Advice affordability a growing concern

Latest research from Investment Trends shows financial advisers are becoming increasingly concerned with how to provide affordable advice.

Investment Trends' 2019 Planner Technology Report revealed more advisers are struggling to provide affordable financial advice, with 43% of surveyed advisers citing it as a challenge, up 10 percentage points from last year.

Similarly, advisers also recognise the need to reduce the cost of advice, with 39% said it was a key business challenge in the post-Royal Commission world.

Investment Trends research director Recep Peker said advisers were aiming to expand their pool of clients as a means of dealing with the structural challenges facing the sector.

"For years, planners have struggled to grow their client base as they face a shifting regulatory landscape, the reputational impact of the Royal Commission and uncertain market conditions. In their quest to lift client numbers and practice profitability, more planners are focused on lowering cost and serving clients in an affordable manner," Peker said.

He added planners would evaluate their technology partners, licensee and product set more critically than ever to find solutions meeting the needs of themselves, their practice and their clients.

The report revealed advisers have already begun to make changes, with one platform discarded from a planner's technology mix in since 2009 on average.

Most planners now use two platforms to service clients according to the research, with the cost to clients being the largest factor (57%) for advisers when choosing a platform.

Peker said platforms need to focus on strengthening the relationship with advisers as competition heats up, noting 56% of funds under administration end up on the primary platform, while just a quarter sit on the secondary platform.

He also said industry super funds were seeing growth among planners, with 9% of planners allocating client inflows to industry fund platforms so far this year.

Netwealth is still the highest rated platform, with 55% of planners primarily using the platform listing their satisfaction as very good. HUB24 sits in second at 43%, with Asgard eWRAP, CFS First Choice and BT Panorama rounding out the top five.

AdviserLogic ranked as the top planning software for the fourth year in-a-row, ahead of XPLAN and Midwinter.

Peker said planners were looking for better tools to facilitate better collaboration during face-to-face meetings, with planners registering "below par" satisfaction with the mobile access and client engagement tools of their planning software.

"This desire is also reflected in their interest in widening their online client portal capabilities. Almost all planners (94%) believe their clients can benefit from access to an online portal, most often through greater engagement, transparency, and keeping them informed and educated," he added.

Read more: Investment TrendsRoyal CommissionRecep PekerAdviserLogicAsgard eWRAPBT PanoramaCFS First ChoiceMidwinterNetwealthXPLAN
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