Digital Statements of Advice are key to improving the advice experience, says Financial Planning Association of Australia CEO, Dante De Gori, following the release of research findings conducted by its Future of the Statement of Advice Working Group.
Presented at the 2019 FPA Professionals Congress in Melbourne, the findings showed examples of technology and services available that can help financial planners develop more meaningful client experiences during the advice process.
“By adopting technology to deliver advice in a smarter, safer, and more efficient way, the best client outcomes can be reached,” said De Gori.
“The future of financial advice delivery will be one where every client is given their own individual, tailored experience based on their unique communication and behavioural preferences.”
He added: “It will harness the power of appropriate digital technology solutions to make the experience a meaningful and more engaging one for the client. It’s about prioritising what’s best for the client, rather simply ticking compliance and legal requirements.”
“…make the experience a meaningful and more engaging one for the client.”
The Future of the SoA working group aims to create a vision of what the future SoA could look and feel like and consists of financial planning professionals including members, regulators, compliance experts, lawyers, licensees, content and digital media specialists, and advice technology specialists.
The FPA stated the current bulky SoA printouts or lengthy PDFs that clients receive contribute to a less than engaging client experience and makes it difficult for them to fully understand the information.
FPA Head of Policy & Standards, Ben Marshan, says they explored how technology can be harnessed to improve the advice experience and progress the evolution of the SoA.
“Numerous consumer behavioural finance research reports identify that the long-form, text-heavy way that SoAs are provided to clients does not match up with the way that a large majority of people best digest and understand complex information,” he said.
The FPA stated it has been working with fintech companies to create digital SoA technology and has conducted consumer testing on digital SoA examples and all consumers tested preferred a digital SoA and the ability to engage with and learn from their advice rather than read paper based SoAs.
As a result of its research, the FPA has concluded modes of communication such as video, audio, imagery, infographics, graphs and even quizzes are very effective ways to deliver advice.
“It’s about ‘breaking paper’…”
“Our vision for the near future is to enable clients to engage with their own personal, interactive, real-time financial plan, in a secure portal or on a smartphone app,” said Marshan.
“It’s about ‘breaking paper’ – we must utilise the full breadth of digital, tech and communication modes available to allow advice delivery to be more accessible, personalised and meaningful for clients.”