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Jacqui Henderson | 29 Jun, 2018

Statements of Advice : Out with the old

Compliance requirements for financial advisers are on the rise and practices clinging to ancient technology will need to use their imagination and embrace change in order to keep up.

Discussing the value of technology at a recent Advice Intelligence roundtable, Financial Planning Association of Australia head of policy and government relations Ben Marshan said the advice industry's inexplicable obsession with hardcopy Statements of Advice is a hindrance in more ways than one.

With the cost and time spent on compliance expected to increase dramatically in the coming years, Marshan said producing hardcopy SoAs will prove unsustainable.

"We're wedded to producing advice using technology that was invented in 105B.C. - we're in 2018. There is nothing in the Corporations Act or in ASIC regulatory guidance that says we need to provide advice on paper," Marshan said.

Despite ASIC declaring itself technology agnostic, Marshan said a majority of the advice industry is still producing "100-page doorstops" that contribute to a lack of client engagement and understanding.

"If we think about what consumers - what our clients - are using in their homes every day, to still be wedded to tech from 105B.C. is just wrong," he said.

Caboodle Financial Services managing director Peita Diamantidis agreed, saying there is a lack of creativity in the industry.

"Something that I think this industry lacks en masse - and I am generalising here - is creativity in terms of responding to change...There is a massive gap in creativity and imagination and that is why we react to legislative or regulatory change in such bland and vanilla ways," she said.

Standing out from the crowd, Fox and Hare co-founder and financial adviser Jessica Brady explained that her practice relies on technology for SoA production; providing clients with an electronic SoA which is accompanied by an explanatory powerpoint presentation and a personalised video.

"We think technology actually enhances the client relationship and has been seen as a threat by this industry for too long," she said.

"If we ever find ourselves doing a 100-page SoA then that tells me that we have lost the meaning of the document - it's become all about compliance and is no longer about the client achieving their goals."