The year ahead 2014 - Part Two


By Kate Kachor

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In the second part of financialobserver’s feature, technology sector and industry association representatives share their predictions for the path ahead in 2014.

New business deals, opportunities to bed down existing strategies and expectations for greater stability from government top the list of predictions from technology and association executives in 2014.

With a whirlwind 12 months of change, spurred on by the threat of and eventual change in government, many executives are hopeful the year ahead will bring with it calmer waters on which to travel.

OneVue chief Connie Mckeage says given the Future of Financial Advice reforms have somewhat faded from centre stage, the time is now right for new business strategies to emerge.

In terms of the government’s focus for the financial services sector, Mckeage hopes it will be on stabilising the sector and allowing businesses to focus on day-to-day operations.

“I don’t expect more changes, especially to superannuation in any way shape or form. I think we are over it,” she says.

DST Global Solutions Australia and New Zealand head of business development Rhys Octigan says he believes the enormous change underway in the industry will continue in 2014.

The change is being driven by firms seeking to lower costs, automate processes and gain greater control over their investments, Octigan says.

“Forward-thinking firms in 2014 will focus on the cost of compliance and how they can derive more value from implementing technology to future proof the cost of ongoing regulatory burden,” he says.

“These firms will leverage technology and investment data to better service clients, produce more reports more quickly and be faster than the competition to respond to market opportunities such as launching new products or entering new geographies.”

IRESS Market Technology senior business development executive Michael Kinens says the industry should use 2014 as the year to focus on reducing the administrative burden placed on advice practices.

“Advisers, and in particular their support staff, are all too frequently completing paper and/or online-based forms with information they have already captured in an electronic format,” Kinens says.

“By focusing on simplifying the process and utilising existing technology, practices could experience significant cuts in costs.”

On the industry association front, Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia chief Pauline Vamos says she believes the key focus of industry in 2014 needs to be on responding to competition and stepping up to support the super system.

“While the government has stated there will be no unexpected, detrimental changes to super in 2014, there are other areas in the economy which need to be addressed, such as productivity,” Vamos says.

“As a mature and sophisticated industry it should be our job to do the heavy lifting in the super space and not rely on the government to do it for us.”

Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia head of financial advisory services Hugh Elvy echoed Vamos’s comments, saying an emphasis on the need for self-regulation will emerge as a key trend this year.

“Despite the recognised regulatory fatigue of the last 12 months and potentially more change in the future, an issue for the industry will be to demonstrate its ability to self-regulate,” Elvy says.

“Where the industry sees warnings or weakness, it needs to proactively address them.”

For the technology sector’s views on 2014, click here.

For the industry associations’ take on the upcoming year, click here.

Financialobserver thanks all participants in the Year Ahead 2014 feature for their time in responding to questions.

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