Managing your business in difficult times

Article

The new face of client interactions

When managing a client’s investment portfolio, financial advisers have generally honed and refined their strategies and processes over time. But managing client expectations may require a very different skill set1.

Advisers may need to better demonstrate their value to clients if they want to attract and retain them. The key could be to create an active and engaged client base that’s willing to opt into services year after year.

It sounds straightforward, but is it really that easy?

Challenges facing advisers

Advisers face many challenges in their businesses. As the needs of investors continue to evolve, the scope of financial advice has grown too. People may seek help with personal issues like cashflow and investment goals, as well as business advice and succession planning2.

In addition, technology has changed the way many investors now seek answers to their financial questions. Traditional sources like financial advisers and bank managers face competition from sources like robo advice and online forums and calculators. This has in part contributed to investors having unrealistic expectations about investment returns and risk levels – adding further complexity to the adviser’s role1.

Proven success

We’ve seen many advisers transform their business models in recent years to become more relevant to clients2.

Research by Investment Trends2 conducted in 2018 surveyed 345 advice businesses across Australia and found those who scored well all displayed an absolute focus on customer experience, with a willingness to pursue new ways to engage clients. It also found these businesses embraced digital methods of engagement, providing clients with online access to view their financial position, keeping in touch via regular email newsletters and using interactive modelling in client meetings.

This approach is important in the current situation, with many of Australia’s workforce working remotely from home, and many clients finding themselves spending more time at home due to COVID-19. It’s an unforeseen situation, but one that requires businesses to find new ways to operate in a world where face-to-face interaction may not be desirable or even possible.

Using the right tools

The key to building an engaged client base could be finding the right tools for your business. What works for one adviser might not work for another.

Whether you’re based remotely, someone who travels a lot, or has a city office, there are different tools available in the market to help you.

For example, the BT Panorama mobile app allows advisers to carry out a range of client activities all in one place:

  • Place buy and sell trades on behalf of clients from wherever you are.
  • View client account details, such as their portfolio and individual investments.
  • Access client phone and email details to make staying in touch easy.
  • Monitor your own business – net flows, FUA, fees and active accounts.   
  • Track market movements using the Market News & Information section.

When combined with the BT Panorama desktop app, advisers can set up a Digital Consent / Consent Request and ask their clients to review and provide consent via the mobile app.

You may also find different ways of interacting with your clients. To maintain the face to face experience, some businesses are using a variety of technologies such as Zoom or Facetime. Utilising your website or your company’s social media pages to provide your clients with market, technical or more general updates can help keep your clients informed and engaged.

BT Panorama – testimonial from Bruce Davis, Wise Investment Advisers3

The experience I have when using BT Panorama is better than any other platform I’ve used. BT welcomes feedback and acts on it. The team has put conscious thought into what advisers want and need, actively investing in technology to create a better experience for both the client and adviser.

The Record of Advice (RoA) feature stands out for me because it's so different to any other.

  • I can attach a RoA in a timely manner.
  • The client is involved in the transactions, so they know what's happening and can clearly see the value you're adding. This builds a stronger bond between the adviser and client.
  • The platform saves valuable time, allowing me to service more clients by reducing the need for face-to-face meetings, particularly where it’s just to sign documents.
  • I can transact on behalf of clients without endless forms. With just one set of written instructions there’s less paper forms and postal delays.
  • Any initial concerns I had about the technology only being used by my younger clients were soon eliminated. Several of my clients are in their 70s and were initially cautious of mobile apps but each has embraced the Panorama RoA system and they enjoy an experience they would have previously avoided. Of course, my younger clients love the responsiveness, with some accessing their online information just minutes after I’ve placed a trade.

“BT Panorama provides my company with exceptional edges to make our client interaction better than ever. The Panorama team genuinely listens to my suggestions for improvements. It’s something I’ve never experienced in Australian financial services before.”
Bruce S. Davis, Wise Investment Advisers

The ultimate goal

The current environment presents advisers with an opportunity to change their way of working and potentially create a long-term future business model.

Getting to know and understand clients could enable advisers to provide better advice and potentially create better outcomes. Developing strong engagement could make clients feel like active participants in their own advice journey and equipping them with sufficient knowledge may empower them to become more informed decision makers.

Technology has a significant role to play in facilitating this. Partnering with BT Panorama has the potential to provide advisers with additional operational and business capability to help you manage and grow your business.

Making your business focus all about the client could differentiate you.

For more information, visit bt.com.au/bt-panorama


1 Investopedia: Top Challenges for Financial Advisors https://www.investopedia.com/articles/financial-advisor/052516/top-challenges-financial-advisors.asp

2 The findings in the BT Financial Practice of the Future Report are based on 345 valid responses to the 2018 Investment Trends Planner Business Model Report. This quantitative survey was conducted in May 2018 and published in June 2018. To identify the characteristics of successful practices, BT asked Investment Trends to assign each of these 345 respondents a score between 0 and 10 for the following criteria:
- Revenue turnover per planner
- Number of new clients acquired in the last 12 months
- Profitability growth (adjusted for the age of the practice)
The three scores for each respondent were added together to obtain a total score, which was then ranked. This gave three segments: 73 high-scoring practices (top 20%), 201 middle-scoring practices (middle 60%) and 71 low-scoring practices (bottom 20%).

3 Comments from Bruce Davis, Wise Investment Advisers were made during an interview on 16 April 2020. These comments were made freely with no compensation, financial or otherwise.


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This information is current as at 15 April 2020. The information provided is factual only and does not constitute financial product advice.  Before acting on it, you should seek independent advice about its appropriateness to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This document may contain material provided by third parties derived from sources believed to be accurate at its issue date. While such material is published with necessary permission, the Westpac Group accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of, nor does it endorse any such third party material. To the maximum extent permitted by law, we intend by this notice to exclude liability for this third party material. This material has been prepared for use by advisers only.  It must not be made available to any client and any information in it must not be communicated to any client.  

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