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Wealth Wizards’ Firth: Advice profession needs to “step up to the plate” and address advice divide

Andrew Firth

Rebecca Tomes speaks to Andrew Firth, Founder and CEO of Wealth Wizards, about the advice gap and why and how they can help IFA firms to attract new clients of lower value and also make them profitable.

RT: Can you describe who Wealth Wizards are, as well as your ethos and proposition?

AF: We are a digital financial advice business – very much a technology business. Our founding purpose is to make financial advice affordable and accessible to everybody by using technology. We talk about the benefits and potential of digital advice, which involves how we use the internet, our mobile phones, and all the other digital devices to make financial advice more accessible and cheaper to deliver. There’s also automation, which involves how we can make the decisions involved in financial advice more efficient using algorithms and other tech processes to support the decision making.

There are two sides to what we do.

One element is self-service guidance and simple advice where clients can help themselves to basic advice and guidance. The other element relates to what we call a hybrid model which is offered by our Turo platform. Here we’re supporting financial advisers and/or other people who work in a financial advice practice to communicate with the client, but in an efficient and effective way using digital technologies such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

We’re also helping to automate some of the more time-consuming advice elements, such as fact finds, suitability reports and reviewing and validation of data, making the processes slicker and less time intensive. This helps free up advisers and back-office staff to work on client relationships and revenue generating tasks.

We have a white-label side to our business where we work with asset managers and major banks. We also have our own brand – MyEva – which is an employer proposition which we sell to employers. In total we have about 50 employers who use MyEva and 50,000 employees who can access MyEva, which is a digital adviser in the workplace.

RT: We see that IFA firms typically serve clients over a set net wealth, because of the high costs of delivering financial advice. Can technology help advisers both attract and make profitable lower value clients?

AF: Yes, I think it absolutely can, and I think it can still establish very valuable clients. But I think that, typically, IFAs have had to start serving wealthier and wealthier clients to make their models work. That’s because there is so much effort involved in serving an individual client these days – both to be compliant and to do the right job for the client.

What we are bringing to market is two sides to how advisers can serve slightly lower value clients.
One is by offering self-service guidance and simple advice, which would allow advisers to do things like simple ISAs, pension top ups, and annual reviews using a self-service digital medium. The other is by offering productivity tools so that advisers can complete a case much more quickly – and that does not mean less time with the client.

If a typical client engagement means two or three hours of FaceTime, we’re not really saying that we’re going to save a huge amount of that time – although there is some we can save. Our focus is more on saving time back in the office where all the analysis, research, calculating and bringing together of information is going on. That’s really where we are adding huge value using the hybrid model.

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