29/06/2022 - Feature articles

Delivering a digital advice service

Taking client meetings online

The coronavirus may be the catalyst for the move to virtual meetings, but there are many additional benefits to this mode of communication. Clients less able to travel to physical locations, such as time-poor or elderly clients, can make face-to-face meetings difficult to schedule. Skype and Zoom are two well-known telecommunication applications that can be used on all devices. It may require a quick step-by-step email to your clients to get them set up, but today’s older generation are relatively adept with these systems, many having used them for communicating with relatives and friends living abroad.

If you have a quiet working space with good lighting and a reliable internet connection, you can essentially have the same meeting you would have face to face. Screen sharing can be done with all these systems so you can refer to any documents throughout your meeting; however, it’s a good idea not to focus entirely on visual documents. Ensure both parties have the video turned on to allow you to see each other and build a better rapport with your clients.

As more clients become accustomed to this way of meeting, it may even become their preference in the future. Having the capability to host virtual meetings can speed up onboarding, reduce the time for follow-up meetings and position you as a technology-savvy practice.

Using video to enhance engagement

Video recordings and webinars are a good way to keep your clients informed, reassured and engaged. They can be used to provide updates for specific client segments, e.g. market update, the impact of a government policy change or outlining the benefits of staying invested during a market downturn.

GoToMeeting is a useful tool for multiple person presentations or webinars. Screencast-O-Matic and Movavi allow you to easily record a video communication to your clients. Good lighting and a neutral background will help to deliver a more professional-looking presentation. You can upload videos to Vimeo or Youtube and select to make the content private so it is not accessible to the public. Producing this sort of material can be an excellent and scalable way to keep in touch with your clients, whilst at the same time increasing client engagement and enhancing your value proposition.

Digital signatures

With today’s technology, you can simply scan a client’s business card with your phone (or in the current no-contact world, simply enter their email address) to email a fact-find questionnaire and risk profile followed by an investment recommendation. The investor receives their ‘paperwork’ via secure email quicker than it takes to arrange a first meeting, can digitally accept the advice, and from there it’s a secure message back to the platform for assets to be moved across seamlessly.

The statistics on Praemium’s online applications (that include digital acceptance) show that after one month the client is 33% more likely to fund their new application [60% funded with paper applications vs 80% with digital]. After 3 months, 80% of paper applications will have been funded, compared with 95% for digital.)

Making it easy for a client to get started means the client spends less time out of the market and are invested in line with their financial requirements sooner, plus the adviser de-risks the business, seeing a return on their hard work faster and more reliably.

Digital investor portals and client reporting

Client engagement is a key part of success for an advice practice and it’s never more important than during turbulent market conditions. Giving your clients access to a 24/7 digital portal means they have continuous access to their portfolio on any smart device. By delivering detailed, tailored reporting with the most up-to-date portfolio information directly to the digital portal, advisers can ensure clients are more informed about their wealth management. It also means any meetings or calls are less focused on portfolio updates and more on strategy.

Client health checks

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are also giving greater insights into client sentiment around their wealth management. Praemium’s Insights functionality can alert advisers to clients that may be in need of additional advice or engagement, allowing them to prioritise clients that may need their focus now.

With the right technology and technology partner, moving to a fully digital advice model may be easier than you think. Whilst it will take a little time to adapt, there are many long-term benefits to a digital service. A recent Deloitte report suggested that 50% of high-net-worth investors expect their adviser to offer a digital service. And digital-savvy advisers who embrace social and digital channels to connect with their clients outperform their peers by 200%, gaining new clients and assets, according to a 2016 Putnam Social Advisers Survey.

Importantly, with the millennial generation approaching forty, this next generation of clients who have grown up with technology will expect digital service. The changes you make now may be essential to your business in the short-term, but going digital offers the opportunity for more clients over the long term. Providing a more engaged service in an efficient and scalable way could see your business thrive for years to come.

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