When talking with potential clients about why they should be implementing a hybrid advice model – automation and digital-first – and how they can do so, several key questions arise, says Simon Binney, business development director at Wealth Wizards, who provides in-depth insight into hybrid advice and the pain points it addresses for financial advice firms.
Hybrid advice is being talked about across the financial advice sector as a means for companies to sustain, grow and future-proof their businesses. So, in this article, I want to provide a run through of the key points you need to know when you are assessing whether hybrid is right for your business.
First, what is hybrid advice?
In a nutshell, the hybrid advice model helps firms automate their processes and digitise the advice journey. This makes a firm’s processes more efficient, compliant, and cost effective. It frees up staff time – including advisers, paraplanners, administrators and compliance officers – meaning they can focus on the aspects of the advice process that add real value for the client – the part the client is interested in.
Digital services can offer self-serve, simplified guidance, and advice, such as for ISA and pension top-ups, through to full hybrid advice, where machine learning, aligned to a firm’s advice policy, can accurately direct the client through the best advice route for their needs, be that for retirement planning, pension guidance or wealth accumulation through an investment strategy.
This includes a process where clients with more complex circumstances, or higher wealth levels, can be offered an automated approach, but with the human touch of personal face-to-face advice from a financial adviser being introduced, at the right time for the client and the business.
It makes the customer journey intuitive, easy, and more convenient and tailored to their needs, while also giving the advice business the ability to take on more clients at the wealth level that aligns with their business strategy, and so earn more revenue.
Importantly, in an increasingly digital world, it enables businesses to interact and attract the younger generation of wealth accumulators to become clients, and deal with them profitably, helping to sustain and grow the business going forward.
Assessing the business case
The first step when assessing whether hybrid advice is the way forward for your business, is to look at the current operational challenges you have within the business. A few of the issues which we see, and most companies say resonate with them, include:
- An onboarding process that takes too long and ties down the advisers, paraplanners, administrators and compliance officers in significant amounts and hours of work.
- Technology which isn’t integrated and requires considerable manual input – typically in re-keying information between systems, adding time and errors.
- Inconsistent processes and practices and duplication of processes. This could be the need to hold client data on more than one system, re-keying of data, taking incomplete fact find information and having to re-approach the client to fill the gap.
- Unnecessary time spent writing hefty suitability reports, either from scratch or templates, which can be driven by compliance issues, over delivering great customer service.
- Operations taking time from the business and restricting the ability of the business to grow as it should.
- Concerns around the ability to deliver the level of digital service increasingly expected by consumers and so attract the younger generation of wealth accumulators, who are more comfortable in a digital world.
Do any of these resonate with you?