Australian financial advisers are increasingly measuring practice success by the robustness of their compliance checks and balances, not just the speed by which they are able to generate a client’s Statement of Advice (SOA).
This is one of the key trends that financial software innovator Decimal says highlights the immediate challenges for financial advice technology in the highly fluid, post-FOFA environment.
“We have brought to market online tools that enable the delivery of quality, compliant advice on a large scale without increasing costs,” said Decimal Managing Director Mr Jan Kolbusz.
“The tools are also fast. Yet, we worry about placing too much emphasis – as is a simplistic view in certain quarters – that faster SOAs are better. We know that advisers in fact find that faster is not always better, if it also means more labour, effort and input cost to ensure a proper compliance standard is met.
“The last thing the financial advice industry needs is compromised advice outcomes on the basis that we have singularly pursued speedy SOA delivery,” Mr Kolbusz warned.
Back-office administration expert, Mr Patrick Walford, at Marketshare Solutions, says advisers require a clearer picture of the full spectrum of advice delivery – from fact find to implementation.
“With a system such as Decimal, an adviser can see in real-time the exact nature of the advice and the detail around the advice in the instant that the SOA has been created. Any advisory compliance and administration questions can all be dealt with, within 30 minutes of the SOA being issued.
“This is far more efficient as it also removes the old ‘back and forth interactions’ syndrome which previously took many days to resolve,” Mr Walford said.
Mr Kolbusz said financial advisers are also reporting fresh challenges in an environment where pressure is mounting for more client interaction and engagement.
“But on the other hand, the need to deliver quality advice that is 100 per cent compliant without increasing costs. Both can be achieved,” he said.
“A robust compliance system, where at every stage of the financial advice process, compliance officers can view every interaction with the consumer in real-time, can help to reduce compliance risks and maximise the potential to deliver quality financial advice to consumers,” says Mr Jan Kolbusz.
“Be it from engagement, fact finding through to SOA production and fulfillment, compliance officers can examine the appropriateness of the advice in real-time. With a traceable history, advisers are always audit ready.”