Are Financial Advisers playing the right tune?
Ryan Lane
Are Financial Advisers playing the right tune?
Written by Ryan Lane on
In any walk of life, attitudes to change vary. Traditionalists stick to well-trodden paths, futurists eagerly adopt anything new, others lie in wait until practices are proven or adopted more widely 

If we take music as an example, many modern DJs have likely never dropped a needle onto vinyl but can access an almost unlimited library of music with just a few clicks. Does that make either approach better or improve the experience for their audience?  It comes down to value - what and how the audience hears or sees.  Technology has changed how that experience is delivered, but the experience itself remains largely unaltered.

So, what can financial advice learn from DJing?  

There is no escaping the fact that technology is changing the Financial Services landscape and the provision of financial advice.  My recollection of the few times a Financial Adviser visited my parents, was of a suit-cladded man, briefcase-in-tow, paperwork galore, couped up in the dining room for what felt like days discussing ‘money stuff’.  

Fast-forward 20 years, I was that suited-and-booted, paperwork-loaded adviser, ready for what might be an evening-long meeting gleaning information from prospective and existing clients. The interesting part was certainly not the ‘fact-finding’, meticulously noting details of existing pension arrangements and their associated costs and charges.  The most meaningful, and most valuable elements of the process were the more personal conversations about plans, family, lifestyle – the things that matter when giving the right advice.  

We are now at a point where leveraging technology can be of significant benefit to clients and advisers alike.  The ability to streamline activities such as the mind-numbing, albeit hugely important, data collection process is priceless. And what of the ability to pre-screen clients for more complex advice needs prior to an in-depth conversation?  It is by no means breaking news to anyone within the industry that hybrid advice models are potentially game-changing.  

Advances in advice technology have afforded advisers more time to focus on the meaningful elements of the service. In addition, more clients can now access and engage with Financial Advice services, and Financial Services business models are becoming more scalable. Whilst it is easy to embrace the increased efficiency technology affords advisers, focusing too heavily on the technology is not the answer. Technology is simply an enabler for improved client experiences, whether the advice need is simple or complex.   

Just as music sounds (broadly), the same if it were played using a laptop and digital DJ controller, as it does if it were played on old Technics 1210 turntables, the value a client gets from an advice service is not altered by improved operational efficiency in the background. A suitable recommendation which meets the needs of a first-time pension saver is as valuable as one which describes the best way to access pension savings.  If we understand where technology is best leveraged to support advice along the client journey, we can continue to offer services that are truly valued by our clients.   

There is most definitely room for the traditionalists in this new world, but maybe it’s time to lose that old briefcase and instead spend the time choosing the right tunes?   

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