Netwealth joint managing director Matt Heine

Advisers are ten per cent more satisfied with their customer relationship management tools than they were a year ago, according to an advice-tech report released by platform provider Netwealth this morning.

In response to the question, “How satisfied are you with your CRM advice-tech?”, the average rating was 3.5 out of 5, up from 3.2 in 2018.

The result continues a slight upward trend for CRM providers, after the satisfaction rating increased from 3.1 in 2017.

The report did not examine the reasons for the increase in satisfaction, but it did state that nine out of 10 firms use a CRM to manage client information, “with 30.8% of advice practices having rolled out this advice-tech in past 24 months”.

“And for those that rolled out CRMs in the past 24 months, 35% indicated it was in the top three advice-techs they deployed over that time period,” the report adds.

Of the 304 advisers surveyed for the study, the vast majority (54.3%) used IRESS’ XPLAN as their supplier, with AdviserLogic (10.5%) and Midwinter (8.2%) also taking market share. Coin, which was previously XPLAN’s primary competitor, had a usage rate of 5.9 per cent in the report.

Further, of the advice firms that provide their clients with a client portal, most – 55 per cent – said they use their CRM to do it, up from 47.9 per cent in 2018.

IRESS’ product executive for wealth management, Emily Chen, said the company is in the middle of a major program aimed at improving the usability of XPLAN. The program, “IRESS labs”, incorporates advisers as designers in the improvement process and has already led to users being able to ‘favourite’ pages, as well as an uplift in the program’s search capabilities.

A CRM system is one of the six “foundational elements” to a successful advice-tech stack according to Netwealth, along with financial planning software, a company website, a super and investment platform, plus cloud-hosted office tools and document management systems.

Apart from these, Netwealth broke down the advice-tech businesses should be looking at using according to their scale by client acquisition.

When a firm is “small”, with up to 200 clients, they should be also be considering investment research technology, project and task management tools and a client portal. For “medium” firms with up to 500 clients marketing automation also becomes feasible, while “large” businesses with over 500 clients should also be looking at using social media platforms, according to the report.

Tahn Sharpe is a Sydney-based financial services journalist with a background in financial planning. He writes on advice, superannuation, investment, banking and insurance issues, is a certified SMSF Adviser and holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning.
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