How Technology Supports Clients: Highlights from the December Investment Forum Part 3

How Technology Supports Clients: Highlights from the December Investment Forum Part 3

This is the third part of our summary looking back at the great conversation from our December Investment Forum featuring guest speakers Ray Adams from CashCalc, Jamie Sexton from True Potential, and Alan Easter from FTRC. 

Everyone expects to have all their information now at the touch of a button, it would be great to have a dashboard but that might not be realistic.

Jamie Sexton:

The security question is it is an interesting one because you do become very trusting, in terms of the apps, et cetera. And I’ve used a couple of these tools where I’ve just integrated it. But I think for me, I expect to see all my information at the touch of a button now. I don’t even expect to put a password in anymore if I’m being honest, I should just look at my screen and get it. And I think I’m probably that generation, which will just expect information and expect it just to be there. But I think security is a good point.

And always at the top of most of these agendas, I use Monzo as a bank and they just updated their security recently where I have to send an email and click on a link. And only, only two months ago, I could just click on the app and open it. So I think I’m very behind having all my finances in one place. I’m also very behind looking at pulling everything. I think that the dashboard was a good idea. It probably will never happen, in my view, unless we do link all as an industry, but how amazing would that be?

If we could just put an NI number in and pull everyone’s finances in one place in a secure way, it would, it would actually probably help the clients significantly as well as our industry. But whether that is something that will happen, I don’t know.

We are seeing adoption across all age groups, the most important part is that client feels the added value.

Ray Adams:

No, we’re not actually seeing any difference across age groups. So I think Jane put it in the comments, that it’s not necessarily an age issue, although Alan thinks it is– because I’m one year older than Alan and I run a tech company, I’m 56. So it’s certainly not an age issue.

It’s just whether that person feels comfortable and it’s added value. So one of the things we’ve tried to do on the digital fact-find is to give some friendly feedback to the client as they’re doing it. And the simple example of that is that we should never force the client to type in their address, just put your postcode in and we’ll fill the rest in.

And in fact, as soon as you select 123, high street, we’ll go and talk to land registry, bring it back, and we’ve already filled in when they moved into the house, because we know when they bought it and we know how much they paid for it. And in fact, on page five, before they enter assets, we already know that their house is an asset, so we’ve already pre completed page five of the fact find. And in fact, we complete the current value by bringing in a Zoopla type of valuation, which they can confirm.

So I think what we need to do as providers is not necessarily look at the age of the person. We just need to add value in their life and let them see there’s some benefit by engaging with us electronically. And I think, like I said with open banking, I think at the start it will be very slow. Because you will have people like Alan who will say, “I don’t trust this yet”, but they’ll slowly buy into it. And then suddenly it will be like Alan’s son, which is “well, Dad, everybody’s doing this.”

Clients know that we’re all remote when they come to us, and we give them a free technology session to make sure they feel comfortable.

Jane Hodges:

As I said earlier, wherever people can find us, it’s really clear what sort of journey they’re going to go on. So they never come to us thinking it’s going to be any different. Now, as far as I’m concerned, we’re a small business. There are millions of people out there that need financial advice. Some of them may want face-to-face, but there’s a whole chunk of them who’d be quite happy with what we do. And that’s why we’ve got so many people coming to us.

They know that when they’re coming to us, the first thing we do is we check out what technology they have and what they’re going to be using because sometimes a Mac is different than a laptop or a tablet. And then we offer them a 20 minute free technology session to try and help them with anything that they need. If they want that all the way along, they can pay us to give them technology sessions if they want to learn more. And so running alongside their financial planning, they have their technology one as well.

With technology you can have lots of small, regular conversations whenever its convenient rather than a few big ones.

Jane Hodges:

I think the one big difference is that you’re not doing one big fact-finding meeting and one big recommendation meeting. When you go to technology, you don’t have to worry about whether it’s the first question on a fact find or not. You just start to interact with the client and you do it however you want to.

However it comes, you don’t have to sit in a car for two hours to get to them. So it really is irrelevant. You press the button to do video conference, you can be in, off, go back a week. You can have a little conversation about risk and go back off again, you can have a little conversation about their budget.

The whole way you do an advice process changes, and it becomes extraordinary educational because you can just drop these things into them. That if you want to start to teach them how to use their iPad for five minutes, you can just do it. It’s not getting in the way of what tends to be really structured, sorry, old fashioned advice processes.

The fact find is actually more accurate if the client does it themselves.

Ray Adams:

Yeah, it’s really interesting. We were chatting earlier about how you definitely need an adviser in some parts of the process, but actually we find that when you let clients just do the digital fact-find themselves, actually it’s a more accurate fact-find. And there’s a really simple example of this is, if you’re doing a face-to-face meeting and you’ve identified the client needs to do some life cover, the adviser then says, “right, let’s get all the information down.”

I don’t need his NI number, because I’m only doing protection and I definitely don’t need her NI number cause I’m doing his protection. So actually what you now get is a fact find where it says “did not disclose” or “not available”. So you actually have a rubbish fact-find because you only take the information you need, so if you could just send the link to the client, they just fill it in. “Yeah, here’s my NI number. Here’s my wife’s NI number”, if they’re doing it together.

And you might think, “well actually wait, what’s the point of that because we’re doing protection? We don’t need it.” Actually, if they’re going to be clients and we’re going to engage with them, we’ll need it at some point. And going back to what Alan said, the regulator says you need to KYC. So get as much information as you can from the clients, and let them give it to you. In fact, they are the experts at knowing their information, let them give it to you.

The clients also work very hard to get the fact find right.

Jane Hodges:

The clients will also spend days over it. They do it really, really well. They go off and get all their bits and pieces. They’ll find them and spend a night analyzing their budgets. They’re really good at fact-finding and as advisers we are not because we are trying to get to the end of the process as soon as we can.

It also gets the client invested in the process.

Ray Adams:

Great. That’s great point. They do. They take it seriously. And in fact, it goes back to what I said earlier about engaging the client, because actually in my IFA firm, when a client submits “send my fact find to Niche”, if you haven’t go back to that client within 24 hours, they’re actually emailing you saying, “did my information come through?” They really, really want to progress the process now.

The clients expect the technology now, sometimes the advisers are the real battle. Single data entry is vital, and we’ve always tried to build our own in-house technology and show the clients how to use it from the very beginning. Clients will also log in to an app much more often than a website.

Jamie Sexton:

I think first of all, just with the technology, I’ve got the scars on my back over the last five years. I think sometimes, I feel that the clients have always typically wanted to use technology. It was convincing the adviser to get their clients to use the technology was something that we’ve gotten over the battle now because clients expect it.

But I think single data entry is so vital across all these systems and for us as a business, we’ve always tried to build a lot of our own in-house technology. And it was all to do with rather than going off to one or two different systems, can we just create something that creates one system and goes all the way through to the end client? And we’ve always been key on that with regards to clients, with the technology side of things.

Part of our proposition is that you will engage with a client right at the start and show them a demonstration of the technology that they’re going to use if they become a client of ours. And then what we do afterwards and something we’ve just started this year, and we’ve probably done about 5,000 demonstrations now, is to do online meetings like this.

The pandemic has been good for getting clients to use things like Teams and Zoom, et cetera. But we do an online demonstration with them. We actually show them what they’ve got. So things such as “this is where all your personal details are going to be held. If there’s any changes, this is what you need. This is where you need to change it.” And then the adviser will get a flag quite regularly.

We could be six months down the line and we’ll have something pop up in our system. One of our clients has changed their address directly for us, or they’ve added some money in that they didn’t tell us about, or a new asset, and that just flags up automatically in the system. So the key is really getting clients on board with the technology, right from the very start. To say, “actually, this is what we will deliver, this is what you need to use,” but make sure that it’s not just a website that they have access to, make sure it understand fully how it actually works and why it’s important.

The other one point I’ll make that we’ve been looking at the last couple of weeks is the difference between someone who’s using an app versus a website and it’s something quite common, but we found with our data that clients will tend to log in four times more on an app, which I would think would probably be pretty self explanatory, but it’s been quite interesting for us. So then you’d start to think about, could you put an online fact find on the iPhone via their app? Is that too much? Is that something you’re able to look at and I definitely think it says something for us to move forward with.

We categorize clients by engagement level. Many clients find it easy to use the app and log in a few times a day.

Jamie Sexton:

We categorize clients from super engaged all the way down to a certain engagement level. And it’s more that the app is pretty much mirroring what the website delivers. So clients log in and view their evaluations, they view what it’s worth, that’s what the app does, and when we do demonstrations we haven’t pushed using the app or using the website, we actually ask them what media that they wish to use. And then we do the demonstration by that route.

It’s just interesting in that that’s what clients have kind of pushed towards for us. I think it’s easy. I think most people on our sites want to see what they’re worth and you can just look at your phone, it logs you in very quickly via your face recognition. I think that’s probably why people are logging on. It’s interesting when we have clients that might log in three times a day to see the exact same evaluation, I just wonder just a habit of using the phone.

The main thing is knowing your client.

Ray Adams:

My view is you have to KYC. The advice industry has created a fact find but there’s no place where it says you have to have a fact find. We’ve just chosen to use that as our data capture process. And to me, if you want to know your clients and be able to transact and give advice to your clients, that’s part of the information you need to know for the client.

About The Author

Emma Iskowitz

Originally from New Jersey, Emma previously worked as a writer, researcher, content creator and podcast producer for fintech consulting firm Ezra Group LLC. Emma graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in July 2020, and alongside her work at FTRC she is also pursuing a career in contemporary dance.

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