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Hybrid advice will lead to higher qualifications, advisers say.

October 14, 2021

Hybrid advice will lead to more advisers attaining higher qualifications - LIBF poll.

According to a survey at The London Institute of Banking & Finance's (LIBF) webinar last week, 42 per cent of advisers said they believed that hybrid advice would result in more advisers developing their knowledge and skills to a level 6 qualification.

This was because advisers will be increasingly focussed on complex advice that requires a human element, allowing technology to help progress clients’ more straightforward advice requirements.

The in-webinar poll of nearly 260 attendees was one of three during the webinar, with other polls showing that 45 per cent of advisers were with firms already heading down the hybrid route.

The vast majority of advisers were likely to implement hybrid advice in the next three to five years, it found, with 52 per cent of advisers saying it was very likely or somewhat likely (39 per cent) that their company would implement a hybrid advice model.

Nick Hall, head of advice at Wealth Wizards, said: “The poll results are very encouraging and reflect the level of traction that hybrid advice is gaining in the financial advice market.

“Hybrid advice blends the human touch with digitisation and automation, to create an advice experience the customer would want and expect from their advice firm, particularly following the pandemic where familiarity with digital has increased significantly.”

He added: “It’s clear that both advisers and their clients are already on an advancing technological journey and the pandemic has pressed the accelerator on that change.”

Hall said there were four main benefits for clients in delivering advice through a hybrid model.

One benefit he highlighted was better engagement with the client - using techniques such as chat bots to help clients through the fact find and onboarding process.

Others were more choice to help narrow the advice gap, multi-channel approach and consistency.

He said: “Where hybrid advice can deliver for financial advice firms is in taking on the heavy lifting of the advice process, allowing financial advisers to focus on the client relationship and the elements of advice that need human contact.

“This makes use of customers self-serving and the automation of advice processes, letting the financial adviser talk to the customer when they want to and when needed.”

Heavy lifting

Speaking at the webinar, Hall said the financial adviser was at the heart of the advice process and technology should be used to make advisers’ lives easier.

“It’s looking at the end-to-end process and seeing where technology can take on some of the heavy lifting – we’ve seen end-to-end processes in advice firms that take 35-50 hours to complete. Technology can cut that right down to sub-10 hrs.”

For instance, he said, the onboarding should be a digital process, not “a long-winded one” for the customer to start engaging with the adviser.

Fact finding should also be completed by customers digitally to complete the hard facts, and then the human adviser can engage with them for the soft facts, which are the dreams and aspirations of the client.

“The diagnosis: Every advice firm has an advice policy, a way they deal with various aspects of advice,” he said. “Algorithms can be designed that match to the advice policy, meaning there is no longer a need to spend four to seven hours in diagnosis.

“An algorithm can align to the advice policy and the cashflow modelling, so ultimately that part is removed from the adviser’s task list. The adviser still has control over the process but consistency of approach is provided across the advice process and across the business.”

Finally, he explained firms were spending up to seven hours writing suitability reports.

“We have driven that down to 30-35 minutes, through using personal objectives that are keyed into the fact find,” he said.

“As you are talking to your customer the suitability report is being written behind the scenes. That’s how far technology has come.”

The end result of letting technology take the heavy lifting, in a real-world customer case study, has been proven to drive down the end-to-end advice process from 35 to nine hours, Hall added.

“Hybrid advice provides for a better experience all round. For the customer, who feels the same pain-points in a process as the adviser, and for the adviser, who has more quality time building the relationship with the customer, focusing on client objectives and dealing with the more complex advice issues, as well as having their time freed up to see more customers.”

This article first appeared on www.ftadviser.com on 12th October 2021

Written by
Wealth Wizards

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