Removing friction with digital strategies

To stay at the top of your game as a business owner these days, or even simply to remain a player in the game–you need to focus on your digital strategy.

Brett Tarlington, adviser and owner of Oakwood Lifestyle Advisers, tells us how taking a digital-first approach, as well as the use of Xplan, help him to remove friction points in his business—allowing more time to focus on the things that are important.

One source of truth

The advice industry is ever-evolving, and the pace of regulation has only increased in recent years. Brett believes that technology is the key to running a compliant and client-focused practice.

“The last few years have presented challenges for many advisers; with increased regulatory pressure, dwindling client engagement, and a need to streamline back office processes.

“With a lack of guidance from the regulator, navigating compliance changes has been the biggest challenge of all. To meet this challenge, we developed solutions within our existing software to record information during our clients’ annual review process.

“Using software as the backbone for over 90 per cent of our compliance and client interactions has reduced errors, and has created one central source of truth for all communications. This makes it quite easy for us as a team to focus on what’s important and manage the relationship with any of our clients.”

“By using Client Portal and advice wizards in Xplan to help reduce friction points in our business, I can now get back half a day per week to work on the business and think about our strategy”

Building trust and transparency

COVID-19 has only accelerated the uptake of digital tools and services, with clients expecting the ability to access financial information 24 hours a day, seven days a week and from their device of choice. Brett says financial advisers need to be ready to respond with a great digital experience.

“We’re using technology to provide our clients with a frictionless experience. From a digital onboarding process, through to a digitised statement of advice process, clients are then provided with a login to the Iress Client Portal and they can see their financial affairs in real-time, in one central spot. They suddenly have their financial existence digitised, and greater transparency over their financial transactions and assets.

“We have seen this result in improved client engagement and interaction when they receive a SOA. The portal has also helped strengthen our cyber security as we can share documents back and forth in a secure environment.”

Saving time with Xplan wizards

Time is money in any business. The ability to streamline processes, freeing up staff to focus on value-added client-focused activities is critical for practices wanting to improve efficiency and profitability.

According to Brett, using Xplan wizards has unlocked efficiency across his business.

“Implementing wizards within Xplan has allowed us to streamline processes in the business. Wizards can not only support your advice process but also help to meet compliance obligations. It’s allowed us to be quite nimble in our advice process, and to provide a higher level of client engagement.”

Wizards support advisers to complete their relevant client documentation by providing a step-by-step guide for creating each advice document within Xplan. All users in an advice business can have access to the wizard, enabling multiple people to use the tool to digitally input data into various sets of advice documentation, any time.

“Different parts of our multi-step wizards can be influenced by all of us; I might be reviewing someone’s superannuation strategy and making sure it’s compliant, then my colleague might go in to make sure we’ve recommended seven fund managers and have the seven product disclosure statements noted in the SOA.”

“The wizards might not be the prettiest thing on earth, but clients don’t care. Content overrides being pretty. If they can see the content that’s meaningful and resourceful to them, they don’t care what it looks like.”

The world is changing, the way people consume information is changing, and we’ve got to move with it.

Getting your team onboard with change

Investing in technology isn’t just about buying software and tools. Brett says it’s also about investing the time in establishing agreed ways of working and training team members to get the most out of tech.

“It can take a little time to get your staff onboard when making digital process changes. It requires re-engineering and re-education. Get your younger staff members involved in the change process - they can be a great asset for technology change. It’s also important to ensure you communicate to everyone that this is about compressing the time to provide financial advice - so essentially buying back more time for them, so they can focus on high value tasks.

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