Adviser shortage leads NAB to boost technology

Adviser shortage leads NAB to boost technology

NAB Wealth's $300 million shot-in-the-arm investment is intended to improve adviser efficiency at a time when demand for advice is rising and there is a shortage of planners in the industry.

The bank announced late last month that it will invest $300 million in its wealth arm to continue to build out digital innovations and enhance its product and platform offerings.

In an interview with ifa yesterday, NAB Financial Planning general manager Paul Fog said the investment – the largest amount set aside exclusively for NAB Wealth in the past 15 years – comes as the financial advice landscape is shifting.

"Particularly in markets where we've got a high degree of demand in financial planners for their services and there's a shortage of planners in the network, we need to make them more efficient from a customer's experience perspective but also from a planner's business operation [perspective]," Mr Fog said.

The digital innovations include tablet technology, which NAB has been piloting for the past 12 months. Mr Fog said the tablet and its accompanying software can assist advisers in plan production and customer relationship management, which comprise significant inefficiencies in most adviser practices.

"We've been using the Xplan arrangements that we have to build out the customer interface tools and those engaged tools are able to be operated on tablet technology," he said.

"That improves the customer experience but also improves adviser efficiency."

The investment will also go toward expanding NAB's computer-generated financial advice service, NAB Prosper. The free service, which was rolled out to 40,000 customers last month, currently provides advice on super and insurance via NAB's online banking service.

"The investment will enable us to continue to expand that particular solution to more customers and expand the scope of it," Mr Fog said.

He added that NAB-aligned advisers have had their say concerning which problem areas the bank should tackle and they will continue to be heard regarding future enhancements.

"We have a strong history of discussing with our advisers what is it that they're seeing as pain points and making certain we lead in a manner where we're listening to what they say to make sure we've invested in the areas that we need to," he said

"We've already started pilots on tablet technology and launched NAB Prosper. So [the investment] is around continuing to do those agenda items but in a more accelerated and bigger way than what we had previously."

Adviser shortage leads NAB to boost technology
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