Advisers struggling to see the tech wood for the trees

Imagine you were tasked with planting a wood. No doubt you’d do your research and choose trees that work in harmony with each other to create a sustainable environment for the eco system to flourish. What you wouldn’t do is plant random trees and trust they work together…unless, of course, you were led to believe that all would be fine. 

No, I haven’t switched jobs from finance to horticulture but what I learned at our recent Young Adviser Forum on adviser technology made me realise that there are many similarities between trying to establish a tech framework that really works and striving to create a woodland idyll. 

The issue doesn’t lie with advisers – it seems often they are being sold a tech dream that doesn’t stack up in reality. The nub of the problem is integration, or rather lack of it.

This was something that became apparent during the forum, which had around 40 young(er) advisers discussing the pros and cons of the technology and tools they use to do their job.

The outcome of the event formed the basis for a recent article I wrote for Money Marketing (you can read it here). If you don’t have time to read the full article, I’ve summarised some of the key issues below. The forum was run under the Chatham House Rule, which is why quotes are unattributed.

The following quotes were taken verbatim from the session:

“There’s so much technology but none of it does a perfect job.”

“Why can’t the information be presented in a standardised format? Even the banks have managed this post open banking.”

“Getting an integration to 90% done is as unhelpful as getting to 10% done. It has to solve the problem fully or not at all.”

“Different providers/platforms are moving at a different pace - there are snails and cheetahs’”

“The proliferation of new tools and tech is making the problem worse, not better”

Too many systems

The majority of attendees are having to use seven to nine separate systems to get their job done and there is almost zero integration between any of them.

Many use only 10% of a tool's capabilities but have to pay for 100%.

Systems that purport to ‘do it all’ are a false economy…it would be much better to have integrations that work together, allowing advisers to build a system that matches their own unique needs.

“Old systems used to be more straightforward. Rather than doing the few jobs you need them to do well, today’s systems promise to do lots of things but they end up doing them mediocrely – a ‘jack of all trades’ issue.”

“We could develop our own tech but that would be very expensive and a massive business risk if you get it wrong. Plus, the average adviser firm does not have a dedicated in-house IT person – let alone a team of developers.”

Clearly the tech providers need to rethink their approach and start working together to allow systems to integrate effectively, rather than trying to offer a nirvana one-stop-shop.

Are you an adviser who has tech issues? I’d love to hear from you if you are. Also, if you are interested in joining our next Young Adviser forum, please get in contact at


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