Advisers uncertain on tech despite COVID gains

While more financial advisers are leveraging technology than ever before, they aren’t sure it’s working.

Advisers have “significantly expanded” their use of online meetings, digital signature tools and social media management systems since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown – but a third of advisers do not believe their platform and planning software help them demonstrate value to clients, while 38 per cent do not believe they help boost efficiency.

“Planners trust their technology providers to help them improve the quality of their advice delivery, and providers can do more to satisfy their high expectations,” said Investment Trends research director Recep Peker.

“A key first step is improving the online client-facing capabilities available to planners and their clients. For instance, planners currently give just 40 per cent of their total client base access to an online portal, but they want to expand this capability to more clients, with 44 per cent preferring all their clients to have online portal access.”

2020 also saw an intensification of platform switching, with 29 per cent of advisers saying they stopped placing new business on a platform in the last year – the third consecutive year of rising switching activity.

“Platform relationships are being challenged by the twin headwinds of the royal commission and the global pandemic,” said Mr Peker.

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“Not only has platform switching reached a post-GFC high, planners are also broadening the range of platforms they use … In the face of pandemic-induced market volatility, financial planners are relying heavily on platforms for high quality service and support, with minimised service disruptions.”

The average adviser uses 2.6 platforms each, up from 2.3 in 2018 and 2.1 in 2019. Advisers were generally satisfied with the support provided by platforms through the COVID-19 crisis (77 per cent rated it as ‘good’ or ‘adequate’) while 23 per cent were dissatisfied.

Advisers uncertain on tech despite COVID gains
Advisers uncertain on tech
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