The future of advice models

Last night I read an interesting post on Linked in by Sean Graham (executive director at Millennium3) regarding future advice models and the way in which clients and advisers will interact.

Sean’s role at Millennium3 includes heading up the compliance team, and I must say it’s great to hear someone from compliance not only acknowledging the role of technology but actually promoting it.  I hope that the heads of compliance at other dealer groups can start to take a similar view in the near future.

Is Max Headroom the very modern model of the future financial adviser?

Most financial planners are wedded to the traditional, face-to-face storefront publisher model of financial advice but while this may have worked in the past, technological changes and consumer preferences suggest that wired/virtual/on line relationship (the Max Headroom model) might be the best model for the future.

Neuropsychological and consumer research shows peoples’ reducing need for complexity, strong preferences for on-line relationships and swift response and a distrust of “holistic” solutions? If this is the future what are we doing to prepare? (or are Ys, Zs and their successors of no interest to us?).

In my view, the future is wired client relationships, wiki advice models and lego-inspired strategies but I’m interested in understanding your view of the future and what are you doing (or what have you done) in your business to address the future of advice?

And here was my contribution to the discussion:

For risk insurance, online is clearly the way forward.  For many people, getting insurance cover online is not only a convenient option, but also a preferred option.  There are so many benefits such as the choice to deal with who you want when you want, no pushy salespeople trying to get you to sign up, and the feeling of empowerment that one gets by looking after their needs themselves.

On top of that, there will always be a perception (rightly or wrongly) that you can save money by getting your insurance online rather than dealing face-to-face with an adviser.

When I started as an adviser I was told that getting leads was going to be the most challenging aspect of going it alone.  I was also told that websites “don’t work for advisers”.  Well, my website brings me so many qualified leads that I’ve been selling the surplus leads to other advisers, so if anyone still thinks that online doesn’t work, they’re wrong.

Another benefit of building an online customer base is location diversity.  I am located in Brisbane, however the majority of my clients are located outside of Brisbane, and around half of them are located interstate.  This helps to give you exposure to booming areas outside of your own, and also provides protection if your own geographic area is experiencing a decline in activity.

When it comes to the investment side of things, particularly full financial planning, I think there will always be people who want to sit face to face with their adviser.  Increasingly though, there will be people who are happy to speak with an adviser remotely, and those who wish to bypass the adviser completely and handle their own affairs using online services.

Ultimately, the right model probably comes down to your target client and how they want (or don’t want) to deal with you.

If you’re not moving your business online and embracing technology, you will eventually be left behind.

Escape the office

I know a lot of advisers who make a lot of money.  If you’re not one of them, then I’m sure you know of one, and certainly plan to become one!

But despite the healthy incomes, I find that most advisers struggle to get away from the office for the weekend, let alone for a couple of weeks holiday.

Technology has tied us even closer to our work.  5pm on a Friday afternoon doesn’t have as much meaning today, since we spend all weekend on our smart phones checking email and catching up on work.

But it is the same technology that ties us to our work that can also free us from our offices.

I am writing today’s blog on the balcony of my holiday apartment, overlooking the beautiful pacific ocean.  Of course today isn’t like my usual Thursday in the office, but I’ve still been able to do pretty much everything that I would normally do.

Here’s a snapshot of the technology I’ve used today, and how it has allowed me to escape the office whilst remaining in complete control of my business:

  • Laptop:  Obviously required when not in the office
  • Mobile broadband:  Allows me to connect to the internet from virtually anywhere
  • iPhone:  Took the photo in this blog as well as uploading it.  Also handy for making phone calls…
  • WordPress:  The software my website uses, which allows me to post updates from anywhere
  • Paperless office:  Means my client files are stored electronically rather than stuck in my office
  • Dropbox:  Allows me to access my client files and documents from anywhere

Thanks to all of this great technology I’ve been able to speak with a few clients, setup two new policies, line up a meeting for next week, agreed to another joint venture and of course write and upload this latest blog.

If you’ve become trapped inside your office (including your home office) and feel like it’s impossible to escape for a few days, then you need to start embracing the technology that can set you free.

As always, I can help you with all of the issues I’ve spoken about above.  If you want to start integrating this technology into your business, simply contact me for a confidential and obligation free chat.