With the advice industry's current focus on ethics and boosting professional standards following the Royal Commission, one is left wondering what the future for the advisory profession is. Is there a role for financial planning technology to improve client outcomes by making the advice process more inspiring and transparent?
For the sake of exploring this topic, let's assume that amidst all the current turmoil and change, a financial advice profession emerges and it is armed with the best technology. Let's all agree that a "new world" financial planning movement has begun.
Exactly what future can we expect from a "new world" of advice?
How does the industry prepare for a transition towards tech-driven financial planning?
Data, machines and algorithms will be utilised to perform much of the calculation, research and compliance functions of financial advice. The outcome will be ensured efficiencies for advisers. "On the spot" personalised advice will be accessible to more Australian consumers.
By testing different scenarios interactively with clients, they can visualise how financial advice helps them to better their position. They become part of the advice experience. The conversation is focused towards what matters most to them - their goals and life aspirations.
Focus on life goals
Will advisers in the "new world" advice model start to look like a "life coach" or "financial mentor" where they rely on tech to provide numbers to tell the client's story?
I think so. Advisers will increasingly focus on softer skills and lean towards "lifestyle coaching". The point of "financial" advice will extend well beyond money and more towards guidance on "lifestyle choices" and "life fulfilment".
Client behaviour and money psychology will form the foundation of these soft skills. New technology will allow advisers and clients to co-create the advice journey together.
Goals-based advice tech will offer advisers efficiency and compliance benefits as they face a changing regulatory landscape. It will increase their ability to scale and lower their costs associated with delivering quality advice.
The definition of financial advice also has the ability to broaden dramatically from that of simply helping people plan, save, invest and protect their money. The central pillar of advice will be to coach clients in identifying what goals are important to them and advise them on the strategies that will ensure attainment of those goals.
Importantly, this new approach means the advice sector is exposed to a much broader audience and a more diverse group of potential clients. Generation Y especially are increasingly comfortable with tech-based advice. They'll be seeking guidance on how to become more financially literate and independent.
Advisers in the "new world" have a great opportunity. They can offer an inspiring advice experience that more consumers will want to pursue. The pivotal change is tying the financial planning process to the life goals of the client.