Product providers need to invest in their back-office admin and improve their service if they are to help advice firms fulfil the Regulator’s Consumer Duty intentions, says Origo.
The FinTech, with 33 years’ experience of delivering technology solutions to the industry, says advice firms are crying out for providers to improve their service.
The lang cat’s State of the Adviser Nation report*, published in January, flagged key areas advisers stated they want providers to improve on. These included service levels, better integration, accountability, straight-through-processing and more universally accepted processes (such as for letters of authority and transfers).
This re-enforced the research consultancy’s autumn 2022 report, A Fragmented World**, which revealed the two key areas where platforms and providers were negatively affecting adviser service to their clients, as integration between systems and services and the letter of authority process.
Anthony Rafferty, CEO Origo, says: “The Consumer Duty principles put the focus of advice firms very firmly on achieving good outcomes for consumers. This also makes good business sense, as greater focus on delivering excellent service to clients is how firms maintain and grow their propositions.
“But if a large part of adviser focus is on their back-office and administration processes, when it doesn’t need to be, this is not efficient for the business. Nor does it help advisers serve existing clients or onboard and service new clients.
“Advice firms need their administration processes to be as efficient as possible so they can fully focus on the client, both from a business perspective and to align their service with the FCA’s Consumer Duty principles of delivering a good outcome for the client.
“Firms are being hampered by slow and inefficient (sometimes paper-based) processes of providers. While advisers are having to throw staff at dealing with these processes, by manually processing data and information, they are incurring costs thrust on them by inefficiencies which are out of their control. As well as impacting their ability to serve their clients, quickly and efficiently, as they would wish.
“While recognising that provider time and resources are not infinite, the industry can make progress by tackling the key areas hampering advisers’ operations – essential processes such valuations integration and speedier letter of authority processing.
“These areas are where the industry can take significant and immediate strides towards better service to advice firms and better outcomes for consumers.”