Midwinter Financial Services has become the first Australian financial planning software company to provide a "virtual advice" offering after inking a deal with SuiteBox.
Speaking to ifa, Midwinter managing director Julian Plummer said the Midwinter/SuiteBox integration will allow advisers to initiate a SuiteBox online video meeting via Midwinter's AdviceOS Software.
"Advisers have enquired about the ability to carry out remote meetings for some time now, and it's pleasing to be able to provide our users with the technology to do so via SuiteBox," he said.
"In particular, the ability to carry out virtual advice has been eagerly anticipated by financial planners in regional areas, who often find it difficult to have regular face-to-face meetings with their clients."
SuiteBox unveiled its virtual advice offering last week.
Mr Plummer said the software integration will also allow advisers to complete the document review process digitally – "They can share and review documents, sign online and record the meeting using any web-enabled device," he said.
"The obvious benefit here is that the client doesn't have to wait for application forms to arrive in the post or have to take part in a face-to-face meeting if it is inconvenient to do so – the whole document review process can be done digitally with extremely low latency between the client and the adviser," he said.
All online video meetings are stored in AdviceOS indefinitely for compliance purposes.
"The adviser or AFSL holder can choose if they want the entire meeting recorded, or just the signing component of the meeting," he said.
"While the size of these online videos can become quite large, the onset of inexpensive cloud computing allows the storage and backup of these online videos to be done in an economic manner."
SuiteBox country head Ian Dunbar said, "Virtual advice is a game changer for financial advisers, offering them the opportunity to expand their geographic reach, service clients more efficiently, grow their businesses and deliver advice to more Australians."
The first phase is expected to go live in early December.
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