In this blog, we’ll take a deeper look into how the financial advice industry is turning to technology to create a digital and hybrid advice journey that aids their client's financial wellbeing.
Financial advice firms across the UK are using various tools and technologies to deliver high-quality and timely advice to clients from all walks of life. Risk assessment tools, client portals and cash flow planning solutions are just some tools that help make operations more efficient, improve KPIs and customer satisfaction, prevent compliance issues and fines, and bolster the company’s bottom line.
Across the UK, the most successful advisory firms are adopting new and innovative digital solutions to streamline processes and provide their clients with the perfect blend of digital and traditional financial advice. In fact, according to Professional Paraplanner;
over 70% of advisers increased their technology spending in 2022 to increase business efficiency, and 35% had specifically introduced new technologies to meet client demand.
Technologies like risk assessment software, AI chatbots and investment portfolio management software have enabled firms to offer mass-market personalisation. Many clients with goals that can be met with automated or digital financial advice can now receive a service that works for these requirements, whereas, before digital advice, these specific needs wouldn’t have been able to have been met with traditional ones alone. The use of technology to provide a digital and hybrid journey allows for a personalised end-to-end advice path that allows the clients to have a mixture of self-serve and hybrid according to what option works best for them at certain times.
The increased availability of automated financial advice has allowed firms to make their services more widely accessible to clients who cannot afford to pay for fully traditional financial advice from human advisers.
And in a climate where financial pressure is the second highest cause of stress outside of work, being able to help more people achieve better financial wellbeing - and thus remain engaged with their finances moving forward - is more achievable than ever before, thanks to automated financial advice innovations.
So, let’s dive into how exactly these innovative tools can improve client financial wellbeing.
The combination of automated and face-to-face advice transforms the experience consumers can expect from financial advisers across the UK. We’ve outlined 8 ways you can use technology within your firm to improve client financial wellbeing and meet new market and consumer demands.
Using the latest financial advice technology, your firm can provide high-quality, affordable advice to a wide range of clients, many of whom would have otherwise been left out due to their modest assets and inability to pay for traditional financial advice.
According to the Financial Lives 2020 survey conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA):
38 million adults in the UK are unable to plan effectively for their long-term financial goals due to a complete lack of any formal support with their financial planning.
Holding cash for the long term can be detrimental for individuals, with their savings being eroded by inflation over time. High-quality financial advice can help savers allocate their assets into safe and reliable investments that’ll help grow their wealth over time. For decades, however, such advice could only be accessed by high-net-worth individuals with substantial assets.
The rise of financial advice technology has allowed advice firms to provide mass-market, scalable solutions for those with modest assets. Self-serve, fully automated advice can now provide support around financial product areas such as investment ISAs. This has helped level the playing field by making financial advice more affordable and accessible for the average person.
New technologies like data aggregation tools and portfolio rebalancing software help improve client financial wellbeing by increasing the time advisers have to understand the needs of their clients and provide personalised service.
Digitisation has ensured that many of the tedious, manual tasks – such as entering data and crunching numbers – previously performed by financial advisers can now be fully automated. This allows advisers to spend more time analysing their clients' financial situations and creating tailored plans to help meet their goals.
This naturally leads to better and stronger client relationships, as advisers have more time to get to know their clients and provide bespoke solutions for their financial needs. Technology also allows advice firms to provide round-the-clock digital support to clients who have relatively simpler needs while offering detailed, face-to-face conversations for financial needs that are more complex.
Leveraging financial advice technology can help advisers understand the risk profile of a client’s complete portfolio, including corporate pension schemes and other off-platform investments that are not risk-rated by the financial advice industry.
Technology such as cash flow software can simplify and streamline the process of cash flow planning by taking into account all the assets, income sources, debts, and expenditures of a particular client.
Cash flow software can be used to make financial plans more effective by analysing all the variables to predict if there might be any shortfalls in cash flow in the foreseeable future. This helps further mitigate the risks faced by the client.
EV technology solutions used within the hybrid advice journey are built on stochastic modelling capabilities to enable financial advisers to deliver more accurate and realistic forecasts of financial outcomes for individual clients.
Hybrid advice technology allows your clients to access financial advice in a way that is convenient for them. Simple financial decisions, such as investing in an ISA, don’t typically require the expertise of a qualified financial adviser – so allowing technology to guide clients through these simple processes will make your operations more efficient and flexible.
It’ll also increase clients' financial wellbeing by providing clients with immediate digital advice whenever needed, with the option to progress to a face-to-face consultation with a financial adviser if required.
Hybrid advice technology ensures that when clients come in for a face-to-face consultation with their financial adviser, they already have a relatively clear understanding of their financial situation and goals. This is because the technology allows them to access all the relevant information at their convenience, any time of the night or day.
Using a hybrid advice solution ensures that your clients and customers can get the type of advice they need at various stages of their lives. When a person is young and has just started their career, they’ll usually have access to less money and therefore have simpler advice needs.
At this point, your firm can provide these young clients with digital, automated advice and guidance suited to their simple needs. As these clients grow older, they’ll accumulate more wealth over time. They’ll also need help with more complex financial decisions like retirement planning, inheritance, financing a business venture, etc.
At this stage, you can provide them with traditional face-to-face financial consultation with wealth managers who will use technology to deliver the advice they provide. With the technology needed to maintain a lifelong relationship with your clients, you can gain a deeper understanding of their financial goals and challenges. This allows you to provide better client financial wellbeing, more personalised advice and solutions specifically tailored to their needs.
Consistently meeting the ever-evolving compliance requirements set out by the FCA can be challenging for advisory firms. Therefore, you must leverage compliance technology that helps you stay on top of regulatory updates and amend or modify your operations accordingly.
The reduction in manual work enabled has allowed financial advice firms across the UK to serve more clients, provide a wider array of services to existing clients, improve security, and encourage their employees to focus on high-value work.
Compliance risk management software can play a key role in helping financial advice firms avoid fines and optimise their processes to fully comply with the latest FCA regulations.
The right compliance solutions will help you to do the following:
You can also leverage technology to create accurate risk profiles of various funds, to help clients build portfolios that are well suited to their risk tolerance level.
Artificial intelligence (AI) tools are increasingly being used to review cases and ensure compliance is maintained in all the advice offered to clients.
Advisory technology allows you to provide clients with well-designed, insightful questionnaires to fill out whenever convenient. With these detailed questionnaires, you can better understand your client’s goals and challenges, including their psychological, financial and behavioural challenges. These questionnaires also foster more insightful and productive conversations with clients during face-to-face consultations.
Digital technology can also enable advisers to harness the expertise of psychologists, sustainable investment experts, and vulnerability experts. As a result, you can create a more holistic and personalised financial plan for each client by considering a wide variety of environmental, psychological and behavioural factors instead of relying solely on cold financial data.
This leads to enhanced client financial wellbeing and effective financial plans that help clients reach their goals and enable realistic future modelling, which will help increase client confidence in your advice and recommendations.
In a world that is increasingly used to instant information, it has become imperative for financial advisers and firms to adopt technology that can keep clients updated about all aspects of the advice and implementation process.
Enabling clients to review their financial plans, investments and asset allocations whenever they want will offer greater visibility and accessibility to help clients feel more involved in the financial planning process. Having all the relevant information at their fingertips will also give clients a better understanding of their financial situation and the steps needed to improve it.
The new generation of “re-wired” investors want a better understanding of the financial advice they receive, along with greater control over their financial lives and investment solutions tailored to their unique financial needs. And the right technology – such as 24/7 client portals capable of providing real-time valuations – can help firms fulfil all of these demands.
With the use of technology, you can create a digital and hybrid end-to-end advice journey to provide personalised, high-quality and compliant advice which is more accessible to a greater cross-section of people, while also earning customer loyalty, reducing risk and increasing your bottom line in the process.
Here at EV, we can help you incorporate technology into your processes and advice paths, giving you a perfect blend of digital and traditional advice to meet your client's wellbeing needs.
To learn more about how you can aid your advice journey with technology, why not contact us today.