Traditional financial advisors are falling embarrassingly far behind when it comes to tech

By Oliver Smith on Wednesday 20 January 2021

Savings and Investment

Only two of the top 20 advisors offered video conferencing for new customers.

Traditional financial advisors are falling embarrassingly far behind when it comes to tech
Image source: William Iven/Unsplash.

Instant responses, video conferencing, online appointment scheduling. These are among the features and technologies which have become commonplace in most facets of our lives over the past few years.

Unfortunately, they’re also largely absent from the world of traditional financial advice.

A report by scheduling software group Cronofy into the various technologies used by the FT Adviser top 20 firms found a huge gap, not just between advisors and fintech rivals, but between most consumer-facing businesses today.

Only two of the 20 advisors offered video conferencing options for new customers, just one gave an instant online response to an enquiry (albeit with an automated email), and three still hadn’t responded to online enquires after two weeks.

Among Cronofy’s top observations was a core focus on telephone calls with new clients, regardless of a client’s preference and without online scheduling options in place.

“You always think: well, if I just give them a call and talk to them, that will be the quickest way to get it sorted,” said Jonathan McAlister, an adviser at the Asset Planning Corporation.

“But in reality, they would rather have finite options presented to decide what works best. Being chased with phone or email tag that takes days is a good way to turn them off.”

Five of the financial advisors on the list only supplied an email address and phone number for new clients to contact, with the rest at least offering web forms with guidance around what information to send.

Finally, 30 per cent of the top 20 didn’t even present basic details like pricing on their websites.

Compare this world of traditional financial advice to the likes of a Multiply or a Wealth Wizards, both of which offer regulated financial advice instantly with transparent pricing, and it’s clear to see the challenge ahead for this slow-moving sector.

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