‘Bionic’ advice: Half say most services will be automated soon

Tahn Sharpe


January 11, 2018

Almost half of advisers believe most financial planning services will be automated within the next 10 years, a Professional Planner poll has found.

Responses were split almost down the middle, with 51 per cent answering no and 49 per cent saying yes. Several hundred responses were tallied.

Matt Heine, joint managing director of platform provider Netwealth, says the result indicates a growing trend towards tech advocacy in financial planning.

“The industry is coming to terms with the fact that many advice and back-end processes will be fully automated in the coming 5 to 10 years,” Heine says. “There is also recognition that this will enable a ‘bionic relationship’, where advisers will use new technology such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and connected ecosystems to enhance their offering and engagement models.”

This view is supported by data in Netwealth’s 2017 AdviceTech report (see chart), which shows the vast majority of advisers are willing to invest more in their relationship with technology than they have in the past.

Heine says advisers are rapidly becoming more aware of what fintech can do for their business and their clients.

“With these new tools, firms will be able to remove inefficiency and friction from the advice process – especially in areas like onboarding and the creation of advice documentation – whilst engaging on a deeper and more personalised level,” he says. “More importantly, they’ll be able to add new and complementary services. For example, look at how Google can now translate voice to another language in real-time, which makes non-English speaking people potential prospects.”

David Simon, principal adviser at Integral Private Wealth, agrees.

“The automation of financial planning services is imminent,” he says.

He acknowledges the concern that advisers may become marginalised by technology, but stresses that the advisers will remain crucial if they continue to adapt.

“These days, an aeroplane is almost completely automated, but the requirement for an experienced and qualified pilot remains,” Simon explains. “The role of the adviser will continue to change; however, like the pilot, they’ll still play a crucial role in making sure all the parts are performing so that the clients can reach their objectives.”

Simon views fintech as “the conduit for convenience, choice and control”, both for the client and the adviser, but he adds that the adviser will continue to occupy the position of trust.

TOPICS:   automation,  fintech

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