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Public leading the technology march

I read with some interest and then amusement that IFAs will transact at least £2.8bn-worth of business a year electronically within five years, according to research from The Exchange (Money Marketing, January 15.) My interest came as I am chief executive officer of a true innovator in the financial services sector, Group 300 Holdings. My amusement was at the superficial approach to surveying the market and how it feels about technology.

The industry should wake up and realise that it can no longer use old models to predict the future of our industry, particularly when it comes to the application of technology.

Has The Exchange taken into account the attitude of clients to new technologies? Would it surprise you to learn that our research indicates that members of the public, rather than IFAs, are more likely to embrace new technology and at a faster rate?

They are more likely to transact business electronically through platforms and portals, including actual advice, and so eat into the market share of those IFAs who maintain a head-in-the-sand attitude.

Merely stating an intention or a belief that they, the IFAs, will start to transact more business electronically in the future is not enough to stir up the still waters of the IFA pond. Sometimes, in order to succeed, waves have to be made.

The major benefit to the IFA of transacting the business back-end electronically is reduced cost for the providers which in turn creates greater margins. But what is in it for the customer?

At Group 300, we believe in a cradle-to-grave philosophy, which means a higher quality and greater consistency of advice for the client as well as cost-efficiency for both client and adviser.

Our message is that the future is bright but it will be brighter still once we bring the client into the process, too.

It is true that the adviser needs to start looking more toward technology and the industry as a whole must take more responsibility for training and education and not wait to be spoon-fed.

At Group 300, our mission is simple – to empower through innovation. So, if you want to glimpse into the future, come and visit us in Cambourne and be amazed at how far things have really come in a very short number of years.

Chris Batten

Chief executive officer,

Group300,

Cambourne, Cambridge

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