Big brands expand their tech: Can your processes compete?

By AdviceBridge

Last month Vanguard launched a digital-only service to investors saving for retirement. Its primary focus is on investment advice, rather than covering areas such as protection or holistic financial planning or tax planning.

The service targets clients with £50,000 or more. There’s no initial charge or fee but an “all-inclusive” ongoing fee of 0.79% (made up of 0.15% annual platform charge, 0.12% ongoing fund charges, 0.5% advice fee and transaction costs), capped at £375 per year.

The new service will invest client money in its own funds and will operate on a tiered basis, based on assets held:

  • Clients with £50,000 to £99,999 invested will receive a digital service, with an annual review of their financial plan.
  • Those with £100,000 to £749,999 invested will have access to a team of financial planners and can benefit from telephone or video-based financial planning support.
  • Investors with £750,000 or more will have a dedicated financial planner and receive support either via video or in person in Vanguard’s London office.

The next step for Vanguard will be to offer an option for couples who wish to make investment goals together, with more functions towards serving clients saving for retirement, along with support for drawdown.

AJ Bell acquires Adalpha to enhance their digital platform

The Vanguard news arrived just one month after Bristol-based AJ Bell announced its acquisition of technology platform Adalpha.

Designed to enhance the mobile technology for advisers and their clients, they expect the acquisition to complement their existing adviser platform, AJ Bell Investcentre.

With two big brands making moves to enhance their digital offerings to clients and advisers, the financial services industry should expect more change in the coming months and years.

Technology changes represent new opportunities for independent advisory

The coronavirus pandemic has sped up the move to technology, and so the face-to-face advice model needs to adapt to survive.

Holding client meetings on Zoom is only one tiny part of this evolution.

If you haven’t reviewed your entire process and the technology you employ in delivering financial advice in the last 6 months, now may be the right time to do so.

Improving automation and offering clients a more integrated approach will not only enhance the service they receive but also help you do your job more efficiently. The big firms show that the opportunities for digitisation cover all aspects of financial services. To stay aligned with evolving client expectations, now is a good time to find ways you can embrace technology to provide a more intuitive service for your clients.

Invest in technology and increase client engagement

A digital approach can also help you serve more clients by saving you time and money. Assigning tedious admin jobs and compliance and regulatory processes to the right technology solutions can have a positive impact on time management and leave you more time to focus on providing the best service to your clients.

Vanguard and AJ Bell are presenting clients with an almost entirely digital financial advice experience, and more clients are expecting to be able to access and monitor their financial situation from their phones, or, at the very least, their computer.

By integrating client-side technology, financial planners can increase client engagement and clients’ understanding of their financial situation.

The latest moves by Vanguard and AJ Bell highlight the importance of fintech. Bruce Ely-Johnston, Chief Commercial Officer at AdviceBridge, agrees: “With the recent acquisition of Adalpha by AJ Bell and Vanguard’s move into the advice arena it’s clear to see firms are seeking much greater capabilities from technology.

“We will no doubt see more developments like this on an increasing basis as greater sophistication of technology allows firms to adapt more rapidly. This is likely to increase the void between those advisor firms embracing and adopting software and those yet to grasp its importance,” he adds.

Advisory firms ignoring technology are likely to get left behind, if not now, then certainly in attracting new, younger clients (who will become older) who rely on technology for so much in life.

Not having immediate digital access to information about their investments and financial status will almost certainly be a turn-off. If they can get this elsewhere, the firm advising with no technology won’t even feature as an option when they decide where to seek financial advice or help with financial planning.

AdviceBridge may be the digital solution you need

Whether you want to spend valuable time with your clients, make your business more cost-efficient, or automate your advice journey, the AdviceBridge platform is a great way of maximising profits.

By digitising many of the manual, time-consuming processes, you waste less time on admin, compliance and reports, allowing more time to focus on your client relationships.

The simple and meaningful interface creates an engaging client experience, letting them see how altering their finances will affect them now and in retirement.

In short, AdviceBridge takes unengaging, complicated and time-consuming tasks and replaces them with engaging, insightful and meaningful information and recommendations.

The platform easily integrates with existing software and can significantly improve your business. If you’re yet to invest in technology to improve your service offering, now could be the perfect time to discover more about AdviceBridge.

Get in touch

If you want to find out how AdviceBridge can help you grow your business, please get in touch. Email or call us on 020 3925 3850.