The Financial Advice Association Australia 2023 Congress in Adelaide has emphasised the evolving nature of the financial planning sector. One of the early key messages was to articulate the Financial Planning Industry as a profession, highlighting the need to provide more accessible and affordable advice to a broader Australian audience.
Digital Advice: A Hybrid Service Model
The conference introduced digital advice as a hybrid service model, merging human expertise with AI technology. This combination envisions the adviser as the pilot and AI as the co-pilot, working together to enhance efficiency and scalability in providing financial advice. Key points included:
- Growth with AI: Implementing AI in financial advice can significantly reduce costs, provide basic advice more efficiently, and increase the number of clients serviced. This integration leads to a new, more effective service model.
- Industry Expansion: With over 26 million Australians and less than 25,000 advisers, there’s a pressing need to grow the profession and attract more advisers. The emphasis was on expanding the reach of advice services to a larger population.
- Human-Centric Approach: Placing humans at the forefront of the strategy is essential, ensuring that technology enhances rather than replaces the human element in financial advising.
- Scaling Business: By servicing the entire client book and leveraging digital tools, advisers can scale their businesses effectively. This approach also attracts digitally savvy clients and facilitates business expansion.
- Engagement and Education: The model encourages continuous engagement, nurturing, and education of clients, forming a more informed and involved client base.
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Efficiency and Cybersecurity
The conference highlighted the importance of building a “do not do” list to streamline operations. In the context of cybersecurity, the advice was to balance breaches between quick, transparent notifications and careful, forensic investigations. Despite a reportable breach occurring every six minutes, it’s currently not mandatory to report these, underscoring the need for vigilance. Protecting your business from hackers trying to steal your client’s data and avoid having ‘that conversation’ with your clients is paramount. Cyber attacks are real and the stakes are high. The Cyber Collective is a one stop solution.
Re-engagement and Trust
There’s an observed increase in consumer re-engagement and growing trust in financial advisers. With 1,590 financial advisers in Australia, the profession is poised for significant growth, with trust being a cornerstone.
A crucial aspect of the conference was recognising the warning signs within the profession, like headaches, sleeplessness, fatigue, impaired decision-making, and negativity were discussed. Strategies to combat burnout include:
- Taking Time Out: Recognising the seriousness of burnout and advocating for adequate rest and recovery.
- Flourishing Techniques: Focusing on psychological flexibility, resilience, optimism, investing in relationships, rethinking work and performance, and investing in well-being.
- Team Support: Building awareness and regularly checking in with teams to ensure mental health and well-being.
In summary, the conference has underscored the transformative potential of digital advice in the financial planning profession. By embracing technology, enhancing efficiency, focusing on cybersecurity, re-engaging with consumers, and addressing professional well-being, the sector can expand its reach and efficacy. The future of financial advising looks towards a harmonious blend of technology and human expertise, aiming to transform financial advice for a broader audience.
I am grateful to the insightful keynote speakers from whom I gathered these notes, in particular Jacquie Henderson, Laurel Papworth, Fraser Jack, Jason Symons, Amanda Balcombe, Greg Hansen, George Haramis, Ross Dawson, Dante De Gori.
* My conference notes with the assistance of openAI services
Director and Founder
(Feedsy Pty Ltd)