Advisers would find things much easier if they remembered to slow down and concentrate on the most important aspect of their business – the client – Michelle Tate-Lovery says.

The director of Unified Financial Services spoke to Professional Planner at the 2018 Best Practice Forum about the struggle that exists for advisers forced to fill several roles at once, all the while dealing with looming regulatory and compliance restraints.

“You’re wearing multiple hats: you’re an adviser, you’re a business owner and you’re a licensee in some cases, and it’s always that tension between compliance, client engagement and commercial viability,” Tate-Lovery explains.

This tension can lead to advisers losing focus on their existing client base, she says, which is to the detriment of both the clients and the advisers themselves. Every once in a while, she believes, it’s worthwhile pushing business and compliance concerns to the side and slowing down to refocus on the clients.

“Going more slowly and focusing on the client, and asking yourself as a practitioner if this is the best possible advice you could be giving, and if this is going to give the client the best outcome – I think then everything will become a little bit easier,” Tate-Lovery says. “It’s a mindset shift, really.”

While regtech can help advisers deal with the compliance burden, it is not a panacea, she warns. Compliance should be “a natural flow”, she explains, and while technology should be embraced, it should always be secondary to the client.

“My concern is that advisers will think [regtech] is a solution and jump to that,” she says. “What they really need to do is step back and go more slowly around developing a relationship with the client and understanding the client.”

At any rate, Tate-Lovery thinks the regtech solutions on the market – which are largely template based – aren’t quite good enough to change the way advisers service their clients.

“I don’t think we’re [at the point where] technology is actually showing us a view of an SoA, forming a view of how good the advice is,” she says.

Tate-Lovery does have faith in the future of regtech, however. At an earlier session during the forum, Joanna Bird, senior executive leader of financial advisers at ASIC, indicated that the regulator was investing time and money into regtech solutions that would help both ASIC and advisers deal with compliance issues.

“I’m hopeful after listening to Joanna today around what ASIC is investing in,” she said. “I’m hopeful that it’s done better.”

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