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Advisers drive cultural revolution as digitisation is accelerated

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According to a white paper published recently by SuperOffice, international market intelligence firm IDC has produced research showing that net global spending on digital transformation in 2018 was approximately £1 trillion and that this number is expected to increase to more than £2 trillion by 2022. And interestedly, 79% of companies interviewed admitted that COVID-19 had increased the budget for digital transformation.

That sounds like significant investment and progress but another study quoted in the SuperOffice paper revealed that 55% of businesses, when asked about their digital transformation plans, revealed they believe they have less than a year before they start to suffer financially and lose market share.

These statistics don’t surprise us. From our conversations and business dealings with financial services firms over the last couple of years we have found that there is not only a will for digital transformation but also a willingness to invest. It’s just that many financial services firms haven’t yet found the way to pull it all off.

But that is changing and we too have found that the pandemic has been a catalyst for a new sense of urgency. It may have started life as a meme but the gallows humour above soon became a PowerPoint slide in many a board room presentation.

It’s true of course. When we were prevented from doing business face to face, our corporate and personal environments embraced technology like never before and transformed not only the way we did things but the way we thought about things. We realised perhaps that certain processes took too much time, we recognised technology was our friend and that it improved the efficiency and scope of our working and personal lives. We started to feel more comfortable with it. It turned out that this shift was as much a cultural transformation as a digital transformation.

Within the financial services world, the pandemic has hastened the demise of face to face meetings and paper chasing fact finding. It has seen an increase in demand for digitisation by clients, some of whom became converts to digital processes during the last 10 months, and an acceleration of demand from advisers to speed up the cumbersome process.

Advisers are reporting that, in terms of digital transformation, first and foremost they want data collation automated, so they can get their customers onboarded and suitability assessed, quickly and efficiently and allow them to get on with using their skills to build relationships, develop products and strategies and grow their portfolios and businesses. Equally, advisers report that their customers want the tedious manual data collection out the way so that they can talk with their financial adviser about their investments.

Our digital solution not only achieves this in minutes rather than days, it also collates, categorises and enriches client data. That means processes are hugely enhanced at the onboarding stage but also a rich data resource is also available for advisers at the click of a button for ongoing suitability assessments.

Covid-19 may well be seen to have had a significant impact in accelerating the digital transformation across our industry, but it’s advisers and their clients who are leading the transformation by identifying how technology can enhance the day to day aspects of delivering exceptional wealth management services. And it’s this partnership between advisers, clients and technology that is really going to shape both the way we think and the way we do business.

by Richard Braidwood COO, Visible Capital

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