A message from BT Financial Group CEO
We’ve seen some of the sharpest market falls recently, with the MSCI global shares index experiencing its biggest first half year drop since inception2. Market volatility across equity and bond markets escalated during the June quarter which was reflected in super and investment performance, resulting in negative one-year returns. Australians have had a change of government, and are feeling the impacts of inflationary pressures, interest rate hikes, and ongoing geo-political tensions. Amidst all of this, advisers have been focussed on critical year-end activities, and reaffirming to clients that it is time in the market, not timing the market, that counts over the long term!
The value of quality advice has never been more evident.
At BT, supporting advisers and their offices is always a priority – and that’s why in the June quarter we bolstered our online Adviser Hub with critical end of financial year information.
We’ve also been working hard to execute our strategy and commitment to continuous improvements – expanding the way we deliver service, through new online and digital service features that advisers and dealer groups have asked for – and enhancing and fortifying BT Panorama. With a strong focus on operational excellence, we consistently met service levels throughout June, despite a 20% increase in call volumes, resulting in one of the smoothest end of financial years in memory.
As we deliver on our purpose of enabling quality financial advice to thrive, an important part of our strategy is to advocate for our industry, and that’s why we have launched BT's Adviser Charter: our commitment to advisers on the support and services we will provide, as part of our goal to be the platform partner of choice. Read the full BT Adviser Charter.
Additionally, in June we made a submission to the Federal Government's Advice Review, advocating for: the need for clear, concise advice documentation that meets the needs of the client; changes to give advisers the option to provide strategic advice separate to product fulfilment advice; and making ongoing financial advice tax-deductible for clients. Read the full submission.
While our industry has been under pressure, with adviser numbers reducing, we have the responsibility and the privilege of having more than 6,000 active advisers using BT Panorama, the largest number of adviser relationships in the industry, with 40% market share3. That’s why we are focussed on redefining what it means to be a platform provider in Australia – continuing to build our tech capability as we look to move to the cloud, leverage AI to drive back-office efficiency and provide high-quality service, education, and support.
We are excited about the future and becoming the undisputed platform partner of choice.
BT Panorama digital capability and adoption continues to grow
The June quarter saw usage of BT Panorama peak in tandem with market volatility, with over 1.6 million total logins by advisers and clients, up 23% compared to the prior corresponding period (PCP).
Mobile access to investment portfolios is essential, particularly during uncertain times. The majority (60%) of investor logins are coming through via the award-winning BT Panorama mobile app. On 14 June, as Australians emerged from a public holiday, and volatility rocked global markets, the mobile app had its single busiest day with close to 11,000 unique users logging in to check their portfolios.
In early June, BT’s 24/7 virtual assistant chatbot, ‘Blue’, was added to the BT Panorama mobile app, and so far, has responded to approximately 1,000 adviser and client queries via the mobile app. Blue has had over 80,000 interactions on other devices through the June quarter.
BT expanded its already popular digital consent tool last year, from providing client transaction authorisations to include client fee consent, to help advisers meet regulatory requirements regarding advice fee arrangements. This saw a dramatic take up in usage of digital consent over recent months; in the June 2022 quarter, usage was up 10 times compared to the PCP. Digital connectedness is creating efficiencies for advisers and their clients, as well as for BT as the product issuer.
New enhancements delivered
BT rolled out multiple new enhancements to the platform in the June quarter, including:
✓ Update contact details feature – a simple time-saving improvement, this popular self-serve feature has been accessed more than 4,000 times since it was launched in May.
✓ Robotic Integrated Technology Administration (RITA) pilot – enabling advisers and support staff to self-serve and track their transaction status in real time – providing transparency on expected completion date and saving valuable time. Fifty practices are part of the trial and access will be expanded to all BT Panorama users in the September quarter.
✓ Click to Chat conversation downloads – download conversations to record in adviser software, working papers or file notes – helping advisers with important record-keeping requirements.
✓ Scheduling ongoing fee arrangement renewals – allows advisers more flexibility to work around their client schedules and the ability to enter an estimated fee on the online consent form, providing a more intuitive process for advisers – this was a result of direct feedback from advisers on usability regarding managing advice fee consents.
✓ Implementing Enhancing Super Outcomes legislation.
What BT Panorama users can expect in the September quarter
→ Robotic Integrated Technology Administration (RITA) will be made available to all BT Panorama users – enabling advisers and support staff to self-serve and track their transaction status in real time.
→ Choice of insurer – TAL and AIA will be added to the platform.
→ Mobile app enhancements will include access to comparison benchmarks, and ability to display details of beneficiaries.
→ Managed Portfolios to be added to Adviser Portfolios – which will support efficient and scalable rebalancing of client portfolios.
→ Improvements to reporting – advisers and support staff providing regular reporting to clients will save time due to phased improvements designed to ultimately deliver bulk reporting in the future.
Service and support for advisers and their staff
BT year-end service levels were bolstered with additional capacity in the Adviser Services team and expansion to the way service is provided through multiple channels, including support from business development managers, the adviser call centre, BT’s chatbot ‘Blue’, click to chat and the online hub. In June, BT received industry recognition for its high-quality service standards, and has been named as a finalist in four categories of the Customer Service Institute of Australia Service Excellence Awards.
Advisers who are digitally engaged with clients typically run more profitable businesses4, and BT is helping advice practices thrive in the digital age. BT’s webinar series included a social media education program which formed part of the series for which BT won the Financial Standard’s MAX award for best digital campaign.
Investing in adviser and support staff ongoing education
With education and technology continuing to be a key focus, over the quarter BT hosted more than 48 hours of CPD points across face-to-face events, podcasts and webinars. More than 6,500 people attended events covering topics from sustainable and generational growth to technical sessions, to help advisers and their staff run efficient practices and meet regulatory obligations.
Looking ahead, BT is set to host a three-part Elixir Webinar series, a Financial Practice Professionals Forum, aimed at advisers’ practice support staff.
Investment growth driven by take-up of managed accounts and interest in ESG Managed accounts FUA increased to $10.7bn, up 31% compared to the PCP. More advisers are using managed accounts on BT Panorama, with a 24% increase compared to the PCP (from 833 to 1,031 advisers). Nearly 30,000 investors are now using managed accounts. A significant driver of demand is the move by advice practices and their clients from BT Wrap to BT Panorama, with many choosing to switch to managed accounts options available on the more contemporary platform; this represented $1.1bn of managed accounts FUA in the past 12 months.
During volatile conditions, managed accounts can give investment managers the ability to execute investment decisions efficiently and respond to fluctuations in the market more quickly, at scale. In addition, managed accounts enable advice practices to save time, at an average of 15.7 hours a week in back-office tasks, equivalent to 100 days each year5. We expect growth to continue in this space as more advisers realise the benefits of implementing managed accounts.
ESG-focused portfolios are also a key area of growth and interest, with a 150% increase in FUA over the year.
Among the total nine managed portfolios added to BT Panorama this quarter, seven have an ESG focus, bringing the number of sustainable options that are managed accounts on the platform to 12. The new managed accounts launched so far in this calendar year include those managed by Lonsec, Blackrock and Russell Investments. BT is committed to supporting advisers to assist investors with further insights on ESG investment options and has embedded this initiative in the overall business strategy. Further information on planned development in this space will be provided in the second half of the year.
BT is steadily increasing its share of the highly competitive managed accounts market, securing 7.9% market share as of December 2021, up from 6.5% market share in the PCP6 and 7.
1 Plan For Life Platform Wrap Report, March 2022, excluding retail corporate super.
2 BT Investment Solutions – Quarterly Asset Performance, June 2022.
3 Investment Trends, May 2022 Adviser Technology Needs Report: Industry Analysis, p.8.
4 In 2021, 52% of digitally engaged advisers said their practice was more profitable than the year before. This compares to just 30% among non-digitally engaged advisers. ‘Digitally engaged advisers’ advisers used 4 or more digital channels such as digital signature tools, client mobile apps and online meetings. Investment Trends, Planner Technology Report, 2021.
5 SPDR ETFs / Investment Trends 2022 Managed Accounts Report, March 2022.
6 BT Platforms Managed Accounts – BT Panorama only; does not include Adviser Portfolios.
7 Semi-annual managed accounts market size sourced from IMAP. Latest data as at Dec 2021.
8BT Investment Solutions – Quarterly Asset Performance, June 2022
Media Relations, BT
M: 0432 933 796