19 August 2020
Advisers adopting a ‘fintech startup’ mindset can thrive
As the advice industry moves across COVID-19, advisers who are stuck in traditional processes will end up the losers but those who can adopt a startup mindset can redefine their roles and thrive.
Mark MacLeod chief executive at Rollit Wealth and speaker at the upcoming Adviser Innovation Summit, said that with the advice industry being a high profile, highly regulated profession, “advisers are expected to be experts and not make mistakes."
“It is very difficult for an adviser to admit that they do not know an answer. It is harder still to make mistakes or to fail,” he said.
Mr MacLeod said customers place a huge amount of trust in their adviser and for many advisers, "who you are as a person is linked closely with what you do as a profession."
“This makes it an ego-driven profession,” he said.
“I don’t mean arrogant, but instead centred around self-confidence and holding a ‘unique’ set of skills and insights.”
As a result, this makes adopting a start-up mindset difficult.
“Start-up founders have assumptions, not answers,” he said.
“Assumptions are tested on customers with incomplete services that often fail. These failures inform the next assumption and the services continue to pivot until they fit the customer need in an explorative, iterative process.”
In transitioning that thought process to advice, the “assumptions” and "failures" is how financial advisers should look to continually pivot advice tech in the future according to Mr MacLeod.
"Fintech assumes the advice process can be automated as a service, and adviser knowledge can be replicated or improved by tech," he said.
"For advisers, customer trust is therefore achieved when a service meets a customer need."
“The ‘unique’ skill and insight a founder mindset brings is in working systematically to achieve product / market fit."
"Basically, a process to really, really know your customer.”
Though automated advice, fintechs and robo advisers are making headway across the industry, Mr MacLeod said advice tech will not replace advisers.
“I feel this is a fear held by many in the profession. Technology replacing jobs, reducing revenue and ‘cheapening’ an adviser’s skills," he said.
“Advice tech will evolve, not destroy the profession.”
“The way customers are provided services will change and advice will become cheaper. But this is not a threat, it is an opportunity to service more customers, better.”
Mr MacLeod believes that the winners in the future of advice will be able to embrace technological change and grow market share.
The losers will persist with “out-dated business models.”
“It is the banking equivalent of sitting in a branch when customers are online, or the accounting equivalent of sending customers complex, bespoke spreadsheets when your customers wanted Xero,” he said.
“The companies who really, really know their customers will drive progress.”
The comments come following over a thousand advisers registering to attend this year’s virtual Adviser Innovation Summit, which will equip advisers with technical, innovative and game-changing strategies to revive the engine of their business and advance client outcomes.
Kris Walesby, chief executive of Adviser Innovation Summit gold partner ETF Securities, said the event presented a unique way for advisers to tap into the opportunities presented in a post-COVID world.
“ETF Securities has long believed that challenging times present opportunities for innovation and this is something we regularly see in our investments. Momentum Media’s first virtual conference, the Adviser Innovation Summit, is an example of finding innovative ways to do things differently in the COVID-era and we are delighted to have the opportunity to participate.”