Advisers should seize fintech opportunity

13-Oct-2017

By Sarah Kendell

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Financial advisers should use Australia’s burgeoning fintech industry to their advantage by engaging with start-ups around the opportunities to reduce administrative tasks within their business and engage more entry-level clients, according to a panel of fintech experts.

Addressing the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) 2017 National Adviser Conference on the Gold Coast yesterday, Red Marker chief executive Matt Symons said the combination of regulatory change in the advice sector and the rise of technology in financial services made it “a very exciting time” for advisers to re-evaluate their business practices.

“There is a lot of chaos going on in this industry but it’s a great opportunity for [advisers] to imagine not just how to take this industry forward but how to really improve your own practices with data and technology,” he said.

“Focus on the things that are tremendously painful or the least enjoyable parts of your job and think about those as candidates for innovation.”

Symons added that the progress technology giants such as Google were making with artificial intelligence (AI) showed that machines were capable of performing white-collar tasks better than humans if they were loaded with enough information to ‘learn’ best practice.

“If we train these AI systems to become very good at specific tasks they can do amazing things, so there’s a great opportunity for financial planning practices to decide where they want the innovation to really work for them,” he said.

Fintech Australia chief executive Danielle Szetho said many advisers were also using fintechs to extend their sales funnel and engage lower-balance clients who would need comprehensive advice services in a few years’ time.

“We are starting to see advisers outsource some elements of their practice to robo advice companies like Stockspot or Plenty who are focused on low value clients, just to give them a taste of investing in a different type of asset class to term deposits,” she said.

“Then they might reach a level of sophistication where the person thinks they need to take the next step with a human, so advisers are increasingly starting to recognise how technology tools are providing that first step on a ladder that takes a client toward holistic advice.”

In response to this trend, the AFA announced it had partnered with robo advice firm Map My Plan to bring an adviser-facing version of the platform, Map My Plan for Advisers, to its members.

The association said members who signed up by 15 October would receive a free 30 day trial of the service, which included ongoing client education, dashboard reporting, unlimited statements of advice covered by Map My Plan’s financial services licence and unlimited user numbers for each subscription.

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