Financial advice technology trends 2019

Our wealth management technology expert Emily Chen talks about the trends that are driving the delivery of financial advice and the opportunities for financial advisers today.

What are some the biggest trends in financial advice technology right now?

How to manage data is one of the fastest-growing areas of focus for those who are providing financial advice. We’re seeing increased demand for near-time monitoring solutions, both in terms of managing risk and helping to highlight opportunities for growth for businesses.

Regulation, like the Royal Commission in Australia, and directives like GDPR in Europe have definitely played a role in highlighting gaps in the way some firms retain and digitise client information and keep abreast of risks, but the reality is data is relevant for businesses of all types and sizes.

We also see automation playing an increasingly key role in supporting advice practices to service more clients and take advantage of a broader range of unadvised opportunities.

Human expertise will still play a vital role in comprehensive advice needs, but automation opens up a wide range of opportunities for savvy advice practices to better service existing clients and tap into a wider range of new clients.

What’s driving those trends?

There are a range of factors driving these changes to advice technology needs. Some of these are external factors, such as the need for greater compliance and monitoring.

But we’re also seeing advisers and practices increasingly looking at how they can segment their propositions for different consumer types and needs, and technology plays an important role in this.

Critical to success is how advisers are able to maintain engagement with more clients at the same or less cost, while at the same time ensuring a high degree of advice quality, client experience, data security and regulatory compliance.

How to manage data is one of the fastest-growing areas of focus for those who are providing financial advice.

What are some of the biggest challenges for advisers right now when it comes to new technology?

The biggest challenge we see is that practices need to first have a sound understanding of the direction of their business, and then assess what technology is needed. The business strategy should always come first.

The practices we see getting the most out of new technology are those that have their change management process nailed down. It might be technology, but people really do represent the most significant success factor.

The other area where we see challenges is when they are managing multiple data sources and systems. These often have inconsistent and incomplete data and represent a major headache for most businesses. Unless you’ve got good data, you can’t automate or predict, and emerging data opportunities through AI can’t be pursued.

How has the financial advice technology sector evolved over the last year?

Increasingly, we’ve seen advisers seeking data and CRM solutions that are end to end, secure and integrated.

As practices think about digital engagement with their end clients (from low touch to high touch), they’re looking at how they can create a unified system in order to optimise data and create a great experience for their client, however that client chooses to engage with their adviser.

Client portals are becoming increasingly vital to financial services businesses by providing personalised and convenient self-service access, including the ability for advisers and clients to communicate securely and efficiently with each other.

As practices think about digital engagement with their end clients, they're looking at how they can create a unified system.

Where do you see the industry going in terms of new technology for advisers?

We see data as a critical part of advisers understanding their practice - not only in understanding risks and gaps, but also in driving new opportunities and business growth.

We certainly see further automation in how advice practices streamline their processes and focus on high-value activities, but this relies on a high degree of data quality and integration.

How does Australia compare to the rest of the world when it comes to financial advice technology?

Australia has a robust and competitive financial advice technology market. Those operating in financial services have a sound understanding of the importance of technology for both efficiency, compliance and growth. These elements exist in many other countries of the world but unique circumstances including Australia’s superannuation system and the well-established need for advice highlight the particular importance of the right technology for financial advisers.