Andrew Storey, Group Innovation Director, joins me for a quick chat about what we expect to see from the EV Digital Advice channel over the next 12 months.
What are the biggest opportunities in 2023?
Joining the dots between traditional and automating some digital advice processes to create a hybrid solution for clients. Automation has the potential to support advisers to be more efficient, resulting in improved margins whilst creating a better experience for their clients.
And what are the biggest risks?
Implementing an automated process requires enthusiasm and buy-in from key internal stakeholders to make the implementation successful. This can be a challenge if existing processes are deeply engrained into a business. However, on the positive side, we have seen many financial institutions explore and even implement some automation elements within their advice process. We expect this to continue over the next few years.
What do you expect to have the greatest impact on your channel this year?
Challenging commercial environments will mean more pressure on fees and efficiency, which technology can help support. Therefore, increasing efficiency will be key to hybrid advice's impact.
Are you feeling positive/neutral/negative about the prospects for 2023?
Positive – definitely. There is only one direction the industry needs to go: better utilise technology in the future. After that, there is no going back, and you'll soon wonder how you managed without it.
Why is that?
We've seen a huge increase in enquiries about hybrid and digital advice in the last year compared to previous years, and this continues with more discussions with a wide range of advice and product providers. The desire for more efficient advice processes and changing client demands have driven this interest. Combine that with the cost of living, where every penny counts, and the need for help and support on their finances for customers has never been greater than now.
How are customers currently solving the problem that our product or service addresses?
Most companies are still combining existing systems to improve some of the processes one at a time, such as a client fact find, but this needs to take into account the user experience. This causes disconnect when you combine it into a smooth journey that crosses the methods for people to access advice, such as online and face-to-face.
Are there any market trends our audiences need to be aware of?
Increased use of technology across the market is happening whether our audience embraces it. Firms that embrace technology and efficiency are the ones that are likely to continue to succeed. Offering a better service at a lower cost is a continual battle for all industries, and financial advice is no different. The human relationship is key, but how the right technology supports it will make the crucial difference.
What would you do to make life perfect if you had a magic wand?
A single button that creates automated holistic advice solutions based on individuals' objectives. The solution would enable technology to carry out administrative tasks, such as the fact find, questionnaires and even identify objectives, enabling the adviser to focus on the value-add activities such as tweaking plans or explaining results. This would help provide a more efficient market proposition, improving margins, and enabling advisers to focus on valued activities, e.g. refining financial plans and explaining results.
Also, would you like to say or think interests our readers?
Financial advice is more important than ever. Advisers have a critical role in supporting individuals, but more must be needed to support those needing help. The use of technology to automate the advice process will improve margins and increase the number of clients that can be supported.
This brings me to the end of my Q&A with Andrew, and I would like to thank him for his time today, it was an insightful conversation.
A quick recap
The EV Digital Advice channel is expected to see significant growth in the next 12 months as more financial institutions explore and implement automation elements within their advice process. Hybrid solutions that combine traditional and digital advice processes have the potential to improve efficiency and margins while also creating a better experience for clients. However, implementing automation can be challenging if existing processes are deeply engrained into a business. The biggest impact on the industry will be the increasing pressure on fees and efficiency, which technology can help support.
The overall outlook for the target market is positive, as the desire for more efficient advice processes and changing client demands have driven interest in digital and hybrid solutions. In addition, using technology to automate the advice process will improve margins and increase the number of clients that can be supported. Therefore, financial institutions must embrace technology and efficiency to succeed in the market.
As our readers, what's next for you?
You can book a discovery call today to learn how EV can partner with your firm to enhance the advice journey and give your clients the quality and depth of service, support and information they expect today and in the future.