Five advicetech trends to shape 2021

Product executive Emily Chen regularly translates the needs of advice professionals into technology solutions that help deliver best performance. Here, Emily shares the five advicetech trends set to make life easier for advisers in 2021.

Power to the people

COVID-19 has illustrated the need for advice firms to have a sound digital client engagement strategy. And a significant focus of that is putting more tools and technology in the hands of clients. Why? Because the ability of clients to easily access information about their finances provides them with real peace of mind, particularly during times of uncertainty. Our research shows a large number of clients log onto a portal for 80 seconds or less, just before bed, to check their retirement balance. Advicetech is all about making it easy for clients to regularly check in with their finances and feel confident.

Tools to bring advice to life

Whereas once the adviser/client conversation may have involved print-outs of graphs and spreadsheets, I expect to see more tools focused on using pictures and videos to bring recommendations to life in vivid detail. A great example of this is the move towards digital statements of advice which employ cutting-edge visuals and animations. Other examples include tools like Xplan Prime which enable advisers to simply and easily showcase modelling while masking underlying complexities.

Bite-sized learning

Raise your hand if you learned a new skill during lockdown? Even if you didn’t quite finish that beginners’ Spanish course, chances are you explored one of the many online learning platforms which have taken the concept of developing education and made it more affordable and accessible. In 2021, financial literacy will get the same treatment with advisers able to access a vast range of articles, infographics and videos to plug into e-newsletters, social media and other channels. The aim here is to make learning quick, easy and - dare I say it - fun.

Do more with data

Traditionally advisers may have viewed data management as a necessary evil but in 2021 and beyond, we’ll be seeing an expansion in the ways data can be used. Our data analytics software Lumen began by empowering compliance teams and is now providing business intelligence insights to help improve profitability and productivity. Machine learning initiatives are also being deployed to help improve and inform the advice process. Bots can track adviser behaviour and predict opportunities to jump ahead while new technologies like blockchain can simplify administrative tasks and improve trust and efficiency across the value chain.

Bringing it all together

While consumer data rights legislation officially kicked off in July this year, it won’t be until next year we’ll begin to see some of the benefits of Open Banking. I see huge opportunities once data sets are able to be brought together to provide a true picture of a client’s financial position. We’ll also continue to see a convergence of technology through increased and improved integrations. We’ve been on this journey for some time and are increasingly seeing opportunities for advice firms to customise their technology environment by putting Xplan at the centre and plugging in a vast range of integrations. Tools like Workato and Zapier have democratised what was once an enterprise-only capability - connecting applications together to eliminate friction, maintain a single source of truth and automate processes and workflows.