I think it’s fair to say that adopting new technology is regarded as a necessary evil for some advisers, particularly now when many find themselves swamped with work.
Coupled with the misplaced view that digital mobile technology is the domain of the young – and the majority of younger people don’t have the sort of assets that require independent financial advice – it can mean that embracing new technology is not always at the top of the priority list.
Over the last few years, mobile technology has become increasingly dominant. Today people of all ages expect that the companies they choose to help them manage their finances will be digitally equipped to deliver services that match their experiences in other sectors.
How having the right technology can attract younger customers
Investing in digital technology is not about ‘being down with the kids’, it’s a shrewd business move. Last year the independent research company Hobsons Solutions examined 2000 users of Intelliflo’s Intelligent Office (iO) system and found an average return on investment (ROI) over and above their previous systems of 100%-600%.
Looking at the advisers who use our system, it’s clear that having the right technology can attract younger customers. In 2011, 3% of all new clients of iO users were aged 20-29. In 2015 this was 12%, an increase of 400%. The 30-39 age group also increased from 17% in 2011 to 22% in 2015. In fact, the 20-39 age group accounted for 34% of all new clients.
A big factor in this increase is around the outward facing technology advisers can offer clients. Having an online portal where clients can log in 24/7 to review their finances and correspond with their adviser in a secure way, from all types of desktop and mobile devices. This plays an important role in attracting and keeping clients, particularly younger ones. It also helps with organic growth of businesses.
While the majority of advisers’ day-to-day businesses may be focused around clients aged 50+, having technology that offers benefits for younger members of the family – such as low-cost automated advice – means relationships across family members can be forged and developed as younger members mature and become more affluent in their own right.
The benefits of engaging with digital technology
Mobile technology is also important for harnessing the marketing opportunities of social media. Of course, it’s not just young people who engage with social media – in 2015 social networking was used by almost two thirds of adults. Of those, eight out of ten did so every day or almost every day. For millennials and younger, communicating this way is an essential part of everyday life.
For advisers with an eye on the future, there’s no time to waste in fully engaging with digital technology. Not only can it unlock the potential for increasing business efficiency and deliver tools with multi-generational appeal, it also has the power to attract and keep talented young employees. Having grown up in a digital world, those starting their working lives will look for careers with companies who are fully switched on, with the tools in place that allow them to engage in peer-to-peer communication across a range of platforms.
The way business is carried out is changing by the day and advisers who stand still in terms of digital infrastructure development run a real risk of going backwards. As Microsoft’s Bill Gates once said: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”