Practices reluctant to embrace new tech

Most practices are still using old technology when it comes to the advice process


By Sarah Kendell

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Despite the wide variety of technology options available to help advisers streamline their administrative tasks, the vast majority of practices were still using Microsoft Excel as their primary software and missing valuable opportunities to cut the cost of advice, according to YTML.

Addressing a media roundtable in Sydney yesterday, YTML principal Damian Murphy said based on the group’s anecdotal experience, eight out of 10 planning practices in the Australian market were still using Excel, which was first released in 1987, as “a dependency” in their advice process.

“It’s not a great image for the engagement process to be presenting an Excel spreadsheet to a client – many firms have great IP [inside the software], but they need to optimise it across devices so they can bring it to life when they are trying to visually explain their story,” Murphy said.

YTML co-founder and chief operating officer Piew Yap said while the power and simplicity of Excel still made it a worthwhile tool for practices, technology could be used to enhance those aspects that were clunky and inefficient.

“Excel makes it easy to build modelling tools and projections, but on the downside it is not secure and you have to send the spreadsheet out to other users, and it’s often been really expensive traditionally to convert what you have in Excel to an app form,” Yap said.

He said YTML had used its Highlighter and Binder tools to convert the Excel-based system of independent dealer group GPS Wealth into an online platform that could generate its own documents, including statements of advice.

The main barrier among the group’s clients, which included three of the four big banks and Australia’s largest corporate superannuation fund, to taking up new technology in the advice space was the inability of different tools to work together, he added.

“There are so many software providers out there, but none of them are really talking to each other – you get siloed information sitting in these different tools and it is inefficient to manually copy data from one system to another,” he said.

“That means while you have a lot of innovation happening with fintech in terms of tools that can make advice better, they are not being widely used because if you use them it means you have another set of data you have to maintain.”

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