I’m not interested in preaching the impending advisory Apocalypse. There is and always will be a place for good advice given person-to-person.
However, when I listen to the voices claiming that online advice, fintech, robo-advice or whatever you want to call it will never catch on, I can’t help but hear the emotion of denial, rather than the logic that leads to adaptation.
I never want to see SME advice businesses squeezed out. Quite the contrary. Our industry without them will be a lesser place. The coaching I do is part of making sure that doesn’t happen.
No, it’s SME advice businesses I want to see building these online offerings. You have the advisory knowledge, client insight and drive to lead the next wave of innovation better than anyone else.
I would love more advisers to recognise that it’s already happening and want to be part of it, rather than resistant to it.
So, to give you some insight into what others are already doing, I introduce you to three game changers that give you an idea of where thinking around certain transactional financial services is heading:
- Open Door (https://www.opendoor.com/) is little more than 12 months old and already it’s got the backing of a number of Silicon Valley heavyweights including Google. They aim to liquidify the real estate market and effectively eliminate the need for home sellers to deal with Real Estate Agents. The crux of it is; they use sales data to present a fair price for a home. If the seller accepts the price, they agree a move-out date and provide the cash. They then sell the property on at similarly fair value and take a clip. Basically, a share market for individual properties. Wow. Just wow.
- Society One (http://www.societyone.com.au/) is not new, but Matt Symons and his team have been diligently trudging through the regulation needed to launch the idea (proof that compliance, regardless of the complexity, should never be a barrier to those with an idea that can genuinely be a game-changer). The basic idea of SocietyOne is peer to peer lending. I’ve got $10k savings that the banks won’t even give me 5% interest for. Another person needs to borrow $10k that the banks want to slug him or her 20% for. Why not connect the two of us together and meet in the middle at 10%? Even better, why not connect 100 of me and 100 of them together, diversify and reduce the risk massively. SocietyOne is currently only available as an investment vehicle for wholesale investors and to those who want to borrow less than $20k, but watch out banks when approval is given for the rest of us.
- Cashwerx (http://cashwerkz.com/) has been built on the belief that getting the best deal on Term Deposits and Savings Accounts should be fast and easy. Basically, it offers to scan the market for the best offerings at any time and let you know as soon as you’ll get a better deal. In other words, it democratises the process that large financial institutions have been doing for years. Apathy is responsible for thousands of Australians accepting less than optimal returns on their hard earned savings. When the process is automated though, well suddenly we have a far more efficient market on our hands.
There are more, but these are three that spring to mind as demonstrating how technology has the opportunity to change the way consumers engage their financial affairs for the better.
I guess it boils down to this. As an adviser, if you know that consumers are also embracing new ways of engaging services that have long relied on the middleman, why would you not want to add those services to your offer? Why shouldn’t your business launch the next Open Door, SocietyOne or Cashwerx?
This shouldn’t and won’t mean the end of advisers, anymore than home workouts meant the end of gyms. If anything, it will improve advisers lot on numerous levels, including business efficiency, greater understanding of the value you can add and a host of other benefits.
Thankfully there are already plenty in our industry already well-progressed in thinking of it this way. I couldn’t be more excited about the years ahead.
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