations on financial advisers to ensure this data is water-tight safe are more arduous than for most businesses.

We take a look at how your quality data can impact your advice process and affect the efficiency of your business.

Accurate data gives a complete view of the client

An accurate fact find has always been the foundation of appropriate advice. Now with advances in analytical software and the ability to connect different systems to create a more holistic view of the client’s finances, it’s never been easier to use client data to deliver the most appropriate advice.

Modern software integrations and APIs allow data to be shared between partners and providers more easily than ever before, while initiatives like Open Banking also give access to a far wider set of data than previously available.

Accurate, detailed client data means you can more easily deliver the most suitable advice, resulting in a happy client, satisfied regulator and successful adviser firm.

Reliable data ensures smoother business processes

Operationally, reliable data will make a huge difference to your firm, allowing for greater automation of advice processes. With the right back office software, data can be logged once, then shared with confidence across the advice journey, connecting your multiple systems and tools via straight-through processes that remove friction and reduce the risk of human error in rekeying information.

In the long term, this will significantly improve efficiency, saving staff hours and reducing costs.

Consistent data processes drive efficiency

Establishing a consistent method of data capture and storage means that processes can be implemented once and repeated across the business. Creating standard workflows and procedures will help make sure that each data set is properly identified and logged consistently and accurately. By involving all teams who use your data, you can set up a standard approach to gathering and using data that works for everyone and keeps the data safe.

Under current government regulations as an adviser you must not disclose information relating to a client’s (or a former client's) affairs to a third party unless you have: obtained the client’s permission; or have a legal duty to do so. This is one of the key obligations under the Code of Professional Conduct set out by the Association of Financial Advisers[1].

It is also worth spending time making sure data is captured correctly. It will make a huge difference to the overall efficiency of your firm, allowing for management reports and key client documentation to be created and distributed in minutes, rather than hours, without the need to re-key information. Our latest UK eAdviser Index finds that customers employing all the functionality within intelliflo office through efficient use of data, generate 44% more revenue per adviser and 59% more ongoing revenue and have 28% more clients and 48% more assets under advice than firm’s using just the basic capability.

Secure data reduces regulatory concern

Knowing your client’s data is accurately documented and secure, makes the process of handling access over to the regulator a lot less stressful. Internal compliance checks are also simplified if the data follows a consistent gathering and formatting process, which again will save your firm precious resource.

Quality data delivers better client outcomes

Ultimately increased efficiency and confidence in your firm’s data can support the delivery of your advice and recommendations, by helping to establish suitability and identify any risk outliers, leading to better client outcomes overall. It also simplifies the onboarding and servicing of clients, so you can take on more clients without reducing the quality of your advice, generating more revenue for your firm.

From smoother internal and external processes to the creation of a more efficient business, data is the backbone of any financial services company. But firms still reliant on legacy systems that are no longer fit for purpose, run the risk of losing out to competitors or incurring the wrath of regulators.

How we can help

By combining good quality data with modern technology, you can streamline the advice journey, better engage clients with their financial plan and position your business for growth.

Get in touch for more information on how we can help make your client data work for you.

[1] There are 13 Australian Privacy Principles enforced by law

[2] AFA Code of Conduct