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Technology — Solution or hindrance to advice industry regulation? | Ten Year Retrospective

Part of our series of retrospective blogs celebrating IFA Magazine’s ten year anniversary, Jackie Boylan, Head of FundsNetwork, shares her thoughts on why she believes technology to be, at the same time, a solution and a hindrance to advisers addressing regulatory change.

“Developments in regulation and technology are responsible for some of the most significant changes to take place in the advice industry within the past 10 years. The Retail Distribution Review (RDR) and MiFID have required advisers to adapt, placing even greater demands upon their time in order to remain compliant. This means finding new, more efficient ways of working without having to sacrifice time spent with clients – and this is where technology and platforms play such an important role.

“Technology is both a solution to addressing this regulatory change, and a disruptive force in its own right. This is evident in the rapid growth of the platform market during this period, which looks set to continue – I’d expect to see some new entrants as well as further acquisition activity. However, as the saying goes, you can have too much of a good thing, and that’s certainly true of technology. As more systems are introduced, the more conversations need to be had between them to ensure they integrate effectively. This is where platforms and advisers need to work together, identifying challenges and how to address them with specific propositions, and I think we’ll see many examples of co-creation in years to come.

“It certainly feels like many of the trends that have emerged over the past decade have accelerated in the past 18 months. For example, the ways in which advisers engage with clients through to how they work themselves, with so many working remotely and unable to meet face-to-face. While virtual communication is likely to remain a big part of our lives in the future, there’s a real desire for in-person meetings that can help to strengthen relationships. What’s key here is that technology provides the flexibility for advisers and their clients to choose how they work together.

“Demand for advice looks set to increase in the coming years; the financial needs of the UK’s ageing population, shift in wealth between generations, and desire to prepare for the unexpected prompted by the pandemic are all set to increase awareness of the importance of financial planning. What’s going to be key is how the industry ensures that all those who require advice are able to access it.”

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