Rob DeDominicis (left) and Jacqui Henderson

GBST’s acquisition of Advice Intelligence will help leverage the digital advice provider’s services to the institutional market amid growing expectations that super funds provide more advice and improve member experience.

The acquisition was announced in late July after Advice Intelligence’s major backer, Regal Funds Management, withdrew its investment in May.

With digital advice providers struggling to penetrate the retail adviser or direct consumer markets, the acquisition by GBST – which has a substantial existing business as a provider of technology and services to super funds– means the Advice Intelligence software will be introduced to the institutional market.

This strategy comes amid calls from the government for super funds to offer more advice off the back of the Quality of Advice Review, presenting an opening for digital advice providers to offer services to trustees that will have to fulfill an obligation to give more advice to members.

Advice Intelligence founder Jacqui Henderson tells Professional Planner this is a key strategy for the service

“It’s really important for superannuation funds to leverage technology like ours which we didn’t have the distribution capability,” she says.

GBST has traditionally been a provider of technology to super funds, wrap platforms, fund managers, custodians.

Rob DeDominicis, GBST group CEO, similarly notes the issue of the cost and accessibility of advice.

“What we were attracted to with AI’s technology was… it’s a digital solution and it would enable the super fund to be able to provide a hybrid advice solution or a standalone digital advice solution to a member,” DeDominicis says.

“We were already actively engaged with discussions with super funds around our capability. We’ve already started to demo the product to them because we’re established in that space.”

Domestically, Henderson says it will continue to be a two-pronged approach by servicing both the institutional and retail channels particularly for C and D clients that may not fit the business models for holistic advisers.

“We’re going to continue to service the advice businesses in that traditional model but [help] enhance their value proposition to provide hybrid advice,” Henderson says.

Changing gears

Pre-acquisition, Henderson says the priority of the business was digitising advice practices.