DeLoitte’s 2017 FSI Review points to the fact that change and the increasing complexity of the industry is the ‘new normal’. The review notes that within a 5-year timeframe, robotic process automation (RPA), blockchain and cognitive systems will drive dramatic change and have a profound, lasting impact on service providers’ operations.
What this means for firms trying to stay relevant, service (and retain) valuable clients and build their firm is that innovation and harnessing the power of disruptive technologies is critical to future-proofing the business.
Here are 3 important ways you can embrace technology as a financial adviser:
1. Update your IT operating model and strategy to get ready for the ‘new normal’
According to the PwC Report, Financial Services Technology and Beyond: Embracing Disruption, financial planning firms need to pay attention to whether or not they need different hardware, software, or storage technology, now and as they head into the next decade of imminent industry change.
Importantly, the Report notes that firms should balance where they are with where they are going which means ‘supporting both core ‘keep-the-lights on’ functions and large transformation initiatives’.
Are your products, services, operating models and geographies static? Or are they nimble enough to support future growth? Have you got the right governance system to support your business and IT initiatives? Does your architecture connect to anything, anywhere?
Even the most simple moves such as adopting an appointment booking software booking program to automate that function can assist in reducing costs and streamlining your business operations, according to Professional Planner.
Other strategies you may wish to consider, according to the PwC Report, are the adoption of an aggressive SaaS-based model and deploying robotics and AI-base automation to cut costs, increase efficiency, provider greater accessibility for clients and streamline your processes. For example, you may secure a license for a software robot to help gather, collate and validate information and help with reporting, reconciliation and compliance tasks (and at much less cost than an offshore or onshore staff member).
Investing in future-focused IT systems and strategies is one of the best ways to prepare the ‘new normal’.
2. Pay attention to cybersecurity
Keeping data secure across a range of platforms and systems is exponentially more difficult than it used to be. Cyber attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated and financial firms holding sensitive data are a clear target. This is why cyber security should be at the top of your priority list.
According to PwC’s Report, because it’s impossible to stay on top of every threat, the true goal of cybersecurity management is building resiliency. This means making sure your systems are designed to detect threats and respond to cyber events so you can lessen any financial or business disruption.
Some of the best approaches to take may include the following:
- Creating a cybersecurity roadmap to mitigate exposure to new and ongoing threats
- Developing a world-class cyber response which includes good crisis management planning, and
- Deploying state-of-the-art data mining tools and other technologies to detect anomalies in security and fraud applications.
Cybersecurity issues are not going anywhere – in fact, they are increasingly complex in the digital age. With the right tools in place, you’ll likely avoid cost implications and loss of customer trust if and when a cyber assault occurs.
3. Focus on hiring and retaining top IT talent
Having a smart, efficient IT systems and strategies to propel the business into the future won’t help much if the staff you employ aren’t talented and innovative enough to utilise those systems and strategies and provide ongoing value to your customer base.
The FSI Review suggests hiring an innovation leader to give real substance to the strategy business unit of asset servicing or moving power from the COO to the strategy and innovation function.
The PwC Report says that firms need to ensure they have the right IT skill sets to build and operate an effective digital channel offering, consider recruiting expert talent from technology-focused organisations and think tanks as well as staff with engineering and software skills, foster a culture of innovative thinking and educating current executives to enhance their IT skills to assist the business.
Embracing technology means being constantly innovative, creating a talented, IT-focused workforce and developing flexible, resilient IT systems and strategies that will evolve with the business into the future and keep it protected from data breaches and cyber attacks. Financial planning firms can stay agile by incorporating cloud-based, robotic and AI-based technologies and always looking for ways to modernise and differentiate your firm.
Chris Wrightson. Founder and CEO at Centurion Market Makers, the industry experts in the sale, acquisition and management of financial planning firms. If you’re planning on selling your firm in 2018, we’d love you to call us for a confidential discussion, or continue browsing our website for more tips, tools and info on the steps to take when buying or selling your financial planning firm.
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