Cost & Benefits – Leveraging technology to transform client-adviser communications

28 June 2023

CommunicationcompliancecostIntegrationMindful OfTechnologyWealthTech Matters

Expert: Luc Haldimann, Co-Founder and CEO of Unblu Facilitator: Blaise Cardozo, Director of Sionic


The main issues participants have are around when it comes to customer experience, adoption, ease of use and connectivity, as well as the ways in which technology is addressing their key challenges around client engagement, recruitment, data tracking and recording, and meeting client expectations.

Participants highlighted having issues regarding things like customer experience, adoption, ease of use, and connectivity. The ways technology addressed key challenges around client engagement, recruitment, data tracking and recording, and meeting client expectations were also concerns.

Discussion points:

Client communications have advanced exponentially with new technologies, but there is still the need to provide the human touch. That said, technology is now thought to be a massive USP and something to get excited about. There has been a significant change in mindset. Indeed, adoption levels for communications tools have been staggering. The benefits of greater client engagement following better communication tools were also discussed, starting with onboarding and continuing throughout the client journey, as well as the extent to which a degree of self-service could be introduced as a part of technological innovation. However, some clients are now struggling

“If a client gets stuck, their only support is back to their advisers, undermining adoption because advisers have to support clients in getting going – which is time-consuming. So, while there are some improvements, there are some things that are not quite right from a customer experience point of view.”

With new ways of doing things, ease of use is crucial. For some, the lack of control implied in moving to something new can be a problem too, given moving away from what is familiar to learn and apply it can be a worry.

“We are 90% there with new communications channels, but some of our clients and advisers still think it is easier to have a face-to-face meeting, use snail mail and the like. The challenge is to meet everyone’s needs and preferences.”

Advocates within a firm are also a powerful tool when it comes to adoption. If advisers hear good things from their peers, then that is a powerful and encouraging message.

“Technology removes a lot of the friction associated with giving advice, compliance, and general aggravation. But you have to go through the pain barrier of adaptation in the first place to get to that point.”

The next big theme was whether having a robust technological setup impacts recruitment positively. For a potential recruit, it was thought that spending less time on admin and having technology support would be very attractive. A participant commented:

“If we did not have the technology, we would have twice the number of advisers. So, having the technology means that advisers and their partners can spend more time doing stuff that matters: lifestyle, financial planning, and the like, as opposed to model portfolio rebalancing or annual reviews.”

Tracking communications should be a part of this support system, and seeing across all channels and creating a visible audit chain further helps the adviser to be on top of things and better service the client. It also benefits from a compliance point of view, particularly in regards the Consumer Duty.

Another Consumer Duty-related advantage is that instead of having a face-to-face review once a year, technology allows for smaller reviews on an ongoing basis where all the information is still captured. This is a series of smaller events as opposed to a single annual meeting.

Indeed, despite adoption and usage levels taking some time to get off the ground, the expectation of having such tools remains high.

It was thought that firms now need to sell on service, and a key part of that is technological innovation. It is about setting expectations and selling the service on the back of that. Indeed, trust and finding a better way to do things - as well as taking the adviser and the client along in that evolution is crucial. It is a step of evolution to be catering to clients as well as changing their way of thinking. Building trust into everything and really investing in that slow burn.

Key takeaways:

  • Adoption levels for communication tools have been staggering in the past few years
  • A system that integrates into existing channels, core banking, Teams, and other systems is needed for communication tools to work optimally
  • Ease of use and clear communication about benefits are both key to optimal adoption
  • The attraction of technology for recruitment and retention is growing
  • Tracking communications helps the adviser stay on top of things and better serve the client
  • It also helps from a compliance point of view if there is a recorded and auditable communications trail