March 30, 2022

Delivering Advice Differently #1 – Transcript

SERIES :

Delivering Advice Differently

Share :

LinkedIn
Twitter

Fraser Jack
Hello, and welcome to this series on one of my favorite topics, delivering advice differently. My name is Fraser Jack and in this series we hear from an incredible panel of speakers. First up is Ben Marshan the head of policy strategy and innovation at the Financial Planning Association. Then we have Prashant Nagarajan, co founder of Melbourne based advice firm finical, and Michelle Bannister, CEO of optimal financial. Rounding up the conversation is Geoff Ivanac, financial and estate planner from real life financial planning in Perth. This is the first podcast in a series of five. In this episode, we start high level and discuss the evolution of advice delivery, where we’ve come from, and how that has shaped our mindset and limitations of what advice could be in the future and open the lid on what is possible. In Episode Two, we cover separating strategy from product. In episode three, we take a look at using visuals for engagement. Episode Four is all about demonstration of understanding and how you can empower clients. And rounding out the series we take on creating a client centric advice process as opposed to a compliance directed advice process. For now stay tuned as we kick off with our high level theories on the evolution of advice delivery. Thank you for joining me, Ben Marshan.

Ben Marshan
Thanks for having me, Fraser. It’s good to be here today.

Fraser Jack
Fantastic to have you alone. Now we’re talking about the evolution of the advice delivery in this particular episode. But before we get into that, just give us a quick background of your yourself and your role at the moment.

Ben Marshan
So I’m Ben Marshan, I’m the head of policy strategy and innovation at the Financial Planning Association. Primarily, my role is government relations. And so I read hundreds of pages of legislation and regulation and write long reports and responses back to government and have lots of conversations with them. So as you can imagine, that’s about as exciting as it sounds. And so my hobby and pastime, as a nerd and a geek is technology. And so I’ve been thinking for the last five, six years, while I’ve been at the FPA how we can integrate technology into our vise practices and make advice more accessible to Australians how to make it more affordable, provide advice, and how to make it far more engaging to actually produce advice and provide it to clients. So they better understand

Fraser Jack
definitely a hot topic and probably on the mind of everybody listening to this particular podcast episode, with regards to you know, how do we, you know, provide advice differently? How do we embrace technology to be able to do that? So exactly what we’re talking about now. But before we get into the solution, let’s actually start with the past and talk about the the advice process itself and how it was created from I guess, what was the you know, financial services Reform Act in 2001 2001 2002?

Ben Marshan
Yeah, well, we had the clips. So clip six, in particular, before that, in the late 90s. There wasn’t really much of a formal advice process prior to that. But with the introduction of the Corporations Act, and the Financial Services reform, what we ended up with was rules effectively around disclosure. So we had specific requirements of what we needed to disclose to consumers. And we did the best we could with the technology that we had available at the time in the early 2000s. And so you think back in early 2000s, some of us who were geeky or nerdy or were on the internet and using using technology, but for the most part, you know, personal computers were were in their early evolution. And so we will primarily Using word processes and Microsoft Word as the way that we delivered information to anybody, if we want to create something you want to share information with them, we, we documented that using Microsoft Word. And so when you think about the fact that you had to disclose that you were you had to document your statement of advice that you’re providing, you had to disclose certain information to the client about the recommendations you’re making and the benefits and the drawbacks of those, you had to disclose the costs of the advice that the client would receive, you have to disclose if you’re replacing one product for another. The benefits and drawbacks of that, the best way to do that with the technology that was available at the time was was word based. And effectively it was paper based. Because that’s, that’s really the only way you could, you could make sure the client had a copy of of the advice they received. And so we have more or less been stuck in the early 2000s, the early noughties in terms of the way we deliver advice to our clients, because we haven’t adapted with the times and we haven’t changed the technology we used to deliver advice.

Fraser Jack
Yes. And I guess, like to be fair, when word came in, it was it was a massive leap forward from the typing pools of people having to type documents, if you made one mistake, you had to start again. And obviously that mean, now documents could get way longer, couldn’t they? Because we can, you know, we can actually make changes and not worry about having to go back to the start at the typing. But then I think I hate to think how many trees we’ve used up over the over the over that 20 year period to produce statements of advice. But I just wanted to go back to that point. You mentioned around the corpse act and disclosure information, because it’s pretty important when we look at what the advice delivery can because we’ve still got those similar disclosure regime in place. Yeah. But it was very much around financial product sales, right, because that’s how financial products were distributed that was sold. And so the the emphasis was very much around. You’re providing information around financial product, sales, or financial products in general. And then financial advice came in and there was this sort of weird thing, is financial advice a product or is it is it actually a service and took us through that process with with regards to the court site?

Ben Marshan
Yeah, I think that I mean, the the history of where most financial planners came from was, was effectively out of agency models or sales rep models that that big financial product products had out there. So they would have a salesperson who would go around as a as a life insurance salesperson. And so when they were thinking about how to regulate financial advice, they regulated effectively as a distribution of a product. And so financial advice became defined, unfortunately, the Corporations Act as a financial product, it’s a financial services service, but it is it is regulated as a specific financial product, which is effectively mean meant with jammed advice into the same disclosure and, you know, reporting and information obligations that that financial products have. So you need to provide FSGs the same way financial products do you have to provide a disclosure document in product space, it’s a Product Disclosure Statement in advice basis, a statement of advice, but they aren’t that massively dissimilar. You need to on an annual basis when you when you run a product, you have to provide statements of the fees and the outcomes. And we have to provide the disclosure statements in terms of the fees the clients pay. So we’re regulated in exactly the same way. But the unfortunate thing is we’re providing a professional service, we’re not actually selling a product. And so the regulation of financial advice has gotten very messy over the last 20 years. Because of that, that discrepancy.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, this has become really interesting, because obviously clients, you know, we think about the evolution clients were getting financial plans. And then it switched to them getting disclosure documents when I say document because that’s what they were getting. And financial advice became about selling disclosure versus, you know, versus giving people a plan. Well, this is the problem,

Ben Marshan
because when you sell a product, you physically sell something, you sell somebody investing into a product or you sell an insurance product. And so this same analogy came through to advice and so effectively, what you ended up with was was products who were involved in advice, we have to sell something and so we’re going to sell the statement of advice and so that became the focal point of how advice was provided and therefore, what was what was the focal point of the ad vise process it was selling that statement of advice. That’s never been where the value has been for consumers. That’s never been where the value that a financial planner provides to their clients. It has been in helping them understand their goals, their objectives has been helping them create a financial plan. And most importantly, it’s been holding them accountable to achieving that financial plan. And that allows consumers to sleep at night knowing that their financial position is looked after their financial plan. Position is secure. They know what they can spend, they know what’s coming in, they know what their assets are, they know what their liabilities are. And that provides a lot of comfort and value to the client. It’s not in that document that 80 to 100 page document, the 80 to 100 pages of paper that we’re providing to the client, which ultimately goes into the back of the filing cabinet, and goes out of date the day after it’s provided and is never seen or heard of again. But the view of licensees the view of the Corporations Act, the view of regulators is from has been for a long time, but that is ultimately what we’re selling.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, that’s, that’s super interesting there. And that also the out of the corpse act, obviously, an act to regulate corporations, and not necessarily advice providers, but corporations, we ended up with licensees, which were, you know, obviously back then larger groups, larger the create more scale, and you know, paying for the legal team to provide advice, that corporate then needed to protect itself as an entity. So a lot of legal advice, that legal advice was to protect yourself against the client suing you or against the client. This This, to me is a bit of a fundamental, we’ve stopped providing clients with what they needed, and which has the information to make an informed decision, and started looking at this or coming into it the advice process by creating an advice process that was compliance led, as opposed to consumed late and when I say as opposed to I’m saying that because I mean, compliance was the idea of protecting the corporations involved, versus what the client actually needed.

Ben Marshan
So I think there’s been two issues, the first issue is that we effectively have very rules based regulation. And so from our licensees perspective, what they need to do to prove to the regulator and if there’s a complaint from a consumer is that they’ve followed all of the laws and regulations that they need to to make sure that the advice is provided, legally. And so you have this check, tick box approach where you check off the box, have you provided the FSG? Does the FSG have all this information, how you’ve done an SOA does the SOA cover page have all these bits of information. And so you just tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. And so you have this outcome, which isn’t not focused really from a from a licensing perspective. On the client, it’s focused on have we ticked all the boxes. The second issue is that the medium that we have chosen to provide advice in is flat, it’s a flat piece of paper that you have to print on. And so you’re restricted to an a4 piece of paper. Now, people’s lives are four dimensional, right? So we’ve got, you know, we live in a three dimensional world, we traveled through time and space as the fourth dimension. And it’s really hard to compact a person’s life and their goals and their objectives, and their financial assets and their financial liabilities, and how those all interact with each other, recommend products in the physical world. So we’re going to put money in these products, or we’re going to pay premiums into an insurance product, it’s really hard to combat that onto an A flat a4 piece of paper, using mainly typed the words in a way that that is, is engaging and understood and will allow the client to understand it. And so when you combine ticker boxes, and a medium that doesn’t allow you to demonstrate properly, goals and objectives and financial position and what you’re ultimately recommending, and then you have to somebody ultimately will come and have a look at that advice. And that file, it becomes really difficult to understand whether or not the advice was appropriate to the client, whether or not you fully understood the client, whether or not the client fully understood the advice whether or not the advice is in the best interest of the client. Because you’re going to make assessments off a flat piece of paper, maybe a more bigger file, but often just a flat piece of paper about whether you’ve complied with the law, and it’s become very, very difficult. And so you have a lot of disclosures, you have a lot of length, you’ve got a lot of explanations that don’t necessarily need to be there when you speak to a client and can scale the advice up and down.

Shan Chung
Yeah, let go I really like that way of looking at it, you know, a flat dimensional process. That’s where we’re at now, I guess, in a four dimensional, something that we need to cover four dimensions of tell us about then in that case. So that’s where we’re at now, what does the future hold?

Ben Marshan
I think from what we’re doing as the FPA. You know, we’ve been having a lot of conversations with lawmakers and a lot of conversations with regulators and with licensees and lawyers and compliance experts, with members with consumers. And when you actually have a look at the laws, and you have a look at the regulations, there’s actually nothing stopping us from creating these live and engaging disclosure documents to provide provide advice,

Fraser Jack
let’s change it to statements disclosure statements rather than documents, closer statements.

Ben Marshan
That’s exactly right. So how can we provide a statement of the advice that we’re providing in a much more live and engaging way? So the future of advice delivery is absolutely not paper based. The future advice delivery is, is is live it, it’s it’s video, it’s audio, it’s interactive graphics, it will update live over time. And that’s a much more engaging way for clients to to live their financial plan to experience their financial plan to understand their financial plan so that it’s scalable and addresses the information that they need to make decisions about their life, their financial position, the products they’re going to do use to achieve their financial goals and objectives. So we’ve been working a lot on that with with regulators and lawyers, and licensees and compliance experts to try and bring this concept to life and help our members create these type of advice. Statements of advice. Yep, fantastic.

Fraser Jack
And I want to get into it more of that as we go through this series. So we’ll probably come back to that particular point a few times. But for now, Ben, thanks so much for being part of this first episode, in how we talk about advice being delivered differently. Alright. Thanks, Fraser. Thanks, everyone. Welcome to this first episode, I am joined by Prashant and Michelle and we are talking about the evolution of the advice process. But before we get there, I want to jump in Prashant and we’ll start with you tell us a little bit quickly about yourself and your background.

Phrashant Nagarajan
Hi, Fraser. Thanks for having me here. So my background, I first started, I am a financial advisor now. And I first started in this line of work at about 2009 I started the journey as a client manager working for an advisor and handling the appointments and that sort of thing. And that was back in the Gold Coast. And then we I sort of moved into advice looked for a and Zed and then a few boutique firms after and around 2017 I decided to let go of the steady paycheck and and get started with the mission to help young families with their money. I was you know, we started this business with Daniel Thompson has my who’s the co founder of finical as well. And then it’s been almost four years now since we’ve officially opened the doors and you know, started doing what we do. So it the journey has been incredibly humbling, and there’s been a lot of learning and in, in this whole whole thing. And we’re really excited to be where we are now.

Fraser Jack
Fantastic. And I’m looking forward to get into getting into those learnings along your journey. Michelle, let’s, let’s quickly check that your person has how tell us about your journey to where you are now

Michelle Bannister
in my current role, I’m the CEO of optimal financial so you know, we do software modeling technology for financial advisors, but I’m not a financial advisor by background I do have an accounting background. But really what’s taken what’s been my interest in my career is business and process improvements. So I see financial planning really like any other business that you want to improve the processes of and that’s what I’m really interested in how do we help financial advisors improve their processes?

Fraser Jack
Yep, fantastic. Now let now let’s get into the the idea of round advice delivery in the evolution of advice delivery because it’s obviously it’s come a long way from you know, what, or maybe it hasn’t come a long way but certainly from the days of you know, when there was product distribution sales to be made through to you know, this becoming a financial advice and then you know, that client journey and somewhere along the way there was it became a compliant process as well and compliance LED. Prashant tell us about your journey because obviously you started as a as a client manager, you know, started with a client started with understanding you know, the client’s pain points and those sorts of things. Talk to us about what you you perceive as the the journey that would come along and the advice process

Phrashant Nagarajan
I get My observation of the journeys, I think we’ve definitely, in the last in our 1010 plus years I’ve been here, it’s definitely moved away from product, I, you know, that’s the first thing that you’ll notice is the product now, in something that comes in the end now, you know, it’s just, it’s, it’s, and there’s been a lot of focus on goals and strategy and client experience. And, you know, it’s, it’s definitely turning to be a lot more client centric. And that’s, you know, well, I guess 10 years ago, people would have still said, I’m client centric. Now the level to which this is actually going is is incredible, like you go to any conference or seminar, it’s hard to get away without having a session dedicated around client experience in a session dedicated around this, it’s, it is now a buzzword, and it’s just getting honed in to everyone, regardless of what age the advisor is, you know, you could be a six year old advisor, or a 20 year old advisor, it doesn’t matter. So I’m seeing that to be the first change, which is, which is great. Which means that you know, clients have, you know, a lot a deeper relationship with the adviser and vice versa. The other thing I’m noticing is adaptation, and using technology and the Embrace around that, the next buzzword, I think I’m noticing the last five years is around efficiency. It’s around in doing this faster, quicker, you know, that sort of thing. And that’s probably the next thing. And obviously, the cost of producer advice has been, and the client affordability indirectly, has also been a part of this, you know, efficiency journey. So I guess these are the two things I’m really observing. Changing the industry.

Fraser Jack
Yeah. Now, if we, Michelle authority, you if we go back into the past, and you look at the traditional advice process, and I guess, coming at this from the angle of you know, business process and efficiencies and, you know, in within your background and understanding the numbers that sit behind such a business, tell us about the the evolution, from your opinion, especially if we start with the past and where we used to be Prashant definitely

Michelle Bannister
he had all the sort of nails on the on the head, when you look at it from a process perspective, you know, what you see is, you know, originally, the focus being very much around, you know, the product, and quite, you know, labor intensive processes to be able to deliver advice. You know, even just looking at things like the statement of advice, things like that being very focused on the compliance aspect. So I think, you know, where we seem to be moving and where the opportunities for improvement are definitely around, how do we improve the client experience? You know, how do we improve the turnaround times? Importantly, how do we lower the cost of advice in all this, because still, there are a huge set of manual processes, double handling of data, you know, frustrations of lack of integration of software, you know, there’s still a lot of manual work that’s happening in this process. And so I think, huge opportunities going into the future of, you know, how do we improve all those things, improve the client experience, and then at the end of the day, lower the cost of advice, so advisors can, can turn $1, and also pass some of those savings on to you know, their clients?

Fraser Jack
Yeah, Michelle, just on that there’s, I get with most businesses, you know, labor is one of the most expensive parts of any process, and having humans do work, you know, in that process? Are you are you saying that, you know, that that’s sort of the same thing with advice, and one of the biggest efficiencies that can be gained or the dollars and again, and time can be done with the human process?

Michelle Bannister
Yeah. So I think there’s just I mean, a really big part of the whole process is the modeling aspect of it just the time that’s taken to do the number crunching the back and forth trying different scenarios. Traditionally, it’s been a very labor intensive process, also, just because of the complexity of all super laws, registered legislation, you know, tax rules, if you don’t have good processes, that is very labor intensive.

Fraser Jack
Yep. Exactly. Now, when Prashant, one of the things I wanted to talk to you about was with the advice process was, you know, we touched on compliance, and obviously, everything needs to be compliant. But a lot of the time, I think the process was built around the concept of we need to create a compliant process, not necessarily create a process that’s client centric.

Phrashant Nagarajan
That’s correct. That’s correct. I think, you know, the last decade the post GFC changed, you know, that completely for everyone. And it was a it’s been a, I guess, a bureaucratic journey for all advisors. And yeah, it is unfortunate. But, again, I’d say it’s the same as like as you said, it is it is necessary to be compliant. It’s more these rules are there for a reason in These rules are there to guide us. But I think I think there’s nothing stopping us from building client experience around this, you know, there is nothing stopping us from putting the old wine in a new bottle service fakie. Now, and I think that’s what we are trying very hard to do in the last four years is to, you know, not break the rules, but the now keep it as it is, but make it in a wrap it up in a pretty, pretty giftwrapping.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, no, I want to I want to ask you about this process, because yourself. And Daniel, your business partner, obviously sat down and spent a lot of time on mapping this out and then working out. What are those touch points gonna be tell tell us about that process that you and Dan went through to, to do that.

Phrashant Nagarajan
I’d like to start with keeping it brief, but I’ll let you sort of add value into it, depending on which ones you feel is worthwhile. So back when we started this was, our mission was to provide affordable advice for young families. And because historically, both Daniel and I reserved, and in our client, on average client was 5560 years old, that was sort of the age range we were dealing with. And the common repetative theme we were finding was either it was about finding ways to stretch their money, you know, or it was usually too little too late, you know, and after five years of doing that, we just got frustrated and said, you know, let’s just go meet these guys. 20 years younger. And, you know, and obviously, affordability was a big part. I mean, we were at that age, I was around 30. Back then, and Daniel was the same. We’ve never paid for blind ourselves for any professional service, you know, and how do I expect someone like me to do exactly that? I think the highest professional service I paid for myself was a conveyancer of about $1,000 or something, you know, that was literally and advisors. But you know, journey there. So we were pretty much going, we started off this journey to say, Okay, here’s the market we serve, we wanted to find their pain point, we set out with a couple of paid surveys and everything, finding what what problem they were willing to pay for sure, there were super, there was all these other stuff that was they’d like to fix, but they were not willing to pay for the only problem that they said, here’s a problem. And I’m willing to pay for this was the idea of home of homeownership, that that that was a big pain point for the 30 year old family market back then. Okay, technically, a house is not a financial product, it doesn’t fall under the regime, so to speak, by then everything that leads up to it, you know, the journey to get to that is the financial journey. So we then find sort of deconstructed the whole financial advice process to go in and try to fit that market from a savings plan to using super as a stepping stone, like the first Jump Super Saver scheme, like everything around us, that will help the first time buyers journey, you know, and that’s how we this deconstructed that, which allowed us to sort of have a predictable solution for a problem, you know, when I say not a templated solution, but it’s more a predictable series of steps. And then we wanted to, you know, we tested that out, and then we tried to enhance, you know, have multiple touch points, feedback points, and so on, and so forth, and try to make experience better using that. And then like, you know, first one was, we winged it at about $99 a month in terms of service fee, because we didn’t know what people were willing to pay. Yes, that was commercially not viable. But we wanted to start somewhere. And then slowly, you know, the refining, refining and refining. Now we sort of, you know, we found that sweet spot where people feel valuable, and it’s not costing a fortune, and everyone’s happy. And yeah, it’s taken us a couple of years to get there. But yeah,

Fraser Jack
thanks for sharing. And so in, in this process, obviously, that you’re putting together, there’s a lot of, as you mentioned, touch points in that process that then come back to, to for the client. And obviously, affordability. You know, those touch points, as you mentioned on an endorsement is not commercially viable. Unless you’re implementing certain amounts of efficiency in your process and even automation. With AV done automation and your process percent.

Phrashant Nagarajan
We have been, I’d say, we haven’t nailed it yet, so to speak. It’s still work in progress. But that’s a big priority for us. We’ve automated as much as possible. We’re trying to we just had this face where we’re trying to, you know, humanize where we must and automate where we can and we’re finding that delicate balance of, you know, which ones we shouldn’t be even though we can and which ones we would not, we should you know, so that’s where we’re at on that. But yeah, definitely efficiency is massive. And it’s, it’s basically the cornerstone of what we’re doing in because We’ve got as a model we’ve we’ve read, we don’t operate more than I’ve never seen an advisor operate like have lawyers do, you know just go for the absolute billables? And no one else was, we sort of all operate in a fixed fee, things are pretty much we cap ourselves on the upside, you know, where, you know, it doesn’t matter. If it’s a 40 or 50 hour work, we cap ourselves with what we quoted initially. So I think the need to sort of deliver everything as quickly as possible. And as you know, with speed and accuracy, both, you know, both are important. I think it’s, it’s, yeah, it is very critical right now, more than

Michelle Bannister
love that approach. Prashant, you really nail it from a business improvement perspective is, you know, looking at that human side, what are the bits that we must humanize? And that’s the bit that the customers really see and value and a face to face, everything that’s in the background, that they don’t see that they’re the bits that you can really harness technology and processes and get that working as efficiently as absolutely possible.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, touch on that human human side that relates the back to the client’s values and goals and hopes and dreams and all those sorts of things and taking those numbers and humanizing them. In that process. Obviously, we you know, we’ve had some technology with regards to online meetings come in over the last couple of years. In the advice process, I’ve seen the evolution of online and hybrid meetings. And so certainly listen, person. Tell us about how that’s working within your business program.

Phrashant Nagarajan
We started a service delivery via zoom back in 2018. Prior to COVID, it was one of those affordability decisions that we had to make for for the end user. But that’s massively changed in the sense in terms of the customer adaptation, because back then we were explaining what this is, and it’s going to be okay, we were there was a lot of reassurances. And now it’s just a given. But where this is now, enhancing, the whole advice process is it’s all of a sudden making advice scalable than before. Before, you know, we are you most advisors that I know can handle more than three meetings a day they they exhausted, there’s a lot of pre and post work, all of those things. But now, four meetings a day just seems to be a normal thing. I’m finding a lot of advisors that I speak to, it’s normal, it’s sort of your sort of seeing that move from one client per day to sort of almost like a GP model if we can in of course, it’s not that quick, but you know, we are being able to do that. So I think it’s freed up a lot of advisors capacity, the businesses capacity. And then interestingly, the client experience is just out of the world, because now they’re able to see what we’re seeing share screens, you know, they’re not email, they will, you know, they don’t have to worry about their child anymore. You know, they hear it’s it’s much more engaging, unintentionally. I think it’s done a lot of good than bad. Surely, yes, we missed that, you know, that face to face interaction once in a while. But, you know, the clients domain, the clients are paying us for an outcome. And that’s, that’s the one we want to be focused on.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, it certainly seems with online meetings is obviously there’s a practical, it’s like moving from snail mail to email. But there was a couple things missing in online meetings, obviously, proximity being one, you know, you can’t shake hands, for example, in an online meeting. What are your thoughts about the online meeting with in the advice process? Michelle?

Michelle Bannister
Yeah, I mean, I think there are pros and cons, there are some, you know, fantastic efficiencies that we can take hold of, I mean, just as Prashant mentioned, this screen sharing side to be able to show your screen, you know, you can do that in terms of modeling or graphs, or what if scenarios, all of that kind of stuff, there’s this opportunity to share and engage with clients in a whole new way, which is really exciting. You know, I think the other side is you have to really work hard against the fact that there’s a screen in front of you. It does focus on the soft skills to be able to build that trust and rapport. And there are some challenges there. Its pros and cons. It’s taking hold of the good that can propel us forward and trying to overcome those obstacles that get in the way and challenges

Fraser Jack
you trust. And rapport is a massive one with online meetings. I’m actually a fan of the idea that you can actually have more online meetings, as you mentioned, for showing up, you don’t actually have to have a 45 or an hour long meeting, you can have a 10 or 1520 minute catch up with somebody because they haven’t traveled all the way to get to your office. So you haven’t traveled it kind of feels like if you’ve traveled somewhere you need to spend at least an hour with somebody versus you know, the online meeting where you can actually have five meetings in the process rather than, you know, two or three because you will have short, sharp meetings. What are your thoughts, Prashant?

Phrashant Nagarajan
Absolutely, absolutely. I think I’m fine. We’re finding that in our unintentionally we’re finding that we’re building better trust This way, just because what, what we, with that process, we finding that we break, we have a multi touchpoint process in ourselves. So we have short, sharp meetings, but more often. So if you think about the amount of hours we spent on applying over a year, it’s maybe slightly only slightly higher than the traditional model, you know, but we’re having much more quick that 510 minute bursts. And we’re finding that the trust, and this is something we learned somewhere where we found that if, if two people met each other for one hour, and then in a parallel universe, they met each other six times for 10 minutes, they’ll trust each other on the on that parallel universe versus this one. And I think there’s a there’s a psychology to it, and we’re finding that we’re definitely recognizing that. Yeah, definitely missing the face to face element. But it’s it’s not coming, the Zoom world is not coming at a compromise of trust in, it’s not compromising that is what we’re on.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, I think that that’s a great point to make. Now, as we look at the future of the advice process, Michelle, start with you, what sort of things do you think could be involved in the, you know, the future advice process that would enhance the client experience or enhance the process itself, or maybe even things that we might take away from the process?

Michelle Bannister
I mean, I think some of the things that are the real opportunities around technology, so efficiencies, some of that is having the software support, to be able to do all the number crunching in the background, so that you can spend more time with the client where it counts. Some of the other things that we’re seeing that advisors are doing that are really cool is doing modeling with clients, putting them in the driver’s seat. So being able to show different what if scenarios, and that can be really powerful from an education point of view, but also an engagement point of view to take their ideas on board and show them the power of those options that they’re considering.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, I really like the idea of being able to, you know, provide the client with the opportunity to build their own, you know, fill their own agenda, you know, adventure site type of thing, you know, build their own agenda, adventure, look at the look at the journey and say, What if I change this? What if I do that, to really take ownership? Present? What tell us about the future? What can you see happening in the future that’s going to improve the advice process?

Phrashant Nagarajan
Um, I think co creating the customers future is going to be an, you know, a part of this where I think we’re going to go away from on the advisor, I’m going to tell you what’s what’s best, you know, kind of thing. I think there’s more educated clients in our clients are more you know, we’re in that world of information. It’s, it’s, I’m finding that we’re seeing less and less, I don’t know what to do kind of people versus I think this is what I want to do people in and there’s more of that. And I think the crook co creation process, and a little bit of unlearning and relearning as advisors as well, you know, not to have that rigidity, and sort of let the guy come up with the framework and you operate within bring your creativity within those frameworks kind of thing. I think we’re going to see more off that. We are also, you know, because again, we respect about the client’s age, we’re finding that we are all becoming that Netflix generation, everyone, you know, that instant, instant, in nature of I want this done, and I want this done tomorrow. And the fact that you know, still till today, client still in our in our work, can’t comprehend why it’s taking three to four weeks to implement what we just spoke about, because we’re waiting for this SOA thing. And you know, all of that. So I think that’s going to shrink, I think that will eventually shrink, and we’re going to go towards an efficient diagnosis to implementation very quickly. It could take five years, but I think we’ll be getting there.

Shan Chung
Yeah. Michelle, and Michelle, thank you so much for being on this episode. We look forward to catching you in the next episode. Thank you for joining me in this first episode of Five Geoff.

Geoff Ivanac
Now, pleasure to be joining you, Fraser.

Fraser Jack
Fantastic to have you now. Let’s give the listeners a very quick overview of you and your business at the moment.

Geoff Ivanac
Okay, yeah. So I guess the best way to describe us would be comprehensive financial advice. So ranging from estate planning, which is our key pillar, which is where we start our conversations through to ongoing advice, which is really helping clients make transformational changes in their life, as we like to call it rather than purely focused on achieving financial goals, which are important, but really, it does leave you wondering what’s next. So

Fraser Jack
yeah, exactly. Right now we’re focusing the series a lot on the concept of advice delivered differently and, and as you mentioned, in that that previous Quick, quick introduction to yourself, you do start with estate planning and tell us about how that’s come to be and why. That’s part of your why that’s where you lead with your advice process.

Geoff Ivanac
Yeah, first and foremost, I thoroughly enjoy that area of advice. I originally started doing that when I was working for a large accounting firm in the Estate Planning Division, or estate and succession, which had a lot of rural clients, which was very top of mind for them. And I really enjoyed the digging in getting involved in the nitty gritty, and realizing how that this was a foundation for all advice. So accounting, wealth creation, retirement planning, you really needed to start there, so and the more and more I, I’d learned about it, the more I found that it was an area which slip between the cracks between the county, legal and financial. So I enjoyed it, I sort of stayed in that area, and then it’s become an integral part of where I’ve ended up.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Right. And so and we’ll get into a little bit more of that as we go through these episodes. But let’s go through the, I guess the the time horizon of, you know, the the background of the evolution of advice you have, you know, as as the industry’s evolved, obviously, you have to, from from what you’re doing, or you certainly as you said, you started in a different area than a lot of people you weren’t, you know that the the evolution of the industry sort of started in product sales and moved through to, you know, doing a three, you know, 180 degree turn for advice. But you sort of came in at a different angle, I have this visual of you sort of coming in from the sideline.

Geoff Ivanac
Oh, yeah, for sure. Yeah, I, I wasn’t I still am a chartered accountant. But I came from that sort of technical side of the profession. And then I, I was fortunate then to see lawyers working and financial planners and realize that there was a big gap. And it was linking all those two together. And so it was a different angle. And I certainly didn’t come from a product side. So more from the advice and used to be able to charge for the advice as well.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, this is a really interesting, interesting point, because it’s very, you know, a lot of the conversations that we intend to have around this, the advice process and modeling, the advice process on other professions, and obviously, you have coming in from an accounting in a, you know, a legal or estate planning background. And the concept, I want to I want to go through that concept of just always charging for advice and having that just as a mindset versus having to change your mind to then start to judge for advice rather than getting paid on product. Tell me about that. And how you’ve observed and what observations you’ve made of the the profession itself as to you know, that that struggle that a lot of people going through,

Geoff Ivanac
yeah, I sort of as an observer, I was sort of I was quite intrigued how always notice that Figaro could charge a phenomenally better money for just signing a piece of paper. And I’ve, and they sort of justified it in many, many different ways. And none of them really stepped up and still don’t say, so I preferred to sort of engage at upfront and and show this is where you’re now, this is what your feelings are. And this is where we want to take you. And that’s my cost is to take you from here to there. And, and obviously, the trick is to do that safely and in a efficient way. And then, then, so that’s the engagement part. And then so then you’re able to say this is what the cost of advice will be to take you on this journey. And and these are all the things we’ll do along that way. So no commissions, and rather doing that as an advice process rather than a product sales process. So

Fraser Jack
yeah, this is that, that’s a I’m really taking note of some of the the exact words you’re using in that when you’re talking about this being an emotional state, you’re taking them from an emotional journey from point A to point B, not necessarily a financial journey from point A to point B, which is often what I guess the advice process is linked to it’s linked to this better position, financially, whereas what we’re, I guess what you were talking about in the evolution of advice that you’ve come through is it’s always been an emotional state to an emotional state.

Geoff Ivanac
Yeah, yes, for sure. I actually is so say, well, estate planning is an easy one to look at is that feeling someone has when they know their affairs in order and the family is going to be looked after. And that doesn’t matter if they hear or not, their life will carry on and all the all the ducks in a row. They they’ll be ordered the children will be able to live their life out have purpose have meaning and it doesn’t matter. They’re not there. So that’s sort of where I started in that area. Then I’ve just taken that a little bit further. with financial planning, which has many different elements, it could be seven or eight things involved in that process as well.

Fraser Jack
Yep. Fantastic. Now, one of the things I wanted to quickly highlight here is that, you know, from a technology point of view, from a consumer point of view, they’re probably used to getting technology, you know, improvement at a very high rate, you know, obviously, you know, with the the concept of technology coming along way over the last 10 years since, since smartphones were introduced, and all that sort of thing. And the amount of technology used in the advice process, whether it be the estate planning, or even the the financial planning process, sort of just hasn’t really kept up. What are your thoughts on where technology has been able to provide help in the in the advice process?

Geoff Ivanac
Yeah, no, actually, because what, from what I do is obviously not a here, sign here, press hard process, I have to leverage technology quite a bit. And so when I started, as a finance, a strict financial advisor, I think go on a bit of a search to find software that was easy to use, and that I could use, because I’m certainly no technical or IT guru. Actually, I’m a little bit of dinosaurs. So it has to be very easy to use, like, like an iPhone without giving an iPhone plug. So I so I have been on that journey with the software developers. And a good example is when I started out doing estate planning for say, a mom and dad, which is very hard to make it cost effective, I used to do it manually, is to draw up a family tree on a whiteboard, record their assets, liabilities, and extremely labor intensive and you’re also not that proficient with word processing. And then I discovered a software. And I could capture the clients data, generate what I needed for them with a few clicks, and a bit of homework by the clients. Stats really enhanced my ability to deliver cost effective estate planning solutions. So technology is fantastic. And it is evolving. And it’s certainly a key pillar to be able to provide cost effective financial advice.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, absolutely. And just insight inside of your process, as we look at the evolution of advice for you. Where’s it heading, you know, you’ve obviously come a long way from in molded into where you are today. But tell us about what your thoughts around the future work could be hitting and what you might be looking forward to.

Geoff Ivanac
Yeah, so I, I enjoy what I do. But I do find, I have to do a lot of hacking. So I have to hack this, then hack that together with that and hack that together that. And that doesn’t make for a very pleasant experience. And I prefer to just sounds a bit airy fairy, but to be in the flow, and to for it all fits seamlessly. So I’m enjoying what I’m doing. And I’m able to produce good outcomes for the client. So so my utopia is when all the different tools that I use, can integrate with each other. And then I can start the process at one end with what I feel like I need to use to properly engage the client and deliver the best transformational outcomes with the end product at the other end. And then all those things to be talking to each other. And also recording important information that will help me on their client’s journey. So that’s, that’s where I’m hoping technology goes.

Fraser Jack
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Right. And do you see anything simple, you know, within the advice process itself, say not on technology, evolving over time, whether they will the advice process gets more or less complicated or any other changes to the advice process, you think, think can take coming on or think might happen? Or maybe you wish to happen?

Geoff Ivanac
But I’m yeah, I’m sort of. Yeah, it’s good point. So the having, like most advisors been through the failure educational requirements recently, and fortunately, came out the other end still intact. The there’s a whole new layer of requirements there, which I don’t disagree with, but I think they’re certainly very, an important part of delivering good advice. So I think the future for software is to integrate with those requirements so that it is a seamless process and not a hack. You know, having a suite of compliance tool sitting over here that I have to comply with and what I do Do over here. But they do need to be integrated not just a traditional 50 Page fac find document, which trying to join 15,000 different dots to give someone what they want. So it’s that integration of the two to make the whole experience better for the user. That is the key. For me.

Fraser Jack
It’s a really good way of looking at it having a whole lot of dots scattered across across a zone and all we want to try and do is line the dots up. Jeff, thanks so much for chatting to us in this first episode. We look forward to catching you in episode two. My pleasure.

Geoff Ivanac
Thanks very much, Fraser.

Listen to the podcast on the links below or on your favourite platform

General disclaimer for this podcast and all XY Education podcasts
https://www.xyadviser.com/disclaimer/

DISCLAIMER: The XY Adviser website and all content contained on the website is limited to general information. It does not constitute legal, financial or other professional advice. XY Adviser does not hold an AFS licence and does not provide any financial services. Nothing on this website should be interpreted as financial advice. Before making any investment decision, XY Adviser recommends obtaining financial advice from a qualified financial adviser.