On February 8 the Quality of Advice Review final report was published, outlining Michelle Levy’s findings, including 13 recommendations to improve access to high quality and affordable advice for Australians.
Midwinter Chief Commercial Officer Steve Davison welcomes the customer-centric nature of the final report.
Currently, a whole segment of the market is locked out of advice due to prohibitive costs, a problem which is exacerbated by the fact that most personal advice services are too sophisticated for the simple advice needs of the average consumer.
Broadening the scope of organisations that can provide advice is an opportunity to fill the consumer advice gap by allowing financial product providers to serve consumers with simple or limited needs, while professional advisers serve the portion of the market that wants comprehensive advice and ongoing advice services.
Reducing the complexity of the regulatory framework will undoubtedly be welcomed by professional advisers who can shift their time and focus back to providing the recommended ‘good advice’ that consumers desire; advice that considers their personal situation, answers their questions and is not hidden amongst voluminous amounts of disclaimers and paperwork.
Interestingly, the role of digital advice has been called out in the report as a key enabler to increase affordability and accessibility to financial advice.
We believe digital advice technology will play a pivotal role for financial product providers as well as professional advisers by increasing the reach and relevance of financial advice and improving efficiency in advice processes. In fact, this is already happening.
Midwinter digital advice technology already underpins member and adviser-led advice services – predominately intra-fund advice – for 12 superannuation funds. For professional advisers, digital tools such as fact finds and client portals are already starting to reshape how advisers engage with their clients.
Digital advice will by no means completely replace the role of a professional financial adviser; the role of digital advice is to facilitate advice for consumers with simple needs and offer a path to comprehensive advice through client engagement tools and advice journeys delivered by professional advisers.
Although the timing for any legislative changes is still in the air, the time to look at how digital can augment your financial advice services is now. If you would like to learn more, check out our digital advice guide for financial advisers or contact us to learn more about Midwinter’s financial and digital advice technology.