Updated: Feb 12, 2020
By Rafiq Hidayat Mohd Ramli
Should access to financial technology be available to a certain individuals in the finance industry or for everyone? Here, I discuss why financial planning firms should have access to the latest technology suitable to the technological shift happening in our financial industry.
When I attended the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) Conference last month, one of the speakers shared with the participants with regards to a new social financial tool that will help Financial Planners improve their efficiency and augment their intelligence.
All in all, I was impressed by the thought that went into the development of the tool, as most of the functions were items that I was planning to include in our own application.
However, when I went to inquire more about the functions of the tool, to my dismay the developer informed me that the tool was built for the individual financial planners with no plans to have an aggregator built-in for firm-level data analysis and decision making.
That brought me to think, should the development of the financial planner business be individual-led or firm-led, or a combination of both?
Obviously, as a firm owner, I see some disadvantages if the system is left for the individual financial planner.
Benefit of Having Firm-Based Fintech Instead of Individual Oriented
Initiative to Improve As A Group
If FinTech tools are only available to individual financial planners, this would mean that only financial planners who see the value in engaging the company for the system would pay for the services, and this needs to take into account whether they have the means to do so. On the other hand, a financial firm can impose implementation of wide usage of FinTech in which firms can dictate/support/subsidize the cost to allow everyone to reap the benefits of using the system.
Ease of Learning Curve
Best known method sharing. When individuals use the system, they will attempt to learn how to use the system to help them with their own sales process, etc. While this is good, on the other hand having a firm-mandated system would allow the same advisor to learn from the mistakes/findings of the firms and/or other advisors. Leveraging in this manner would accelerate the full implementation of the system faster.
Better Management of Clients
Currently, some firms do provide leads to their advisors (some, not all). As a firm that does so, I would also like to know how the lead/client that has been provided is being managed instead of being kept in the dark for a resource that has been provided to the advisor. Having the system being aggregated at a firm-level would allow for some supervisory functions which in turn will help in better management of the clients in general.
Why FinTech Is Not Available for Firms Yet
The reasoning behind why it’s not made to be aggregated at a firm-level was to allow for planners/advisors to move between firms as the ownership of the clients belongs to the advisors, not the firm. I can’t speak on other firms, but in Wealth Vantage Advisory – WVA, our advisors are allowed to bring out all their clients, AUM, etc if they decide to leave the firm at any time, with the exception of the firm-provided clientele.
Back to my experience at the AFA conference, I was hoping that the system that was presented could have been implemented seamlessly for the firm as this would cut down on the process that we would have taken to implement/built it ourselves. However, as it seems, we will still have to spend the resources in order to do so.
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