Finance industry ends momentous year divided

| December 20, 2018

As possibly the most momentous year to date in the history of Australian financial services comes to an end, advice practitioners are being divided into two very distinct groups said Mentor Education Group (Mentor) founder and managing director Dr Mark Sinclair.

Commenting further, Dr Sinclair said by every account, the financial services sector has literally faced a tsunami of challenges including the Royal Commission, FASEA, Productivity Commission Report, etc that in their wake has left the advice sector in particular shell shocked and polarised intocamps he describes as ‘receptors’ and ‘rejectors’.

“The ‘receptors’ have accepted the new compliance and education reality and are embracing the fourth Industrial Revolution*, that by reengineering their practices, adapting and applying new technologies, they can ride the crest of the wave to new, exciting commercial opportunities”, said Dr Sinclair.

“The ‘rejectors’, mainly comprise mature age and experienced advisers, that gallantly weathered storm after storm in the past, have decided this current regulatory environment is much too much and have chosen to retire and exitthe industry before 2024”.

This fourth Industrial Revolution of emerging digital technology breakthroughs is here, and it allows receptors to reach more people and offer them new services, and in the process greatly improve client experience and financial indicators.

Transforming into a digital advice practice requires passion for improving client centric processes, client experience and most importantly client outcomes by embracing new digital tools which are relatively accessible, easy to learn and cost effective.

For example, today’s customer relationship management (CRM) systems embody artificial intelligence, workflow management, machine learning, API integration to centralise all information and personalised (automatic) client interactions using the clients preferred communications channel, be it mobile phone, email, WeChat etc.

Combine this with faster internet speeds, video conferencing and compliance tools, and we have a wave of transformation which is engulfing the local and global economy at a faster rate than previously thought possible.

Financial advisers are not alone with accountants, brokers, real estate agents, the legal profession and educators facing similar challenges, affirmed Dr Sinclair.

Riding the digital wave is not just a priority for the advice sector, but also for Mentor Education. EduTech is fast becoming a key differentiator across the education sector and Mentor is embracing, along-side advisers, this new digital age, said Dr Sinclair.

This has seen Dr. Sinclair identify and deploy within Mentor the best of breed CRM, learning management system (LMS), Student management System (SMS) and integrate across over 50 applications.

Business and technology transformation is in Dr Sinclair’s blood, cutting histeeth at KMPG and AT Kearney before founding Mentor in 2003, and Mentor has TV screens on every wall highlighting key metrics such as student satisfaction and response times.

However, it is only now in this new digital age that the enabling technology is readily accessible, relatively easy to implement and, most importantly, affordable to small and medium sized businesses.

“Although 2018 will end with a sigh of relief there are still hurdles ahead for the many sectors that comprise professional advisory services – but none more so than financial advisers.

“The legacy of the Royal Commission and new education / professional development requirements will, over the long run, be positive for them (financial advisers) by creating a stronger environment which, over time, will result in improved transparency, governance and business growth / success,” he said.