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The harder things to impart through online advice- comment of the week

Comment related to last week’s Nic Cicutti column Online advice deniers need to think again

Let’s face it, most investment advice is already formulaic and tools-based and tends to follow the profiler/asset allocation/fund selection/auto-rebalancing format.

This technology was being used by advisers on the Selestia platform, online, even before broadband became ubiquitous. 

I suggest most bespoke portfolios do not need to be, when analysed relative to a suitability checklist. That said, even the risk discussion process can be conducted by Q&A feedback and without the ‘reassuring corporeal presence’. I am working on that process already with a supplier. Online investment advice is no more than two years away.

But financial planning advice is a different matter. I can see tax and product rules being coded, and sophisticated scenario analysis being available online, but as yet I see no technology that empathises, or understands body language and expression, in order to engage emotionally, to strategise or, frankly, use that great human trait of “common sense”.

Here I think relationship management really matters.

It is in financial planning where advisers’ real futures lie, ably supported by technology to crunch the numbers. But I would remind everyone that it is not only ease of use that concerns customers; it is also about feeling valued and being given peace of mind. These are harder things to impart remotely.

Graham Bentley



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