Business value

Advisers are actively embracing technology

The Strategi team works across the entire financial services industry including QFEs, adviser networks and non-aligned insurance, investment and mortgage advisers. What has become very evident in 2011 is the extent to which technology is now being embraced by advisers.

However, the implementation of this technology is not always in a well co-ordinated fashion, nor does it always lead to a significant increase in productivity or profitability. We find that many advisers are implementing new technology solutions without fully assessing their real costs, how they integrate with other technology and where they will benefit both the business and the way they service their clients. Often, technology is introduced as it seems to be exciting, other advisers are using it, or because their kids said “Mum/Dad, you need to get with the times”.

Strategi is firmly of the view that technology will not replace good personal relationships between clients and advisers – but it can significantly improve the speed and number of client contacts and provide a more cost efficient and time effective way to interact with clients.

Our research indicates that advisers are embracing different technologies at different rates but there are some emerging trends. We divide technology implementation into two distinct categories, these being (1) ‘general acceptance’ and (2) ‘not yet for me’, and we define the general acceptance category as over 40% of our clients having embraced that technology. We believe that within two years, most of what is currently in the ‘not yet for me’ category will have moved to the ‘general acceptance’ category – or will have been replaced with some entirely new technology.

‘General acceptance’ category

  • Have moved from PC to laptop.
  • Use dual screens in office - the first being a laptop screen and the second being a flat screen monitor.
  • Have moved from tape drive backup to cloud or portable hard drive back up facility.
  • Use a CRM – most common are XPlan and FAB Forte.
  • Have a VOIP line.
  • Use Skype when talking to distant clients.
  • Use software for remote client meetings, such as ‘GoToMeeting’.
  • Use wrap account for investment clients.
  • Have a website.
  • Send out PDF client newsletters.
  • Have over 70% of client base on email.
  • Are able to type 60+ wpm.
  • Use digital dictaphones.
  • Colour photocopying.
  • Have an integrated photocopier, scanner, printer and facsimile.
  • Office is at least 60% paperless and actively scanning most new client files.

‘Not yet for me’ category

  • Using Dropbox or similar for delivering large documents to clients.
  • Using a smart phone to record thoughts and dictate letters.
  • Using a smart phone to photograph clients and add to CRM, plus photograph drawings/notes made in client meetings and uploading into client contact record.
  • Have file notes that are pictures or voice recordings.
  • Using a tablet for client interviews (but this is becoming more popular).
  • Using facebook to communicate with clients.
  • Publishing e-zines (this is also becoming more popular).
  • Using PowerPoint for big picture SoA then following up with written SoA.
  • Using pens that act as voice recorders and convert words/drawings to electronic images.
  • Recording all telephone calls.
  • Moving totally to cell phones and cancelling landlines in the office.

The above lists are by no means definitive but do contain the most common software and hardware solutions being embraced by advisers.

Where are you at with embracing technology?