Graphic of interview

The digital transformation of financial advice is well underway but remains in its relative infancy, with its transition still in progress and its full potential yet to be realised.

Progeny CEO, Neil Moles, recently gave his views on the topic in an interview with technology providers Time4Advice. The interview can be viewed in full here, with a summary of some of Neil’s key points below.

On what digital transformation means to Progeny and the difference it will make to clients: “Ultimately, at the centre of everything are client outcomes. What do clients want? We can’t make assumptions, we need to talk to them about their desires and fears.

“When we look at digital transformation at a business level it’s all about data. Without it we are nothing. We are looking at our systems across the group to see what level of data we have and how we can improve it, and what more we would like to gather. By harnessing this data we can deliver better outcomes to clients, better service, faster turnaround and greater efficiencies.

“It’s a massive project and we are currently learning what we don’t know. In the short term it will mean significant investment in technology and then starting to put plans in place – a roadmap with steps along the way showing how we can deliver improvements to clients through that process and how we can be more efficient as a business.”

On how the advice industry is engaging with digital transformation: “There is a huge step forward we need to make. Ten years ago in banking people wouldn’t use an app; now everyone is using an app and not cash and cheques anymore. I think now is the time and opportunity for the financial advice industry to embrace technology, particularly after the events of the last six months.”

On the scope that digital transformation offers for increasing access to financial advice: “People who need advice often don’t even know they need it. We need to take this back to education. We as an industry need to commit to educating. We can do this through lobbying or we can come together as an industry to educate the next generation. Let’s create educational resources, YouTube videos for example, on what a pension is or why people need to save. And think about virtual advice models that would reach and suit new clients.

“As an industry we spend far too much time making things complex so we can charge for explaining to people what they are. Let’s end all of that.”

On the biggest challenges facing the financial advice industry at the moment: “Along with getting to grips with data, regulation is an issue. Increasing diversity is also a key challenge we all need to face up to.

“As an industry now it is time for us to come together. If we don’t come together we have no power. If we want to address the FSCS levy or have lower PI insurance we can do that by changing the future rather than moaning about the past. If we are passionate about it, we can create a profession. Now is the time to take a step back, take a stand and for the likeminded businesses out there to come together and really effect positive change.”