Stephanie Patrick (left) and Daniel Donovan

As the cost of doing business continues to rise, technology plays an increasingly important part in the success of a financial services firm.

The way to think about tech for financial advice firms is to break it into two different buckets. There’s tech to deliver advice more effectively and then there’s tech to improve the way the practice is managed.

While it can help deliver advice more efficiently and improve the way the practice is managed, more tech isn’t always better, advisers warn.

Tech is being utilised to manage a myriad of functions at Hewison Private Wealth. After realising the business wouldn’t be able to scale with the existing proprietary software which had been developed and built over the previous 25 years, the firm began searching for alternatives about five years ago.

Hewison wealth adviser Stephanie Patrick tells Professional Planner off the shelf financial planning software would be difficult, or impossible, to customise to achieve the unique internal processes and client service offering their practice provides.

“Over time, our business model of independent, individually managed accounts management would be challenged against the private banks and institutions if we didn’t innovate and adopt a tech stack that would amplify our operating model,” Patrick says.

In short, this led to the construction of a best of breed, customised and integrated tech stack that includes Salesforce, Class, OpenMarkets and Portfolio Cloud.

Patrick says that each platform serves a purpose in their process and service delivery and that integration has allowed them to achieve a range of business functions, including:

  • Investment data pulled daily from Class and Portfolio Cloud;
  • Advice generated from Portfolio Cloud either at the client, or investment level, allowing for seamless scale advice to be sent;
  • Advice is automatically generated from Portfolio Cloud and received by the client via SMS, or email;
  • Automated SMS or email reminders are sent to unresponsive clients at an interval of our choosing;
  • Clients accept advice interactively via their smart devices;
  • Acceptance received directly into Portfolio Cloud; and
  • Investment data sent to OpenMarkets to be traded automatically.

Another recent innovation has been the adoption of digital signatures for clients to sign and accept their service agreement has been one of the latest innovations for, Patrick says.

“This was prompted by the need to improve the client experience internally and resulted in a faster turnaround time for obtaining signed agreements,” she says.

Verse Wealth head of operations Daniel Donovan recently implemented Score App, which forms part of the firm’s onboarding process. It has enabled the firm to create a 30-question financial wellbeing quiz, which takes about five minutes to complete.

When implementing new tech, the firm considers what’s overly complex and which systems aren’t user friendly for both staff and clients.

“Once we identify a potential problem, we consider first what we want to consolidate and what can be done with existing software rather than adding something new if we can,” he says.

“We really want to eliminate siloed tech in the business as much as possible. Software needs to be able to talk to each other. We also consider the timing of an implementation to minimise interruptions.”