Digital engagement to move beyond robo advice


By Sarah Kendell

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The evolution of fintech in Australia would see financial planning and superannuation apps progress beyond robo advice and become broader communication tools to engage with clients, incorporating functions such as payments, employment opportunities and travel deals, according to cloud-based advice service BigFuture.

Speaking to financialobserver, BigFuture chief executive Donald Hellyer said in order for the wealth management industry to boost the poor engagement levels on many of its existing mobile apps, the content available needed to be broadened beyond the simple act of checking a portfolio or super balance.

“The average person is now touching their smart phone 80 times a day but the time people are spending on it is not that huge, it’s probably 30 second bursts, so what you need to do is create an app that people want to flick back to on a regular basis,” he said.

“It’s got to have current information that refreshes like bank data, and another thing we have been looking at is notifications so if something like a new hybrid issue comes on the market, you can push it out through the client’s phone to let them know that you are on to it and want to talk to them about it.”

Hellyer said BigFuture, which was in the process of developing an app for New Zealand financial planning group Booster as well as non-profit super fund Vision Super, was looking at ways to tailor content to different client demographics.

“For older age groups the share market is quite important and you would check it a few times a day, so you would need to have that as part of it, but for younger people being able to refresh their bank data is more important,” he said.

“Maybe you would even go outside of finance to keep someone coming back to the app, like if they are interested in job opportunities or flight deals to Europe – why would you not provide something like that if it was tangential to your business and kept people engaged?”

Hellyer said while robo advice would remain “a component” of the overall fintech offering, it would not be enough to keep clients engaged over the long term.

“Robo advice plays an important role but it’s not going to be suitable for an app, because how often are you going to want a statement of advice?” he said.

“What you want is have something that’s an effective communication tool – there’s no sense in trying to compete with Google or Instagram, but it comes back to what space do you want to own, and you want to own your clients.”

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