Those who follow me on social media will know that I’ve spent this week presenting at the Advice Tech Emporium, showcasing the latest tech developments in our market. It has been a great experience and has underscored the benefits of placing technology at the heart of your business – a move that could drive future growth, efficiencies and improve engagement with clients.
This brings an important question to the fore:
How can advisers make better use of technology within their businesses?
Research shows that many clients want to engage digitally and would like the firms they engage with to become paperless. However, progress appears to be slow. A study by EY found that only 28% of customers across UK financial services are paperless. Meanwhile between 2016 and 2018, a decrease of only 3.6% was recorded in customer document spend across the sector. Clearly, there is work to be done.
Even when it comes to meetings, anecdotal evidence suggests that clients want to engage on a paperless basis. This helps to explain the growing number of tablets spotted in adviser/client meetings. Of course, I recognise that certain documentation is a regulatory obligation, but why not post items securely and digitally to an online portal, and use the face-to-face time to engage with clients about the things that matter in their lives?
Another aspect to consider is whether it could be worthwhile to launch an App to give your clients ready access to information, at their fingertips. My advice for anyone considering whether to invest in an App is to make sure it is fit for purpose and fulfils the requirements of your clients. This means testing and piloting it with clients early on – the last thing you want is to invest significant time and money to create something that fails to gain traction.
One discretionary fund management firm (DFM) leading the way when it comes to digital engagement is RC Brown Investment Management. Here’s just one way the business is using technology to provide a better and more efficient service to clients…
RC Brown used to generate around 12,000 quarterly client reports, using an external printer at a cost of £12,000 to £14,000 each time. Nowadays, it uses technology to generate the reports digitally – a process that only takes 11 seconds! What’s more, the resultant reports are distributed directly and securely to the individual client document libraries.
Although this has involved a substantial investment in RC Brown’s digital capability, it will ultimately save the business time and money. It should also strengthen the firm’s relationship with its clients. Using technology can improve efficiency and dramatically reduce cost: at a time of full fee transparency, this is an important factor to consider.
RC Brown’s secure portal also offers impressive functionality to both advisers and their underlying clients. It delivers the following:
» Daily portfolio valuations
» Up-to-date transactions
» Secure messaging for client instructions, which is encrypted end-to-end
» A breakdown of all holdings in the portfolio
» Historic valuations and charts
» Asset allocation information
» Quarterly reporting, ad hoc reporting, tax packs and other correspondence
» App available on desktop, mobile and tablet
In addition, the company offers advisers and direct clients a cost calculator, which is featured on its website. This generates ‘live’ estimates of the all-in annual cost to the client, which is a handy tool – particularly in our post-MiFID II environment.
There are clear benefits associated with investing in technology. The key is to focus on what your clients need and ultimately use technology to make their engagements with you easier and hassle-free. Don’t put off tech-related spending decisions any longer. The time is ripe!
This article was created for the DISCUS website, illustrating how RC Brown are using technology to create efficiencies and better serve their clients. To find out more about RC Brown please visit their dedicated page here.