Goals-based advice lacks tech backing: advisers

Advisers have called on the fintech sector to increase developments supporting goals-based financial advice, saying tools for portfolio construction and probability analysis are particularly wanting.

Speaking at a roundtable event hosted by the Association of Goals Based Advice last week, director at non-aligned advice firm WLM Financial Services Matthew Walker said there is a need for technology that makes constructing a goals-based client portfolio more efficient.

“The biggest challenge is the portfolio construction. To date, we have had to develop our own approach to putting together goals-based portfolios that match up with the client's requirements which we then put into the current computer systems. But that introduces a manual step for us. So adopting a goals-based approach to advice has made the SOA process more complicated,” Mr Walker said.

Chief executive of non-aligned firm Profile Financial Services Sarah Abood said the firm developed its own software to effectively deliver goals-based advice.

“You do have to try and find a way to turn qualitative, subjective, amorphous goals into quant so you can actually do something with them. The software that we’ve built helps planners and their clients timebox their goals,” Ms Abood said.

She added, “Technology really hasn’t been helping us with reporting for our clients.

“It would be great to have a system which allowed us to categorise assets in a way that makes sense for the client and in the way that we manage their money in a goals-based approach.

“It becomes really challenging for staff to manage the compliance side of things.”

Mr Walker also voiced the need for effective probability analysis tools.

“There is no software that will easily prepare a goals probability guide path that you can compare and put to the client and set some sort of basis,” he said.

“There is a bunch of people out there looking to evolve in this sort of area but nothing that I know of at the moment.”

Despite a gap in technology support, both Mr Walker and Ms Abood stressed the importance of adopting a goals-based approach to financial advice.

“In the discourse of business, you always hear people talking about the ‘why’. Goals-based was the ‘why’ that was missing from our business,” Ms Abood said.

Mr Walker added, “Adopting goals-based has vastly simplified the client communication. Given, a. the performance outcomes, b. the better client communication and c. their understanding of what we're doing and why we're doing it vastly reduces business risk and ultimately has enhanced our business.”

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