Survey results: Where advisers go to find tech solutions and keep abreast of what’s happening in WealthTech

Businessman looking through binoculars.

By AdviceBridge

What tech does your firm rely on? What’s your top favourite go-to website for technology news? Do you even keep up to date with what’s happening in tech, especially in your industry?

We asked you to share information about the tech you use in your business and sources you visit for technology news and WealthTech innovations. 

Read on to find out what’s hot and what’s not, so that your firm doesn’t get left behind.

Where do you go to research new technology/solutions or to keep abreast of what’s happening in WealthTech?

  • 31% rely on their current tech provider to keep up to date with new technology news
  • 30% use internet searches
  • 23% don’t do any research on tech solutions
  • 16% use trade media

A relatively high proportion of advice firms rely on their current tech provider to keep them up to date with what’s happening in WealthTech news. 

While this may be an easy option, it’s a questionable decision when you consider that your current provider may not be able to discuss different propositions or new technology opportunities that they themselves aren’t offering.

If you rely on technology news from your current provider, it may be wise to start widening your reading. The Financial Times is a good source of technology news, TechCrunch, and VentureBeat are also both great sites for the latest tech innovations. 

Also, AdviceBridge’s own AdviserTech Insights monthly email brings together many of the stories and announcements in the WealthTech space. 

The revelation that 23% of respondents don’t do any research on tech solutions is surprising – especially as readers of this blog. Perhaps AdviceBridge are providing everything they need? 

Still, this number raises some concern as it strongly suggests that 23% of advisers and planners don’t spend any time researching tech solutions – not even to keep themselves abreast of emerging tech and new possibilities.

The Financial Technology Research Centre was the most popular site for tech news

Many respondents cited FTRC (Financial Technology Research Centre) as their primary source of tech news and information. Meanwhile, NextWealth, Defaqto, and JigsawTree each received a mention from a smaller number of advisers.

It was also interesting to note that some firms used “non-IFA” market technology or outsourced providers to help with research.

How do you assess, evaluate, and review technology solutions?

  • 54% of firms assess by trial
  • 31% read reviews (review site data to be captured and shared in next survey)
  • 31% assess through talking to peers and current users
  • 15% rely solely on information provided by the product provider
  • 0% use a comparison tool

The main combination, 23%, was with those undertaking both trial and assessment through talking to peers and current users. Worryingly that leaves a significantly high percentage only using one source or method to review and assess new solutions.

Unlike insurance comparison tools, of which there are multiple, and the investment and pensions ratings guide from Defaqto, there doesn’t yet appear to be any kind of comparison tool for technology.

Faced with the above question, one respondent said: “We ask the provider to present, which few seem bothered to want to do, preferring us to trial for a month, which is an utter waste of time”. It is both surprising and disappointing that this was their experience. 

Trialling without support or structure seems entirely pointless – for both parties.

What technology do you currently use in your advice firm? 

  • 92% of firms use a back-office system 
  • 77% use IO
  • 8% use Xplan
  • 62% of firms use CRM (customer relationship management) software
  • 23% use IO
  • 8% use Xplan
  • 69% use eSignatures 
  • 53% use Docusign
  • 8% use Adobe 
  • 8% use Xplan

With only 69% of firms using eSignatures, the question is: how did the remaining 31% manage during the height of the pandemic and the multiple lockdowns? Also, why isn’t every firm using such an effective, simple, and time-saving solution?

  • 85% of firms use video conferencing 

Microsoft Teams and Zoom are the favoured video conferencing tools, but 15% of advice firms appear not to be using online meeting software at all. 

It is feasible that these advisers are now holding all their client meetings in person again, but many consumers have cited a preference for virtual meetings, so this was an unexpected result.

  • 77% use a risk profiler
  • 15% use DT 
  • 15% use Defaqto
  • Fewer than 10% use Oxford Risk, Square Mile and FE

It’s interesting to discover that not every advice firm is using a risk profiling tool. With the Consumer Duty incoming this year, it will be fascinating to see if this changes in the next 12 months.

  • 77% use cashflow planning
  • 38% use Voyant
  • Others cite IO, Cashcalc, SelectAPension, O&M, and Xplan
  • 62% use a client portal
  • 38% use IO
  • 15% use MoneyInfo 
  • 8% use Xplan
  • 46% use report generation tools 
  • 15% use Genovo with the rest of respondents split equally between FastTrack, IO, and Apricity

Ultimately, this suggests that more than half (54%) of firms don’t use any form of report generation tools, which means a surprising number are choosing to take on a lot of unnecessary manual work.

Another surprising result was that none of the firms surveyed said they used dedicated RegTech systems. Considering the incessant and growing scrutiny from the FCA, this must mean that most firms feel that their current processes suffice.

Again, it will be interesting to see if this remains the case with the incoming changes following the introduction of the Consumer Duty later this year.

Closing comments

The main focus of this survey was around where firms go to research new technology and to keep abreast of what’s happening in WealthTech, along with how these are reviewed and evaluated.

This snapshot of how advice firms approach technology seems, at face value, to indicate a lower level of priority is spent on keeping abreast of technology development or a lack of engagement with looking into it. 

Seeing the heightened focus on new technology solutions being a real enabler to a business and the significant step forward it can provide, maybe it’s more of a catch-22 situation or the chicken and egg conundrum. 

If there isn’t any key central place that stands out to research or get technology information combined with less awareness of providers that can change a company’s prospects, this could be the disconnect – hence there not being the demand for such a service.

However, there is also the shocking results shown by a few respondents who don’t undertake research at all. 

Given the speed and momentum of change over the past couple of years, firms taking this approach will surely disappear as the majority who are adopting newer and more efficient technology will be too far ahead before they realise.

Embracing new innovations and adopting the right technology will not only help your clients but also protect your business.

Get in touch

If you’re interested to learn more about how AdviceBridge can help you support your clients and grow your business profitably, please get in touch. Email or call us on 020 3925 3850. You can also book a demo of the software at a time to suit you, to see how we can help.