Financial advisers have the upper hand in fintech battle

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Australian advice firms have a huge opportunity to integrate fintech solutions into their businesses, rather than compete with digital channels, according to the CFA Institute.

Speaking to Adviser Innovation, CFA Institute’s APAC managing director Nick Pollard said US-based robo-advice platform Betterment started in 2008 believing that they could take the human being out of financial advice. However, in recent years the company has discovered that this isn’t actually what people want.

“People want a blend of the processing capabilities of fintech but also a human being at the end of the information that that leads to,” he said.

“If you think about that in a research context, researchers that provide information to advisers can cover a vast amount of information relatively quickly using fintech. That speed of response and the ability to cover a huge amount of ground is having a huge impact on our industry.

But what does this mean to the end customer? The successful advice firms of the future will arguably be the ones who have built trust with their clients and are able to leverage new technologies to meet their needs.

According to Mr Pollard, customers will have comprehensive research and a relationship manager in their adviser who will be able to concentrate completely on them, rather than getting stuck in the drier side of advice and research.

“Some countries are clearly embracing fintech quicker than others. China is leading the charge in terms of APAC,” he said.

“I don’t think anybody is underplaying the importance of investing in research and development of fintech solutions in wealth management.”

Mr Pollard said many advice practices are already integrating fintech solutions into their businesses.

“I would suspect that there is an awful lot more attention being paid now to that blend of human and digital and how you get that blend right. But it has to be based on what the customer wants as much as what works for you as an organisation.

“That’s the next part of this challenge – putting your customer first and understanding that fintech can play a part in that. What fintech has done is enable advisers to provide services to a much larger population.”

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