News in Brief

  • Advice Support Business Finds New Home;
  • Fintech Uptake Slow as Advisers Watch Developments;
  • Financial Services Sector Confident in Future

Advice Support Business Finds New Home

Financial advice support business Strategy Steps has been sold to specialist online learning provider with its principals set to move away from advice strategies and into aged care advice and support services for financial advisers.

Strategy Steps co-founders, Louise Biti and Assyat David stated they have sold the business to the knowIT group, owned by Wayne Wilson, Wendy Tyberek and Andrew Roberts, but would continue to maintain its online adviser support service, Desk Caddie, for a period of six months.

The sale, which was effective from 1 October, will free up Biti and David to develop their Aged Care Steps business which works with the financial services and aged care communities around advice on accessing and funding aged care.

“If we are to take Aged Care Steps to a position where it can meet its ever growing potential in supporting aged care advice, it needs our full time attention,” David said.

knowIT Group Chief Executive, Wayne Wilson said Desk Caddie had no direct competition and was used by major financial institutions and by 4000 planners but could still reach further into the wealth advice market.


Fintech Uptake Slow as Advisers Watch Developments

Financial advisers are adopting fintech more slowly than other professions and service sectors due to advisers believing human delivered advice cannot yet be replicated fully by online tools, according to a global survey.

The survey, conducted by the Financial Planning Standards Board with around 1700 Certified Financial Planners in 29 countries, found that advisers were reserving judgement about fintech but have moved on from early opposition which marked earlier surveys on the topic.

The survey report – Fintech and the Future of Financial Planning – stated the global financial advice community was taking a deliberate approach to the adoption of fintech because it felt face to face advice could not be replicated by automated tools, which have had limited success or are only offered as investment and portfolio management tools.

Survey respondents stated that fintech tools lacked the holistic, integrative needs of the financial planning process and many advisers were waiting to see what tools would be developed and survive in a competitive market.

Advisers were also concerned as to whether fintech tools and platforms promoted the interests of product distributors and devalued, or disintermediated, the role of adviser to the detriment of consumers.

The report stated the rise of fintech had been good for the advice sector which had been forced to clearly define the value of an adviser and posited that fintech providers should shift from focusing on consumers only and develop adviser support tools as well.


Financial Services Sector Confident in Future

Confidence among small to medium business owners in the financial services sector dropped over the past quarter but remains higher than the national average, according to the latest Sensis Business Index (SBI) survey.

The Index, which reflects the views of 1,000 small and medium businesses from across Australia, revealed three times as many businesses (57%) were confident compared to those who were worried (19%) resulting in a net balance score of +38, 11 points higher than this time last year.

The survey, which also covers 10 market sectors, found that confidence in the financial services sector fell from a high base and was the sharpest fall across all industry sectors.

The survey showed the 19 point increase in net confidence recorded last quarter (to +58) was erased by an 18 point fall to +40 this quarter, but still remains above the national average drawn from across the 10 sectors.

Falling sales and an unfavourable business environment were the biggest concerns for small to medium businesses but being an established, solid business was the most common reason for confidence.
Last quarter, financial services achieved the highest net balance results for prices (+24) and wages (+18) and second highest for sales (+20) while profitability was also above average at +11, while employment was at -2.

Reflecting the high overall confidence in the sector indicator expectations for this quarter remain high across the board with prices (+18), wages (+17) falling slightly and sales (+27), profitability (+23), and employment (+9) rising by a similar margin.