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New-look SOAs must be driven by client experience

An adviser said less onerous SOA requirements should spur advisers to create documents that are led by client experience.

Ahead of the Adviser Innovation Summit 2024, Verse Wealth CEO Corey Wastle said he hopes moving to a principles-based advice record will shift advisers’ perspective from being compliance led to client experience led.

Under the Delivering Better Financial Outcomes roadmap for financial advice reform, the proposal is for statements of advice (SOAs) to be replaced with a more “fit-for-purpose” advice record that must address the subject matter/scope, the advice, reasons for the advice, and the cost of the advice to the client and/or benefits received by the adviser.

Advisers will still be required to give the record to the client.

“If these changes are implemented, I hope advisers will think about how their clients want to receive their advice,” Wastle said.

“I hope they think about how clients want to engage with them, how they can communicate their advice to clients most effectively, and what must and need not be documented.

“As a result, the clients can hopefully receive shorter, simpler, engaging, and valuable advice documents that ultimately make for a better client experience.”


Rather than being led by legislative changes, Wastle and his team launched video SOAs in November 2022, musing that advisers don’t need to wait for the government to amend legislation to use the medium.

During his session at the Adviser Innovation Summit, Wastle will delve into how advisers could use video documentation and other technology to implement the new SOA if it comes into effect.

He scrapped the 80-page “jargonistic, confusing, and compliance led” SOA and began recording all his Zoom and face-to-face meetings with clients.

Then, he created a digital folder on Microsoft SharePoint and added all the recorded meetings, along with a shorter 3,500-word advice document called the summary of advice.

Clients can access their documents in the folder via a two-factor authentication, including the summary of advice, PDF documents, slides, and other material from the meeting.

“We found that by making these changes and reducing the size of our paraplanning team, the client experience became faster because they don’t have a long document to read that can potentially confuse them,” Wastle said.

“When building our process, we understood that we were complying with all regulations because the video recording covers everything that was included in the SOA. The adviser will routinely confirm with the client their goals and current position.

“They will explain the recommendations and why they made them, and the benefits and disadvantages of those recommendations. That is a large part of what needs to go in a statement of advice so you don’t need to rehash it in a long document.”

He said clients can provide verbal consent to proceed with the advice during the meeting which he can implement immediately instead of forcing clients to read the long SOA, sign it, and send it back to him.

“The 80-page SOA is a detraction from and inconsistent with all other elements of the client experience,” Wastle said.

“We’ve now got a document that conveys the essence and value of advice effectively, as opposed to one that you’d want to hide from your clients,” Wastle said.

To hear more from Corey Wastle about how he enhanced client experience through video documentation, come along to the Adviser Innovation Summit 2024.

It will be held on Tuesday, 4 June at the Telstra Customer Insights Centre, Sydney, and Thursday, 6 June at Zinc at Fed Square, Melbourne.

Click here to buy your tickets and don’t miss out!

For more information, including agenda and speakers, click here.

This summit is produced by Captivate Events. If you need help planning your next event, email director Jim Hall at [email protected]