The way statements of advice are delivered to clients is set to take a long and overdue leap into a more interactive app-driven world, according to Advice Intelligence head of partnerships Fraser Jack.
While technology has had a significant impact on investing, with the advent of managed accounts and the platforms that enable them transforming the landscape, the primary connector advisers have with their clients – statements of advice – has barely changed form.
The next generation of statement delivery, however, is set to break the mould by putting interactive apps on clients’ digital devices that not only show the advice, but teach on it and record the outcome.
“We’ve gone from paper to PDFs,” says Jack, “but we’re now moving towards wanting to really engage the consumer and explain the information in more of a visual way, using pictures, video and sound and bringing the education piece into it.”
Jack says there are already numerous firms working on a variety of portals for SoA delivery. Apps, however, give clients a fast and easy way to open the portable on their portable device, which could be a game-changer.
“Statements of advice will become digital, a bit more like your internet banking type portal where you get live and updated information so as data becomes readily available,” he says. “That’s the way it’s heading.”
The magic that powers open banking – application programming interface – will become a key driver of these apps, Jack believes. “It all works when data flows correctly,” he says. “Open banking is really just the start of it; you also want to understand the movements of your superannuation fund and the transactions in your investment funds.”
Jack acknowledges that the way advisers present their advice to clients will always be bound to regulatory constraints. But this shouldn’t preclude change, he says.
“There’s nothing really in [ASIC’s] guide that says an SOA really has to be a long legal document of advice,” he says, noting that the regulator has been technology agnostic in its direction. “The availability has been there for planners and the industry and technology to come together and ask how we do it in a way that’s more engaging and up to date.”
In terms of compliance, using apps enables the adviser to not only keep track of the advice that’s gone out but how well the client has understood it. In the same way advisers learn and respond to a series of ‘test’ questions to receive continuing professional development credits, clients can answer questions to show they’ve understood the advice, ticking a vital compliance box for advisers.
Advisers already do this informally, Jack says, when they ask clients questions during meetings to check their understanding of the material. “The hard part for them has been to demonstrate that they’ve done it,” he says.
Jack will be speaking at the Financial Planning Association’s Professional Congress in Melbourne on Thursday, 29th of November in a session entitled “FOSOA – SOAs of the future’. He will be joined on the panel by FPA head of policy and standards Ben Marshan and CoreData managing director Jason Andriessen.