It’s been a few weeks since our ‘Change the game’ Conferences and after speaking to and receiving feedback from clients, there seems to be a hunger for technology and how it can help financial advisory firms now and in the future. It seems the recurring buzzwords of robo-advice (or robo advisors) and eAdvisors are here to stay and with that in mind I thought it would be an opportune moment to recap on how we see technology supporting advisory firms now and in the future.
The financial advice sector is still experiencing enormous change. Regulation continues to have significant impacts, with an ever increasing need for advisers to serve clients more effectively while driving efficiencies in their businesses and cut costs.
Technology now plays an essential role in enabling advisers to run and grow their businesses profitably.
The most successful financial advisers in the 21st century are/will be those who are tech-savvy – the ‘eAdvisers’ of the future. They are not IT experts, rather they understand what technology can do for their businesses and are prepared to invest time and money to make it work hard for them.
According to a recent Insights report from Fidelity, eAdvisers leverage twice as many technologies as their peers and are outpacing them as a result. They have higher assets under advice, more millionaire clients, more Gen X/Y clients, are more satisfied with their careers, and ultimately, make more money.
Intelliflo has recognised that successful advice businesses large and small, integrate around technology rather than bolting technology ad-hoc onto different aspects e.g. front office or back office functions alone.
Understanding how advisers work and what is required to succeed in this increasingly competitive sector, led us to pioneer a web-based ‘end to end’ technology eco-system 11 years ago which has continuously evolved to cater for the changes to the UK market and its regulatory regime.
Intelligent Office (iO) is not compartmentalised into front, middle and back office functions. It provides a seamless way to service clients and manage all processes from lead generation and marketing, fact finding, meeting regulatory requirements, accessing management information, tracking and reporting fees and income and offering an end-client portal – all elements that are essential for running a professional, profitable financial advice business.
To work effectively, a technology system must have industry connections at its heart, including real-time dialogue and information gathering capabilities with platforms, product providers, quotes portals, wealth management tools and other software vendors. APIs which allow advisers to integrate all aspects of their business technology are becoming increasingly important.
This connectivity allows advisers and their support staff to re-use data to improve business efficiency within a single system and tailor it to their unique operating needs including the tools they favour from the breadth of the market – a ‘best of breed’ approach.
We believe our software, Intelligent Office, (iO) is the ultimate financial technology system. Web-based, it updates automatically as new services and technical developments become available, removing the need to install new software manually.
Testimonials from clients show that operating effective technology systems like iO has helped ‘de-risk’ their businesses and saved them thousands of pounds by reducing the amount of time it takes to service their clients, meet regulatory requirements and run a lean, cost-efficient business model.
'Robo’ or digital-advice has become a buzz phrase recently, with automated, technology-driven solutions offering self-selection options to investors. We believe digital-advice offers eAdvisers opportunities to evolve and develop their businesses, able to profitably service clients with relatively small levels of assets.
The Fidelity eAdviser report referenced earlier predicts that the ability to harness technology and become ‘eAdvisers’, is the single greatest factor in whether advisers succeed or fail and that there are specific digital practices and behaviours that distinguish them, for example increased business automation and provision of online services to their clients.
The next three to five years will be the defining period for them and the re-shaping of the financial services industry.