Investment platform switching on the rise: 2020 Planner Technology Report

From

Recep Peker

Leading research firm Investment Trends has released its 2020 Planner Technology Report, an in-depth study of Australian financial planners and their technology needs.

Key highlights:

  • Investment platform switching is on the rise
  • Planners want better client-facing functionality in their tech stack
  • Netwealth and AdviserLogic continue to lead satisfaction ratings

Investment platform switching is on the rise

Investment platform relationships are in flux, with a rising proportion of financial planners opting to switch platforms. The latest research shows that 29% of planners say they stopped placing new business on a platform in the past year – the third consecutive year of rising switching activity.

“Platform relationships are being challenged by the twin headwinds of the Royal Commission and the global pandemic,” said Recep Peker, Research Director at Investment Trends.

“Not only has platform switching reached a post-GFC high, planners are also broadening the range of platforms they use. The average planner uses 2.6 platforms each, reversing the consolidation seen in the last two years (up from 2.3 in 2018 and 2.1 in 2019).”

“In the face of pandemic-induced market volatility, financial planners are relying heavily on platforms for high quality service and support, with minimised service disruptions,” said Peker.

Industry wide, planners were generally satisfied with the support provided by their platforms through the COVID-19 pandemic (77% rated it as ‘good’ or ‘adequate’), but there is room to improve since almost a quarter (23%) were dissatisfied.

Planners want better client-facing functionality in their tech stack

The COVID-19 lockdown has transformed the way financial planners communicate and engage with their clients, further accelerating their adoption of digital-based tools.

“Since the start of the lockdown in early March, planners have significantly expanded their use of online meetings, email campaigns, digital signature tools and social media management systems. Whether by choice or circumstance, planners are adapting their technology stack during these unprecedented times,” said Peker.

Most planners (82%) believe the core of their tech stack – the platforms and advice software they use – are strategically important for the success of their business.

But not all planners are convinced they are using their technology stack to its full potential – industry wide, a third do not believe their platforms and planning software effectively help them demonstrate value to clients, while 38% do not believe they help boost efficiency.

“Planners trust their technology providers to help them improve the quality of their advice delivery, and providers can do more to satisfy their high expectations,” said Peker.

“A key first step is improving the online client-facing capabilities available to planners and their clients. For instance, planners currently give just 40% of their total client base access to an online portal, but they want to expand this capability to more clients, with 44% preferring all their clients to have online portal access.”

Netwealth and AdviserLogic continue to lead satisfaction ratings

In 2020, Netwealth remains the highest rated platform by overall satisfaction, with 96% of primary users rating their overall satisfaction as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, ahead of HUB24 (89%) in second spot. The top five platforms by overall satisfaction are:

  1. Netwealth
  2. HUB24
  3. CFS FirstChoice
  4. BT Panorama
  5. Macquarie Wrap

Each year, Investment Trends also measures planner satisfaction with their primary advice software. For the fifth consecutive year, AdviserLogic leads the industry in overall satisfaction, ahead of Midwinter and Xplan.

“Despite macro headwinds, industry wide overall satisfaction with both investment platforms and advice software providers increased for the first time since 2014,” said Peker.

“While great news for the industry, many satisfaction gaps persist in both parts of the value chain. To stand out, providers need to identify and refine the service areas that matter most to their users.”

About the report

Now in its seventeenth year, the Investment Trends 2020 Planner Technology Report is based on an in-depth online survey of 693 financial planners concluded in May 2020.

You must be logged in to post or view comments.