Digital Tools For Financial Advisers: 5 Lessons Firms Can Take From Challenger Banks

Over the past decade, challenger banks like Monzo, Tide and Starling have disrupted the UK's traditional banking and financial services landscape. In the article, we discuss the lessons investment firms can take from challenger banks, the need for advisory process modernisation and the benefits of digital tools for financial advisers.

By delivering innovative, online-only and mobile-first banking solutions, challenger banks (or neo banks) have carved out a growing reputation as fast, convenient and affordable alternatives to services offered by big high street banks. FinTech innovation has shifted consumer expectations of financial services, with many viewing the traditional brick-and-mortar banking approach to banking as clunky and outdated. 

While incumbent players scramble to keep pace with their more agile, tech-savvy challengers, there’s a lesson (or five) for financial advisers to learn. We explore the winning blueprint for streamlined and personalised user experiences and how firms can take inspiration into their advisory process to build and maintain stronger client relationships.  

How digital tools for financial advisers can provide better outcomes for clients

Challenger banks have long understood the assignment. Their customers are time-poor, and visiting a high street branch during business hours to deal with personal or professional finances doesn’t chime with modern life. 

By offering convenient online tools, challenger banks have given their customers something they crave: unprecedented control over their finances. They can seamlessly move money, track spending, manage currencies, and much more, all from a user-friendly smartphone app or web portal. 

And with the right digital tools at your disposal, your firm can offer a similar digital-first experience to your clients. 

As the challenger banks have discovered, you can automate the drudgery, digitise help and service, and free up precious time for your advisers. The result is stronger client relationships, more immediate advice (through hybrid advice solutions), and the delivery of more value-added services, like financial planning and goals-based investing. 

Learn more on our blog about why leveraging adviser technology can deliver better client outcomes

Blog image Leveraging Tech (1)

Key lessons financial advisers can learn from challenger bank innovation

The financial planning sector can take plenty of inspiration from how challenger banks have benefitted from leveraging digital tools. Let's dig into the five key lessons you can learn from and apply to your firm’s financial advice offering. 

1. Adopt a digital-first approach to service delivery

Challenger banks don’t have physical locations. Most are app-only, and as such, they’ve used a digital-first approach to service delivery to transform the client experience.

In the past, banking involved face-to-face meetings, reams of paperwork and a lot of waiting around. Now, bank customers are empowered to open accounts, review finances and move money at their own pace from their own devices.  

Adviser takeaway: Your clients expect digital-first as standard. If you can, leave the paperwork in the past. As Lori Hammond, Head of Financial Planning and Analysis at the challenger bank Atom, points out in this interview with ICAS:

"Once you’ve experienced the speed of doing things digitally, the appetite for going back to that diminishes."

2. Focus on delivering personalised and tailored advice

Many challenger banks have used analytics and machine learning algorithms to analyse client data and provide customised recommendations. This hyper-personalised, data-driven approach has allowed them to respond more swiftly to their individual customer needs and challenges, and differentiate their brand from competitors.

We’re now seeing new banks emerging to serve the needs of specific (sometimes niche) communities. Daylight serves LGBTQ+ customers, Fardows serves Muslim customers, and Nerve serves creators, to name but a few.  

Adviser takeaway: Use data insights to shape your offering, giving your clients the sort of personalised and tailored experience they seek

3. Emphasise convenience and accessibility

One of the key areas where challenger banks have found success in recent years is convincing their customers about the convenience and accessibility of their apps and online platforms. In comparison to traditional banking products, this has been a huge draw. 

Banking trends research from Kearney found that:

39% of consumers opened an account with a challenger bank specifically due to the ease of use, while 28% cited their attractive use of technology as a major factor. 


Adviser takeaway: User-friendliness is a huge selling point for today’s consumers. If your firm can’t deliver ease of use, your clients may look elsewhere to find it.

4. Embrace innovation to overcome client issues

By actively listening to their customers and embracing innovation, challenger banks are finding new ways to enhance experiences and overcome issues. Take the security concerns of online shopping, for example. Monzo and Revolut offer their customers disposable virtual cards, which you can create with just a few taps in their respective apps. 

Virtual cards are a great alternative to using a physical card’s details, offering an extra layer of protection and peace of mind - especially when signing up for free trials or buying something from an unfamiliar website.  

Adviser takeaway: Look at your client concerns as opportunities for user experience improvement and process optimisation. Innovative digital tools for advisers are emerging, exploring the possibilities new technology offers to help solve problems, address changing demands and exceed clients' expectations.

Read are article on embracing hybrid and digital advice into advice propositions

5. Build stronger relationships

Challenger banks aren’t burdened by legacy systems and processes. They have the flexibility to adapt to their customers’ needs, seamlessly combining automated features (like AI chatbots and self-serve process steps) with personalised, real-time human support to deliver exceptional customer service - rather than being bounced around a call centre. 

This improves trust in these products and brands and has led to a thirst and expectation for convenience and streamlined service in other areas of their lives, and other solution providers,

Adviser takeaway: Technology isn’t a straight replacement for human communication and support (just yet), but it can enhance it. Ensure your clients get the answers they need quickly, whether from an adviser or a chatbot. 

The trend towards self-service has grown in industries like retail, and now in banking. So, it’s vital to start looking to implement digital elements in your advisory processes that allow streamlined self-serve steps and less manual intervention - ultimately building a hybrid advice model.

Read our deep-dive article on the growing influence of self-service solutions in financial planning.


There’s a reason so many traditional banks are fast-tracking their digital transformation processes (or simply acquiring their challenger bank rivals). Their customers expect ease of use, tailored services and a digital-first approach to managing their money. 

These expectations are spilling over into the financial advice sector. So, follow the lead of banking’s biggest disruptors and put your clients at the heart of your offering. Embracing new digital tools for financial advisers and giving your clients access to personalised advice how and when they want it while freeing your team to focus on revenue-driving activities.

Introducing EV’s digital tools for financial advisers
Are you ready to transform your firm’s financial advice approach? EVDigital is a market-ready suite of digital tools for financial advisers and wealth managers to streamline the financial planning process and meet client experience needs. 

Strengthen client relationships, expand your customer base and cut the cost of delivering high-quality financial advice with our end-to-end digital solutions.

EV - Technology for the Financial Services Industry


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