Fraser Jack (left) and James Wortley

While they still need to build up confidence with the technology, advisers are slowly starting to recognise the pros of video Statements of Advice.

James Wortley first introduced video SOAs into his practice, Enlightened Financial Solutions in Mackay, in 2018 – a year after it obtained its own AFSL.

“Like all new beginnings, we wanted to reinvent the financial advice process but concentrate on the client experience at every step,” he tells Professional Planner.

“It never made sense to me to provide an SOA that needed to be holistic in nature, but that clients found too complex and unnecessarily long-winded. An SOA should be an easily read document that every client can understand. However, it has somehow become a document of protection for the licensee and the financial adviser.”

Corey Wastle, CEO of Verse Wealth in Melbourne, has similar views.

He launched video SOAs in November last year after hearing a Financial Planning Association podcast on the topic.

“We moved very quickly because we, like other advice firms, felt the SOA is the biggest anchor point in our client experience,” he says.

“But it’s time consuming and costly to produce. We felt it was a detraction from a great client experience. The documents are long-winded, jargon-laden and full of duplication. Consumers don’t expect them, nor do they want them and for many, they are too confusing, overwhelming and disempowering.”

Meeting the compliance bar

Fraser Jack, founder of The Cyber Collective Australia, says advisers are still doing much of the same with a video SOA, such as all the research and working out the best strategies for clients. The difference is the recording of the meeting, be it online or in person.

During the process, clients are asked whether they understand what’s being discussed and if they’re happy to keep moving on. In that way, he says planners are getting a demonstration of understanding and an authority to proceed from the client.

“You’ve captured that conversation in real time as a video file so what happened in the meeting is 100 per cent the truth,” Jack says. “When you get to the end, you cover off on the things the Corporations Act requires to be in an SOA.”

Additionally, the client receives a copy and can rewatch it at any time.

But Wortley observes that personality can be introduced into the process by providing advice through video.