Iress’ Matthew Mensforth is passionate about building software that helps make advisers’ lives easier. As we head into 2023, he shares his predictions for tech trends shaping the way financial advisers operate and service their clients.

Connectivity to drive efficiency and CX

2022 rode high on the wave of the digital transformation accelerated by the pandemic, with more people than ever leveraging technology to stay connected personally and professionally. In 2023, we’ll see a rise in demand for connectivity at different levels - whether it’s about connecting advisers with third-party applications to automate processes and workflows, or seamlessly connecting their customers with every market they’re looking to acquire assets from. Advisers are demanding greater integration to support efficiencies and growth, and industry participants such as those in Iress’ Connectivity Network, are coming together to connect in ways that can streamline the advice process, so advisers can work faster and smarter, and get more clients in the door. Iress’ tech solutions can connect industry participants together so advisers can manage regulatory obligations like DDO and Advice Fee Consent, as well as connect their customers to a range of platforms and product providers.

Using data for good

Data security became a topic of global national importance in 2022, with several high profile cases showing us that the protection of customer data needs to be foremost in any advice business’ continuity plan. 2023 will see a continuing focus on transitioning to more secure systems and processes (like using client portals versus email to share documents), in addition to using data for competitive advantage. The latest advice software can use data analytics to alert compliance teams to issues and risks before they happen and provide vital business intelligence insights to drive productivity and profitability that might not have been possible before.

Interactive tools to stand out

While the 2022 headlines tended to focus on the problem of an increasing advice gap, an equally pressing issue on advisers’ minds was how to keep the clients they already have. Retention is an ongoing challenge for advice businesses of any size, and in 2023 I expect to see more use-cases of technology that can better engage clients in the advice process, while complementing the human elements that advisers bring to their client relationships. At Iress, we’ve increasingly noticed advice firms seeking greater levels of customer focus in their technology solutions as they look to deliver a differentiated digital client experience. Advice tools like Xplan’s Cashflow Visualiser can add new levels of interaction to customer relationships, using infographics and visuals that can translate complex modelling scenarios into simple and easy-to-understand concepts.

e-learning for quality financial literacy

2022 saw a crackdown from regulators on so-called ‘fin-fluencers’ sharing finance-related content on social media. This presents advisers with increasing opportunities to embrace digital content to genuinely educate and inform clients and help people make better financial decisions. We’re living in an era of information overload and volatile economic conditions are affecting people across the globe. It’s our job to ensure people can access the right guidance to navigate their financial futures, irrespective of their life events and circumstances. At Iress, we collaborate with experts in estate planning law, cyber security, ethical investing, behavioural finance and more, to bring advisers’ clients quality financial e-learning resources in the form of articles, infographics, animations and videos. The key words here are: accessible, accurate and engaging.

Resources to engage future generations

The spotlight is shining brighter on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, with more investors than ever asking their advisers for responsible and ESG investment options. ESG is now a vital part of investors’ portfolios and advisers need to have these options available and be able to discuss them with their current clients, in addition to service the needs of the younger generation, who are particularly focused on ESG. In 2023, I expect to see more resources that can support advisers to better understand ESG, as well as tools that can give their customers access to ESG options. At Iress, we’re looking at how we can integrate global ESG data into our software suite so advisers can have greater transparency around the impact of today’s investment decisions on the world of tomorrow.