Jaime Johns (left) and Peter Worn

A look at what technology advisers in other countries are using can provide some pointers to where the Australian market is headed.

Unsurprisingly, the first place to turn is the US. “The US remains at the forefront of technology development, with the largest addressable market in terms of asset pools, adviser numbers and venture capital availability,” Finura Group joint managing director Peter Worn told Professional Planner.

“By all these measures, the US market is approximately 20 times the size of Australia. Like other technology fields, Australia’s policy settings, tax system, talent pools and risk appetite are less favourable to startups.”

Worn noted that in the US, advisers are fast embracing easy-to-integrate enterprise-grade customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Indeed, research by US financial planning commentator Michael Kitces revealed that nearly 60 per cent of US firms with 10 or more advisers use Microsoft Dynamics or Salesforce.

“Many of these firms invest further in these solutions through customisation or third-party developers,” Worn said.

“Rather than planning CRMs as we see in Australia, planning tools purely perform the job of advice generation.”

He added that nearly 90 per cent of US firms use specialist performance reporting and data aggregation tools.

“In Australia, there is an expectation that the financial planning CRM performs the function of data aggregation,” he says.

“The quality of data feeds between platforms and planning software is a constant pain point for Australian advice firms. In the US and UK, specialist providers of data services open the technology ecosystem by allowing other technology solutions, such as planning tools, reporting engines and client portals, to access them.”