Shifting client expectations transforming the role of the adviser

From

David Clatworthy

The role of the financial adviser is changing as a result of increased client expectations and technological advances, according to Macquarie’s 2018 Accounting and Financial Services Benchmarking Report.

The second bi-annual Macquarie AFS Benchmarking Report surveyed 396 accounting and financial services firms to identify the key industry trends in a changing market.

David Clatworthy, a Division Director for Macquarie Wealth Management, said accounting and financial services firms need to evolve more quickly than ever before in order to deliver the level of service clients expect in a market that is rapidly evolving. Firms are doing this through engaging new technologies and systems, and personalising the client experience.

“Almost all firms surveyed believe the role of the adviser is changing,” Mr Clatworthy said.

“The findings demonstrate that personalising the client experience is key for firms wishing to differentiate themselves in the market, with clients expecting high quality relationships with their advisers that are tailored to their individual needs.”

Mr Clatworthy said the 2018 AFS Benchmarking Report showed high performing firms are investing in systems which give them a comprehensive view of the client, enabling advisers to highlight gaps in services so these can be proactively bridged and the client relationship strengthened.

Macquarie’s 2018 AFS Benchmarking Report also shows the industry has begun to form an idea of what the firm of the future will look like.

“Two-thirds of firms surveyed believe that a client centric approach is the future and will be underpinned by either a key relationship manager or by increasing the proportion of client-facing staff,” said Mr Clatworthy.

“Our findings suggest that the adviser of the future will have strong interpersonal skills supported by technology and data-driven insights, helping to drive truly meaningful client interactions.”

The report also showed that 78% of high performing firms believe that enhanced efficiencies through better use of technology is one of the most effective strategies to improve profitability in the current market.

“While many firms recognise the increasing value of technology to improve efficiencies and profits, the percentage of firms planning to invest in a new system in the next 12 months remains surprisingly low,” Mr Clatworthy said.

The AFS Benchmarking Report is based on an in-depth survey of 396 accounting and financial advice firms, conducted in December 2017 by Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group.

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