I’m normally talking about our own futures, but today I’m focusing on how technology may change the way we, as financial planners, engage with our clients. One thing is for sure… 10 years out from now, our interaction is likely to look very different.
Change is happening fast. According to the Economist (Masters of the Universe, October 5, 2019), the amount of money managed via computers has exceeded the sums actively looked after by humans. The UK will no doubt arrive in the same place eventually.
There is also no doubt in my mind that development of technology will also enable a broader range of people to engage more easily with financial planning, which is something I endorse wholeheartedly.
Technological developments are centre stage here at Blue Sky and it works pretty well – most of the time! We see ourselves as a modern firm, helped of course by having young Directors! Yet, there are issues. Trying to find joined up integrated technology solutions that do what we want, is extremely difficult. Then we have ‘Robo Advice’. These are low cost digital investment platforms which are ideal for younger people looking to save money at an early age. Ideal for the children of many of our clients. Although there are offerings out there, we can’t find one which complements our existing services.
Then we have the challenge of how our clients want to receive information. Like most firms we have a wide and varied set of clients who require different approaches and interactions. Simply put, they don’t all want the same customer experience. Change has happened so fast and it has naturally left some clients in its wake. Some still want to receive information in paper format, whilst others don’t want paper anywhere near them!
From what I’ve seen across our sector however, increased regulation is actually creating standardisation of service rather than a greater emphasis on a flexible bespoke offering. I personally am always fighting against this – flexibility it vital.
I encourage the Blue Sky team to always ask clients how they want to receive information. Increased regulation has created an avalanche of reporting and sending information electronically is not only quicker and more efficient, but it’s also more environmentally friendly than a 100 page document landing on your door mat! But, not everyone wants documentation electronically so it’s vital we ask and tailor our service.
How we make people feel and what we cause is always uppermost in our minds. Technological limitations within the financial services space, here in the UK, can cause issues for any advisory practice with technology at the heart of its service proposition, and we have to be careful that we don’t create issues for our clients. We are supposed to be here to take the hassle out of managing money, not create problems.
In 10 years’ time we may be using Virtual Reality headsets to engage with our financial planning. There is likely to be a greater ‘gamification’ of how clients interact with financial planning. Data collection will be far simpler. Artificial Intelligence will no doubt improve probability modelling for the future. In the meantime though, I’m interested to hear what technology we could use today to enhance our service here at Blue Sky.
All this got me thinking about how we could improve our engagement and service proposition. In the New Year we will be seeking feedback from our clients, but I’d like to kick off this exercise by asking anyone reading this blog if they have any suggestions as to how we can utilise technology better, to enhance our proposition.
To help stimulate those creative juices, a prize draw will take place for all suggestions. A Marks and Spencer’s Christmas Hamper could be on its way to you! Entries close on the 30th November 2019. Your help will be much appreciated.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts. Please email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gary Neild B.Sc.Hons. DipIP PFA