Robo-advice key to remaining relevant

Institutions must consider robo advice to stay relevant to customers.

19-May-2016

By Daniel Paperny

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Having a stake in the entire spectrum of financial advice channels, including robo and face-to-face advice, would be the key to thriving in the financial services sector, according to Equipsuper strategic marketing and communications executive officer Geoff Brooks.

Speaking to financialobserver, Brooks said while the superannuation fund currently had 70 per cent of its pension members under advice, a key focus should be on identifying whether these members had engaged with the organisation to a level appropriate to their life stage and priorities.

“Members see their journey and relationship with their financial institutions, including their need for advice, as on a continuum,” he said.

“It extends from their first contact through reading a fact sheet or contacting the call centre, through educational seminars and eventually to full-service, customised advice from a professional financial planner,” he said.

“Robo-advice fits within this continuum, replacing none of the less or more intimate interactions with their financial institution, or being more relevant or appropriate. This is why institutions can ignore robo-advice at their peril.”

In September last year, Equipsuper announced it was partnering with Clover.com.au in a bid to enhance its financial advice portal and build its engagement with a growing millennial customer base.

Clover, which employs a goals-based approach to advice provision and portfolio construction, draws on proprietary algorithms to create customised portfolios that are periodically rebalanced toward the attainment of each client's specific goals.

Brooks said by drawing on the information clients provided about their individual financial goals, super funds like Equipsuper stood to benefit in terms of enhancing their relationship with existing clients.

“I think robo-advice is certainly an opportunity for the financial services sector. We think of it as an entry point which is minimal cost and hassle-free,” he said.

“If you’re still a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to superannuation, you’ll soon be dead in the water.”

The comments come as Equipsuper, in conjunction with CoreData, launched its own annual member survey yesterday on robo-advice to gauge the attitudes and behavioural preferences of its super fund members, with the results set to be published next month.

“It’ll be interesting to see where fund members are on their financial journey. We’ll be able to look at that data and add it to our analytics platform,” Brooks said.

“People’s needs around super evolve at different times of their life. For us, it’s about getting closer to our members, getting their core data and building intimacy to help drive relevant conversations.”

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