View more on these topics

Independent view

We have all seen clients become more savvy when it comes to their finances. Their expectations have resulted in the multi-channel complexities we see today. But what role does the internet play and will the service ever meet client demands?

Multi-channel deployment is not completely new but added features are moving at a fast rate. As clients&#39 time becomes more precious, what could be better than a web-based solution detailing in one place all their assets and liabilities? Include within this real-time pricing and they have a truly up-to-date position of their finances.

This technology is not new in the US, where it is a popular feature for clients. Moves are being made not only to record assets and liabilities but also to add in drag-and-drop facilities on the site.

This will allow consumers to look at their credit card balances, view the rates charged by other providers and literally drag their balance to that new provider to benefit from lower rates. The same may be achieved for savings, banking and mortgages.

For cost-driven products such as credit cards, the switch could be simple so long as the credit companies play ball. This latest feature would add a whole new dimension of competition among providers. As in the UK remortgage market, some providers may take the stance of not encouraging or accepting this form of rate switching but this would only result in a lower market share in the long run.

Add to the service news related to the consumer&#39s holdings and interests and they have a one-stop site for a balanced financial picture. This will allow both clients and their advisers to better understand their needs through a better picture of their circumstances.

The client benefits from competitive and flexible product pricing. With a real-time picture backed up by annual advisory reviews, the client will be in a strong position.

But face-to-face advice will still very much form an important part of the service, as there are many products that are not just price-dependent. Quality advice matched to their needs will be provided by quality IFAs backed with the added service of an up-to-date view of their circumstances.

For those wanting to pay for an ongoing service, a paraplanner can back up the adviser. At the annual review (or more often if required) with the adviser, the fact-find can be updated. The fact-find data then prepopulates application forms, which can then be sent to the client to check and sign for onward transmission to the provider.

The ability to drag and drop balances is some way off. We first have to get providers to agree. Look how supportive banks are of switching accounts with direct debits.

The first area to be facilitated is likely to be credit cards as there is already a culture of balance switching and virtually no brand loyalty in this arena. However, if sectors remain inflexible to the changes, this problem could be bypassed. For example, in the case of banking, the reason it is difficult to switch is the delay on moving direct debits. However, by storing all direct debit information on the site, the client could merely cancel the old ones and send the new ones to the new bank.

Technology is moving fast in our industry – sometimes too fast. What is evident now is that research and development is geared towards clients&#39 needs and not the pure interests of the provider.

It has never been a better time for clients so long as charging is set at a level that supports the adviser so that they are not priced out of the market. Then we will all benefit.

Colin Bell is project co-ordinator at Charcol

Recommended

SG Life & Pensions – SG Life International Bond

Tuesday, 11 September 2001.Type: Traditional offshore bond.Aim: Growth by investing in a choice of three risk graded portfolios,cautious, balanced, aggressive or a self-select option with a choiceof 94 unit trusts, oeics, managed bond funds and investmenttrusts.Minimum investment: £50,000.Place of registration: Guernsey.Investment split: Choice of three risk graded portfolios, cautious,balanced, aggressive or a self-select option with […]

Rothschild Asset Management – Five Arrows Monthly Income Fund

Thursday, 13 September 2001.Type: Oeic.Aim: Income by investing in corporate bonds and emerging markets.Minimum investment: Lump sum £1,000, monthly £50 class A shares.Investment split: Corporate bonds 85 per cent, emerging markets sovereign debt 15 per cent.Yield: 8.8 per cent.Isa link: Yes.Pep transfers: Yes.Charges: Initial none, annual 1.5 per cent class N shares, initial 3 per […]

Almeida Capital appoints new chairman

Financial research and information provider Almeida Capital is appointing Mitch Cybulski as chairman. Cybulski was previously chairman of SmithKline Beecham International.Almeida Capital chief executive Richard Sachar says: “We are absolutely delighted that someone of Mitch&#39s calibre and experience has joined our firm.”

Face-to-face demand is still growing

The demand for face-to-face financial advice is set to grow and is not threatened by technology, says global financial services industry thinktank, the Global Futures Forum. The forum, set up by technology giant Unisys to look at how businesses can benefit by modelling the future five to 10 years ahead, comprises academics and businesspeople. Its […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm

    Email: customerservices@moneymarketing.com