How do financial advice companies scale their businesses to bring on more clients and give all clients the quality of service they expect, both in terms of digital experience and the personal touch? Microservices are the answer, says Wealth Wizards’ Simon Binney.
Consolidation and growth of financial advice businesses in the UK continues unabated and one of the key issues many national and other large advisory companies encounter is how to scale up their business, while continuing to deliver a high-quality personalised service both digitally and with the personal touch.
What clients increasingly expect these days and clients of the future will consider normal advice service, is the ability to be educated and informed in respect of their finances and to undertake straightforward transactions themselves, but also have access to financial planning help when needed, and importantly, all within a trusted environment.
This is the consumer-led, human-assisted advice service (offering hybrid capabilities) which a growing number of larger advice and wealth management companies are increasingly rolling out.
Delivering across this spectrum of customer needs requires a set of microservices that can be deployed by financial advice companies depending on the service they wish to provide to their clients. This can be from guidance and simple codified (fully automated) advice through to fully automated and
For clients with simpler needs, a consumer-led guidance and simple codified advice proposition can be an effective way of attracting new customers, introducing them to new products and starting a long-term relationship.
Clients who have more complex cases and/or who require recommendation refinements, can be guided to a triage service. The client still receives codified advice, but in an environment where a human adviser is overseeing the process as either the ‘co-pilot’ or who can override the codified advice, for example in complex areas of financial planning such as retirement or consolidation.
Clients are encouraged to engage with the digital interface, where they can play with the tools that personalises the journey for them with a wealth of digestible content, and then to take action to improve their financial wellbeing. That could be through guided outcomes or fully-fledged regulated
This is working well for large advice firms, banks and wealth management firms who can serve their growing numbers of lower net worth clients with guidance and simple advice – with the option of triaging them into full codified advice where required. Crucially, it also provides a more efficient and frictionless experience for their high net worth clients with a combination of codified and human-assisted advice.
Overall, for the advice firm this reduces process time and creates more relationship time for each adviser, which in turn enables the firm to serve many more clients and all to a high and fully compliant standard.
For example, we’ve been working with a tier one bank for over three years. They have over 35 retirement advisers who use our codified advice daily to consolidate legacy retirement pots and direct their clients to the most suitable at-retirement solution, using an effective blend of codified and
Importantly, by engaging clients through the micro-services approach, the advice firm can deliver exactly the level of service needed by the client at that time, helping to improve their financial wellbeing and creating the trusted environment that will see referrals occur naturally.
Through consumer-led, human-assisted advice, we believe the financial advice market can make great strides to improve people’s financial wellbeing (which several research studies have shown to be directly correlated with mental and physical wellbeing also) and help close the advice gap.
The micro services approach enables firms to implement tools in a way that satisfies client needs and at a pace that suits a firm’s business model.