The impact of technology on the human race is one of the characteristics that will define our place in history. The digital revolution shapes our lives every day, not just in terms of the devices and gadgets that are constantly surpassing themselves in their capabilities and ingenuity, but also in how we connect with each other.
As a social species, one of our go-to questions is whether technology is bringing us closer together or driving us further apart. What we’re beginning to realise is that all of the new opportunities to communicate ushered in by technology are most useful when we employ them to complement and improve our existing relationships. When we understand technology and its capacity for creating and deepening connections, it truly becomes powerful and revolutionary.
When it comes to finance, the explosion in tech has undoubtedly changed the industry and the relationships forged within it. With access to the financial markets available from anywhere at the swipe of a smartphone, some may argue that the adviser-client relationship is becoming less relevant than in the days before the tech revolution.
But this completely misunderstands how the relationship works. Access to the market is only a fractional part of what makes it tick. Like all good and healthy relationships, the adviser-client relationship is based on communication, empathy and a desire to understand and learn about the other party. Nowhere is this more important than in financial advice, where every one of us will have a perfectly unique combination of personality, outlook, circumstances and aspirations which it’s the financial adviser’s job to recognise and work with.
Technology isn’t going to replace that and, actually, it can help advisers be better at building relationships, more skilled at learning about their clients and ultimately, more successful in providing them with an excellent service.
A Frictionless Financial Picture
At Progeny, the way we work is built around people and relationships. Whenever technology is employed, it is always with this guiding principle in mind, not simply for its own sake.
We’re currently piloting a platform, Progeny Client Portal, that allows clients to bring all of their financial and legal information together into one place – from stewardship reports to property valuations, pensions to ISAs, credit cards to current accounts, and from Wills to Powers of Attorney. The platform, which is delivered both online and as a mobile app, gives clients a complete and holistic view of their assets literally at their fingertips, and frictionless access to everything. If the clients are a couple, they can bring together all of their information to share combined views of collective assets under one umbrella.
With a tech tool like this, an adviser gets instant access to the most comprehensive picture available of an individual or a couple’s circumstances. They can get up to speed immediately with their clients’ financial and legal affairs directly from the platform, which has further knock-on benefits for the quality of the relationship.
A platform that keeps the financial and legal admin all in one place and ticking over all year round means that advisers can spend every minute of their meetings with clients on more fruitful, enriching conversations around their lives, contributing to the sort of productive, strategic financial planning that will help them achieve their goals.
Using the agility and connectedness of technology in this way means that an individual’s entire financial affairs can be managed in real-time. It’s a responsive overview that gives them instant access to information on their net wealth and allows their adviser to act immediately to tackle any potential problems before they develop into something bigger. Being more closely involved in this way means the adviser can be more responsive and dynamic in the relationship.
What’s more, with the peace of mind that they have everything ordered and in the same place, the anxiety of endless paper trails and the hassle of gathering up countless documents for annual adviser meetings is immediately eradicated. This shouldn’t be underestimated. Financial peace of mind is key to healthy financial behaviour and contributes to our general sense of human wellbeing. These are the foundations that lasting relationships are built on.
Making it More Meaningful
So, far from making the relationship less relevant or creating some sort of disconnect between client and adviser, the impact of technology is doing the opposite. Harnessed correctly, technology has the potential to deepen and enrich the relationship between client and adviser, making it more effective, meaningful and productive than ever before.
If you are a client and you’re interested in taking part in the pilot of Progeny Client Portal, please contact your adviser who will be able to provide further information.
Or, if you’re not a client but would like holistic guidance on your financial and legal affairs, please get in touch. We’d love to start building that relationship.