To future-proof their practices, all astute financial advisers need to have advisory processes and tools that are built around a strong digital capability. The speed of technological change, coupled with the imminent implementation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), have made digital essential to your success as an adviser.
This is according to Lizl Budhram, Head of Advice at Old Mutual Personal Finance, who believes that the integration of digital innovation is critical to the survival of financial advisers and offering customers a unique, personalised service.
“The pressures on traditional financial advisers are mounting: from greater customer expectations, disruptive competitors and robo-advisers to a stricter regulatory environment.
“A strong digital capability has become crucial to ensuring continued success and profitability in the industry. Along with bolstering an adviser’s value proposition, digital tools will serve to widen their reach, and enable them to make the most of their time, empowering them to engage more meaningfully and conveniently with customers.”
Budhram adds that having an arsenal of digital tools will also support advisers’ efforts to contribute to ongoing financial education.
“Digital interactive financial education and management platforms such as Old Mutual’s Moneyversity (www.moneyversity.co.za) and apps like 22seven empower customers to better manage their finances while strengthening an adviser’s value proposition.
“Essentially a one-stop destination for consumers seeking to better understand and manage their personal finances, a tool like Moneyversity will also create awareness and understanding around the value of financial advice, which is key in a world where customers will be paying for advice as a commodity.”
Budhram points out that when financial advice is seen as a separate commodity to financial products and solutions, consumers will want to know which brand is backing the advice. “It is vital for advisers to ensure that the company backing them is serious about customer-centric innovation that enhances the customer experience.
“The new Old Mutual Rewards programme was designed to encourage and reward responsible financial habits, and can play a key role in running a future-fit practice,” says Budhram.
“What’s more, it’s open to all South Africans, not just Old Mutual customers, so it serves as an ideal draw card in attracting new business.”
What’s most important, she adds, is for advisers to embrace digital for what it is – tools to support and enhance their service offering, and strengthen their relationships with their customers.
“A strong digital offering is not a substitute for human interactions, nor does it replace the core function of advisers. It provides an efficient support system, enabling advisers to focus on the irreplaceable human element of their role: offering tailored holistic advice.”