Midwinter has developed a technology solution designed to help advisers tap into previously un-serviced parts of the market by utilising ‘robo-advice’.
The soon to be released Digital Advice Framework will enable advisers to deliver advice online, generating significant cost and efficiency benefits for their practices. Clients will be able to experience the full advice process: from the ‘trigger event’ which causes them to seek out a financial product or advice, through the fact find, strategy recommendation including risks and benefits, and Statement of Advice (SoA) generation, to the implementation of the recommended strategy.
The insurance component allows the client to complete their own needs analysis. Then, utilising research already housed within the Midwinter AdviceOS system, the tool will generate a product recommendation, based on the client’s responses. For example, if the client is a female, the solution can apply an algorithm to the research database to identify those products which have the highest rating for breast and ovarian cancer.
According to Midwinter, the adviser can also implement a referral point at any stage of the process, to manage client engagement. If the adviser would prefer to conduct their own product research, for example, they need only utilise the online needs analysis tool, and then use the results to create a recommendation which is presented in person to the client.
The solution was built in response to the growing consumer demand for ‘DIY’ advice services, but with the intention of bringing this into the hands of advisers.
“There are already direct products available in the Australian market, but they usually don’t come with advice. Clients can apply online, but they have to do their own research before they select a single product provider to work with,” explained Midwinter Managing Director, Julian Plummer.
“There are also some simplified needs analysis questions built into websites, which effectively generate leads for an advice provider. But with these offers, the client can only go so far, and then has to wait for the adviser to call them back, at a time which may not be convenient and can result in high disengagement.”
He said with Midwinter’s new solution, licensees and advisers could compliment product manufacturers’ offerings, because the software is product agnostic.
“In our market, the product manufacturers are really the only ones with the resources to develop online advice tools, not individual advisers. But it doesn’t make sense for the product manufacturers to build a solution to service the whole market. They, quite rightly, are looking to invest in technology that makes it easier for advisers and clients to place more business into their product,” Mr Plummer said.
…this is a way for advisers to reach the significant part of the market that does not believe in advice
A good example of this is online applications for insurance and e-underwriting engines:
“Each insurer has their own eApp software. Some of these come with a needs analysis component, but ultimately the adviser has to download and engage with each provider through separate software,” said Midwinter Digital Advice Product Manager, Halie Samson.
“What we hope to do is to deliver Straight-Through-Processing from needs analysis right through to application submission, where the client could actually generate their own SoA, and then implement the recommended product solution themselves, by completing the eApp, all in the one online transaction. We’re about to commence talks with a number of insurers about integrating their systems.”
However, Midwinter was keen to point out that at all times the adviser retained the client relationship.
“The client’s data is stored in the adviser’s CRM, and they can collaborate with the client at any point in the process, to match their existing advice methodology. But this is a way for advisers to reach the significant part of the market that does not believe in advice, or would not seek out an adviser, believing instead that they can do it themselves. It introduces the client, through a digital platform, to the advice process, which the adviser can then leverage to build a long-term relationship,” Mr Plummer concluded.
The first component of the Digital Advice Framework is due for release at the end of June 2015.