Shorter service contracts, multiple service providers and a more flexible approach to how tech systems fit together are the outputs of a new wave of entrepreneurism in the advice industry, setting the stage for a dynamic and exciting 2021.
Entrepreneurial financial advisers are driving the push towards technology to help them deliver efficiencies in their business, with an appetite to explore change and a willingness to enact it.
This is heralding in a new era of shorter contracts as they are seeking the flexibility to move to new solutions that may better suit their needs.
It is also not uncommon to now have a group of advisers within a practice using different systems to provide the solutions they need to operate. This means they may be using different platform providers and software providers to each other, and they are not tied to their current provider. The lifespan of service contracts have been reduced, but if providers deliver a valued service, advisers are ready to move.
This flexibility and desire to seek out new solutions is the dawning of a new era in advice, as many smaller licensees can no longer rely on their former institutionally owned licensees to provide the services needed to run a practice.
The experience of COVID has certainly shaped the way they are thinking about this engagement as well as attitudes to old systems and ways. For example, the old days of being at work from nine to five, which used to exemplify productivity, is no longer universally accepted. Financial advice is also reassessing what productivity looks like in the context of running a viable and growing practice.
As a result, advisers are thinking about new ways and new possibilities with the knowledge they can’t rely on what they used to in the past. Advisers are asking themselves, are we doing business in the most effective and efficient way or are we doing it this way because it is all we have known?
Advisers talking to Roar Software are thinking differently about how they engage with their clients, with practices looking for new ways to deliver this engagement and to then build the processes around it for its delivery. They are more goals-based and interactive, and to provide advice in the manner they want to, they must rethink how they approach advice and the systems and processes they use to support it.
The industry is ripe for change and, arguably, it is easier for change to take place now that many of the roadblocks have been removed. The demise of vertical integration and the departure of institutions from wealth management has freed up the industry again to be innovative and to grow. The shackles are off and the barriers to entry have now been removed.
But it does pose some challenges. The two-person advice practice does not have the infrastructure in place to deliver the practice services once extended to them by their institutional owners when they were licensed through them. As a result, smaller licensees struggle because they have to manage the increased cost burden.
It is in this challenging environment that a renewed appetite for solutions outside of the normal has taken shape. Smaller groups have been forced to ask themselves how they can leverage technology to get scale and be compliant.
Against this backdrop, innovation and technology are stepping in as a dynamic and exciting solution, and as they interact with the advice industry, an energy and positivity is emerging again, one we haven’t seen for some time.
Kevin Liao, co-founder and chief executive, Roar Software
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