A message from BT Financial Group CEO
2022 has seen the value of advice brought into sharp focus.
It started with the impact of Omicron on an already pandemic weary world, and climbing levels of inflation, putting central banks under pressure to act. The economic challenges then only increased with Russian armed forces launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, creating a new wave of geopolitical uncertainty for markets. In fact, global markets had their largest January fall since the GFC and the largest one month fall since March 2020.
Locally, businesses continue to see supply chain disruptions and staff shortages, particularly in the services sector. The ‘hot’ property market has begun to slow as affordability becomes stretched and analysts are forecasting four cash rate hikes by the RBA before the end of the year.
The recent federal budget and upcoming election add additional complexity.
The significant uncertainty we have seen this quarter reaffirms just how important the work advisers do to help Australians have their best financial futures. I am passionate about BT being the partner of choice to help advice practices thrive.
The future is bright.
Boosting digital capability and simplifying processes to better support advisers
The March quarter saw continued investment in BT Panorama, centred on improving advisers’ online experience, led by advisers’ feedback.
In the March 2022 quarter, BT rolled out several new releases to fortify and enhance the platform including:
- Improvements to investment trading processes to speed up the time to process IPO elections and corporate actions
- Increased the client transfer payment limits from $200k to $500k enabling more transactions to be controlled by advisers and their teams
- New business-level reporting functionality for advice fees
Additionally, BT improved the advice fee process for offline consent. The number of advisers using BT Panorama’s digital consent increased over five times in the quarter compared to the prior corresponding period, with 59% of advisers on BT Panorama utilising this feature in 20222. Given the benefits and immediacy of straight through processing, BT is focused on supporting the transformation to increasing completion online.
The mobile app continues to be a key strength for advisers and their clients. For the fourth year running, BT Panorama has been awarded best mobile platform and best client portal by industry research house Investment Trends3. Advised clients utilise the app more than any other users, and being able to access their portfolios at their fingertips is increasingly important with more than 60% of investor logins now coming through the app.
Digital engagement is becoming increasingly important with research showing advisers who are digitally engaged with clients typically run more profitable businesses. In 2021, 52% of digitally engaged advisers said their practice was more profitable than the year before4. This compares to just 30% among non-digitally engaged advisers5.
BT is focused on providing digital tools that drive efficiency, by simplifying processes and supporting advisers, to help advice practices thrive.
Further improvements to be delivered
BT’s virtual assistant chatbot ‘Blue’ plays a key role in responding to adviser and client questions 24/7. Blue resolved more than 27,000 adviser and customers queries over the quarter. This support will be boosted with the addition of Blue on the BT Panorama mobile app in May, meeting the demand by investors who are preferring to access their BT Panorama accounts via their mobile. Usage of the app increased 51%, with investor logins increasing from 480,000 to 725,000 over the March quarter.
Advisers value technical support
Over the quarter BT has hosted more than 36 hours of webinars and podcasts including 18 hours of CPD points, as well as 35 hours of professional development with dealer groups. BT’s adviser webinars have a loyal following that is growing; with more than 1300 people tuning in to the Federal Budget webinars held on the day after the Budget announcement. The social media webcasts, helping advisers use digital marketing tools to build their online presence have also been popular with more than 870 people tuning in over the three sessions. These expert sessions differentiate BT’s offer and will continue to be a staple on the BT calendar.
New managed accounts on BT Panorama driving growth
Managed accounts FUA increased to $10.9bn up 57% to the prior corresponding period.
Advisers’ demand for managed accounts continues at pace, with 10 new managed portfolios being added during the March quarter. ESG-focused portfolios are a key area of growth and interest with a 130% increase in FUA over the year.
Following the successful launch of Lonsec’s diversified suite of sustainable managed portfolios in November 2021, BT expects to add a further 7 ESG-focused managed portfolios to the BT Panorama platform by the end of the June quarter, taking the total to 12. This will be complemented by an anticipated extension of the existing suites managed by BlackRock and Russell Investments.
Demand for managed accounts is also being driven by advice practices that had used BT Wrap primarily as their main platform and are moving their clients’ funds across to managed accounts on the BT Panorama platform.
$1.3bn of managed accounts FUA in the past 12 months has come from clients who previously held accounts on BT Wrap. More advisers are using managed accounts too, with a significant increase compared to the prior corresponding period (up from 15 to 418 advisers). This upward trend is expected to continue.
1 Plan For Life, December 2021, includes all BT platforms and FUA share of 18.3% (excluding retail corporate super basis)
2 BT Panorama statistics – the number of advisers using the digital consent feature from Jan-Mar 2021 was over 500, compared to Jan-Mar 2022, which was over 2,800
3 Investment Trends, Planner Technology Report, 2021
4 Investment Trends, Planner Technology Report, 2021 - advisers used 4 or more digital channels such as digital signature tools, client mobile apps and online meetings
5 Investment Trends, Planner Technology Report, 2021
Media Relations, BT
M: 0432 933 796