The Australian financial advice industry is facing a great wave of suppressed demand; a wave of change and one of opportunity and there are lessons that can be taken from countries which are well ahead us, the 2021 AFA EVOLVE conference heard.
Andrew Inwood, founder and principal of CoreData, told the virtual conference attendees that the Australian industry doesn’t need to reinvent the systems and processes it needs to be successful as he mapped out the changes he has seen in the UK market, which he believes is five years ahead.
First up is making the technology remove the work. He pointed to the “interesting and intense” relationships UK advisers have with their tech platforms by making sure they are powerful and drive systems inside the business.
Inwood says the technology, for many businesses, is “streets ahead” and it’s the disciplines and processes around technology that has made the difference.
Some UK business had to be transformed which meant changing people and processes and getting new people to adhere to the processes.
Inwood says the next thing was better relationships between the networks (as the UK calls licensees) and advisers. The British have found a way to make the networks and advisers much more aligned in outcomes.
He sees this as a big brother, little brother relationship as unless the advisers are happy and getting the processes they want the licensees will not be successful. A joint view of the world is important.
Inwood’s third point was that while risk is much the same in the UK, they have taken a lot of the risk off the table by letting the process do the work and de-risk it.
If any error happens it’s ‘was the process wrong or followed’ or is something systemically wrong or is there fraud inside the business?
“By setting up the process to do the heavy lifting, by signing off with the regulator, by making sure it’s really transparent it removes a lot of the risks that exist inside the business now.”
…the industry is doing a powerful job of anchoring the value which they create…
His fourth observation from the United Kingdom is that the industry is doing “a very powerful job of anchoring the value which they create…we fumble this away routinely as an industry.”
He says advisers routinely don’t talk about the value they create but need to find a way to remind people that every quarter they have added value to the process and the relationship.
He adds that communicating this has to become a fundamental part of what is done on a regular basis.
The final thing for the Australian industry, he says, is getting beyond the work and, getting to the brand, giving people an emotive reason to choose them. The rest of the world is a long way ahead in creating a brand that pulls people to them.
On this marketing front he says all great businesses:
- Build a clear narrative on a value statement
- Understand clearly what they are (and are not)
- Define their category, who they are selling to
- Understand and choose how they make people feel
- Has done everything possible to remove the ‘work’ from the business.