Elevate advice success stories to build brand

01-May-2017

By Daniel Paperny

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For the advice industry to countenance regulatory change and reform, it must be ready to adapt but the onus is on advisers to demonstrate their value to clients in a rapidly evolving sector, according to Regtech Association director and Red Marker chief executive Matt Symons.

Speaking to financialobserver, Symons noted a preoccupation with misconduct and poor ethical cultures had led to a challenging environment for advice practices where meeting reporting obligations and identifying potential sources of compliance risk was increasingly difficult.

However, he said advisers needed to take a more active role in shaping the conversation around the real added benefits they could provide to consumers in helping manage their personal savings and long term financial goals.

“I think there clearly have been some structural challenges with the industry in recent years … but many people within this industry are motivated to really help customers, that’s their reason for being and I do think that the advice industry itself needs to do a better job of bringing forward those great stories,” Symons said.

“We live in uncertain times and in uncertain times, people need trusted advice and we need to elevate those successes the industry achieves with real customers.

“We also need to show how the industry is evolving in how it operates, not just responding to external or community or political pressure, but how it’s responding … to help customers’ lives in positive ways.”

A key development in the financial services sector has been the advent of regulatory technology (regtech) which Symons believes could help reinvent the advice industry by empowering advisers to take control of their own development, particularly when it came to addressing gaps in training, improving decision-making in advice delivery or building their reputation across social channels.

At a roundtable in February, ASIC confirmed it had been involved in discussions with 30 regtech companies across Australia to understand how the technology could be applied to assist financial services firms in meeting their compliance and regulatory obligations.

Symons welcomed ASIC’s support, saying the regulator had been “very forward-leaning” in its approach to embracing regtech and argued Australia was yet to realise the full potential of its burgeoning regtech ecosystem.

“It’s been wonderful to have that sort of support from ASIC so far and I think we’re in an exciting time [because] with the industry’s approval and participation, these regulatory tools could provide quantitative evidence of the need for additional or greater clarity over regulatory guidance in a particular area,” he said.

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