Angelique Faes

Most clients with trusts are expecting their interactions with management systems to be always accessible, meaning advisers of these clients need automated systems, according to research from Class.

The Benefits of Trust Management Automation in Fuelling Business Sustainability and Growth report found 77 per cent of businesses surveyed reported that clients now expect their interactions about their trust management to be digitised and electronic, and 65 per cent want more real time data.

There are almost a million trusts in Australia with the most common being discretionary trusts.

The number of high wealth households in Australia has also increased and trusts in the financial services sector alone account for over $24 billion.

Financial planners are now competing with accounting and legal practices to offer trust management services.

Class head of product Angelique Faes tells Professional Planner moving from manual data entry to an automated process gives practices “the gift of time” although this was not the sole advantage.

“One of our early adopters of the product reminded me that time isn’t always the most important thing, it’s not always about saving time on a job, it was also about standardisation,” Faes says.

She added one of the advantages was firms no longer needing someone to spend time going through previous work and finding errors because of manual entry.

Barriers to entry

The report found the main barrier is the perception of the time needed to implement an automation platform with 36 per cent of those surveyed citing this as the reason they would not implement an automated system.

Among firms that had adopted automation technology, 79 per cent reported using a trust automation platform had improved the quality and accuracy of their service to clients, while 75 per cent said their solution had saved staff time.

Faes said there is also a barrier that firms are concerned staff do not want to change or that it will take excessive time to train employees on the new system.

“What the research showed it’s just not the case,” Faes says. “Once it’s set up and in place, you’re in position that you can set and forget.”

The report canvassed the findings from interviews conducted with six representatives from firms with twenty or more staff managing 100 or more trusts.