Fraser Stewart, CCO of Lyfeguard shares practical tips to help advisers to harness and integrate some of the benefits of today’s digital world to reduce the administration burden on themselves and on their clients.
In the bustling world of finance, advisers play a pivotal role in guiding clients through the intricate maze of financial decisions. However, both IFAs and their clients often grapple with the administrative aspects of their relationship. Simplifying this ‘life admin’ can lead to a smoother, more efficient advisory process, benefiting both parties.
Streamlining Processes for IFAs
In the fast-paced world of financial advice, efficiency is paramount. IFAs often find themselves juggling multiple tasks, with administrative duties often taking precedence over client interactions.
Streamlining these processes can not only enhance productivity, but also improve the overall client-adviser relationship. This can include implementing secure digital portals where clients can upload necessary documents, view their investment portfolios, and communicate directly with their advisers, which can in turn drastically reduce paperwork and streamline communication.
Leveraging automated scheduling tools can also afford clients the ability to book, reschedule, or cancel appointments easily, freeing up significant time for IFAs and allowing them to focus more on advisory roles. Adopting systems that consolidate client data in one place simplifies data retrieval and management, making client interactions more efficient.
It also goes without saying that staying compliant is crucial for IFAs. Thus, investing in software that automatically updates with regulatory changes can ensure that advisers are always in line with the latest requirements.
Easing the Admin Load for Clients
Clients often turn to financial advisers with the hope of simplifying their financial affairs and complexities, envisaging a future where their finances are not just in order, but also easily manageable and on track to help them achieve their goals in life.
However, the traditional administrative processes, filled with paperwork and manual interventions, can often dampen this experience. The modern client seeks efficiency, clarity, and convenience. Recognising this, IFAs can revolutionise the client experience by integrating digital solutions and reducing administrative burdens.
The onboarding process sets the tone for the entire adviser-client relationship, and the first impression remains a lashing one. By transitioning to digital onboarding, IFAs can offer clients a seamless start. Digital forms eliminate the need for physical paperwork, and e-signatures expedite the process, which not only speeds up processes, but also introduces the client to a tech-forward advisory approach.
Consolidated Financial Dashboards
One of the primary challenges clients face is the scattered nature of their financial data. They might have investments with one institution, insurance with another, and bank accounts elsewhere.
Offering a unified dashboard that consolidates all this information provides clients with a singular, comprehensive view of their financial health. This centralised approach reduces the stress of logging into multiple platforms and ensures that clients have a real-time snapshot of their finances at their fingertips.
Knowledge is power, and education, empowering. While IFAs are there to guide clients, providing them with educational resources can foster a sense of independence. Digital tutorials on how to use the platform, FAQs about common financial queries, or even webinars on financial planning can equip clients with the knowledge to handle minor tasks on their own. This not only reduces the back-and-forth communication for small queries, but also ensures that clients are more empowered, informed and confident about their financial decisions.
Regular Digital Updates
The traditional model of annual financial reviews or quarterly updates can sometimes leave clients in the dark about their financial status. By offering regular digital updates, IFAs can ensure that clients are always in the loop. Whether it’s a monthly snapshot of their investment performance, alerts about market changes, or reminders about upcoming financial commitments, these digital touchpoints keep clients informed and engaged without overwhelming them with paperwork.
The Future of IFA-Client Interactions
As the financial advisory landscape undergoes a seismic shift driven by technological advancements, the role of an IFA is no longer confined to just offering financial advice. In the digital age, the expectations of clients are evolving, with the tools at an IFA’s disposal becoming more sophisticated.
AI and Machine Learning
The power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is undeniable and in the realm of financial advice, these technologies are set to play a significant role. By analysing vast datasets, AI can predict client needs, offering proactive advice even before the client realises they need it.
Furthermore, routine tasks like data entry or basic queries can be automated, allowing IFAs to focus on more complex advisory roles. ML, with its ability to identify patterns, can offer insights into client behaviour, enabling IFAs to tailor their advice more effectively.
The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of remote interactions, but even as the world gradually returns to normalcy, the convenience and efficiency of virtual meetings cannot be overlooked.
For IFAs and clients spread across various geographies, virtual financial consultations offer a practical solution. Not only do they reduce the need for physical travel and paperwork, but they also allow for more flexible scheduling, ensuring that consultations can happen at a time convenient for both parties.
Personalised Client Experiences
The modern client now seeks more than just financial advice – they seek an experience. With the advent of data analytics, IFAs have a treasure trove of information at their fingertips.
This data can be leveraged to craft highly personalised advisory experiences. Whether it’s understanding a client’s risk appetite, their long-term financial goals, or their spending habits, data analytics offers a deep dive into the client’s psyche. Armed with this knowledge, IFAs can tailor their advice to align perfectly with individual client needs, preferences, and life goals.
The administrative aspect of financial advice no longer needs to be cumbersome for IFAs and their clients. By embracing digital solutions and simplifying processes, IFAs can focus more on what they do best: offering sound financial advice and helping clients achieve their goals. Clients can also be afforded the ability to enjoy a seamless, hassle-free advisory experience, ensuring a fruitful, long-lasting relationship.
About Fraser Stewart
Fraser Stewart is the Co-Founder & Chief Commercial Officer at Lyfeguard, a life planning assistant and document management platform for both consumers and Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs). Prior to founding Lyfeguard, Fraser worked in commercial roles as a Digital Marketing Specialist at British Airways before going on to become a Digital Acquisitions Manager at HSBC. Fraser is committed to creating tech solutions to ease the problems people face in life with life admin and end-of-life planning.