Making proper use of data and developing models where the client is more proactive in the advice process could be the key to future-proofing your business, a forum has heard.

Against the backdrop of a Professional Planner survey that showed nine in 10 advisers believed they had to reinvent themselves to be relevant in 10 years’ time, business coach and founder of Audere Coaching and Consulting Stewart Bell said offering experiences, rather than products and harnessing insights may be the answer.

“The number one thing you can think about if you want to future-proof your business is really looking at the data you have access to and asking whether you are using it well,” he told Professional Planner and the Financial Planning Association’s Best Practice Forum.

Milliman Consulting principal Wade Matterson said the sector was on the cusp of reinvention and agreed the ability to draw out the right conclusions about clients would set businesses apart.

He used an example of how collecting data on clients in retirement and sharing spending trends with new clients from their age cohort could help to reduce the emotional intensity experienced in a first meeting.

“We’re starting to see really interesting opportunities to get a better and deeper understanding of our clients and the real interesting part there will be how that manifests in advice businesses,” he said.

Reducing the heavy lifting

Bell stressed the businesses that succeed in an age of robo-advice and AI will be the ones who realise they don’t necessarily have to offer a full suite of services.

“As an industry we’re still really focused on the idea that we have to do everything for clients,” he said. “You have to work with clients to get them to adopt the behaviours.”

Bell nominated cash flow modelling as something clients could take a more proactive role in.

When asked what businesses could do today to future-proof their offering, he said they should stop looking for solutions with all the bells and whistles.

The Professional Planner/Financial Planning Association Best Practice Forum concluded last week. Professional Planner would like to thank its sponsors, Colonial First State, CommSec Adviser Services, Praemium, Super Concepts, Vanguard and BT Financial Group, as well as its CPD partner Portfolio Construction Forum. 

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