By Rajan Pathak
Holistic financial planning involves advisors assisting clients to periodically recalibrate their investments, ensuring it aligns with their set goals. Financial planning is a forward-thinking goal-based collaborative process and as advisors, you are expected to assist clients across a spectrum of financial needs.
The present Covid-19 situation has made the need to do all this in a Digital-first environment, where alternate means of communication, using a Low-Touch model, is fast becoming the norm. All of this while technology continues to swiftly impact and reshape the financial landscape, which makes it imperative for advisors to stay abreast.
There are obvious first mover advantages to Advisors who choose to harness the power of technology allowing them to move towards a customized personal approach. There are also other significant advantages to this adaption to technology; from scale to cost reduction, onto new and expanded business opportunities.
Stay Close – Stay relevant
As advisors on all financial issues, be it as a distributor or a Financial advisor, the client looks to you as the bridge-of-trust, which is a crucial step to help them have the confidence to tide over uncharted water. This is all the more so when uncertainty looms large – or volatility and unprecedented events affect them.
Through the adoption of intelligent tech-based platforms, advisors gain the ability to accelerate this process confidence creation. This is made possible by seamless digital engagement, making the advisor easily accessible to his clients. Automating processes free themfrom mundane BAU processes and increases their productivity in core activities, like client engagement and retention.
New technology and automated reports enable investors to play an active role in their investing journey as often as on a day-to-day basis. This engagement is a crucial step towards transparency, enhanced advisor-client engagement, and augmented service offerings – including alerts, which translate to happier clients and higher returns.
Accessibility to wider Product baskets
It is said that it is 4X easier to increase Share-of-Wallet than acquiring a new Client. This is even more relevant today, where the curbs on traditional channels of physical meetings are disrupted. Clients will increasingly want to build on existing relationships rather than start a new relationship.
This makes it all the more important, as a Service provider, to expand on the Basket of Services and products that they have to be able to address the “new” needs that the client expresses. For independent entrepreneurs, it is extremely difficult to a) identify b) do due-diligence, and c) do the requisite tie-up for execution, for this ever-expanding basket. Having a digital-Platform, that can access the fragmented eco-system of products / services, and fuelled by the power of data, AI and ML, can filter, curate new ideas, and provides the means to execute, and monitor, holistically, becomes a great competitive advantage.
Do More – Get Closer
The inclusion of technology in financial advisory increases opportunities, strengthens collaboration, and streamlines processes. Seamless flow of information and analytics helps product both, providers and advisors, match the unique needs of their target customers.
An integrated ecosystem ensures that you have comprehensive knowledge of yourclient, his needs, risk capacities, and provide insightsthat are bestsuited in different situations.
With such a client-centric approach, advisors are more likely to become confidants rather than a mere medium for transactions.
Data Analytics –Actionable Insights
Technology has the ability to streamline and optimize processes while adding efficiency to it. Investment decisions by advisors based on thorough analysis and comprehensive insight will be far more productive than those dependent on traditional mediums.
Access to platforms that monitor client portfolios in real time bass gives advisors the insight and ability to compare Investments vs Goals, as well as the ability to evaluate individual products and their continuing suitability in changing market conditions. The use of Machine Learning, and AI, allows regression analysis, and the framework for predictive analysis can assist advisors understand market trends and manage client risks accordingly.
The ability to give real-time alerts can help in managing the behavioural biases and reactions that investors have and provide a win-win situation for both investor and advisor.
The Digital-first Gen
To strengthen the ability of the advisory business for future sustenance, advisors need to adapt to the growing number of tech-savvy investors. This is not only the next generation, but increasingly all investors, given how habit changes have been forced over the last 4 months. The demand is of quick service, easy accessibility, and total transparency.
Advisors relying on traditional advisory methods will find themselves quickly replaced with the entrance of this “new” client. Advisors will have to adapt to the next wave of communication which includes video conferencing, mobile first, interactive reports, and easy accessibility to various forms of communication which includes WhatsApp and texting. Adaptability to these methods will help develop stronger advisor-client bonds and thus increase client retention.
The Human Touch has a crucial role to play in delivering Financial advice. Technology has the ability to give a business that competitive edge, help capture new opportunities and catapult business growth. Advisors who enable their business with the power of technology as an enabler will see it as a tool to success and very soon, as the key to survival as well in the post-Covid era.
(The author is Co-founder and Managing Director at Fintso, a wealth management firm and the views expressed in this article are his own)