No gain without pain

Almost three weeks into ‘dry’ January and the strategy of no alcohol and eating healthily is paying dividends. I’m feeling leaner, fitter and full of energy. That isn’t to say it’s easy because it’s not, but I know the end will justify the means.

Although very much a personal challenge, there are parallels with the businesses I come into contact with at PortfolioMetrix. I think it’s fair to say that many financial advice businesses are starting to look at how they operate and question if it they could make changes to become leaner and more efficient.

Technology is the driving factor in this thinking, both in a positive way because of how it can help businesses and also as a threat, with the fear that the robots will take over and personal advice could be under threat.

Looking at the Global Perspectives Report from the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB), which was published towards the end of last year, the summary of highlights includes some key points. Here’s what it says:

  • The cost savings from using fintech tools will offset fee compression
  • PWC recently said… “To succeed in business today, you don’t need a digital strategy: you need a business strategy…for the digital age”
  • Automated advice and fintech tools enable financial planners and advisers to increase practice efficiencies or cost-effectiveness; …and free financial planners to devote more time to activities that bring added value to their clients
  • Financial planners see fintech as a tool to support…speeding up client onboarding, delivery of documents, portfolio construction and asset allocation
  • Financial planners felt that their practices will benefit most from fintech by:
    • Increase Efficiency
    • Accuracy
    • Compliance and Disclosure
    • Bias, Conflicts and Emotions
    • Engaging Clients

From this list, it’s clear that positive feelings about how technology can transform a financial advice business for the better exist. The challenge for the industry is to make the decision to take steps to make a change. This is not easy because change always takes time and challenges tried and tested strategies.

As I contemplate breakfast this morning, it would be so easy to swap the dairy and carb free option that my current diet demands for a bacon butty and a steaming cup of milky coffee. I could so easily do that but I know that a bit of short-term pain will lead to long-term gain in terms of my health.

As we get into the swing of 2017, I hope advice firms will take action to make a positive change in business, embracing technology to enjoy a long-term leaner, healthier business.