Leveraging the tech to communicate with your clients

17 October 2023

AIClientCommunicationDataRetirementRetirement MattersTechnology

Expert and facilitator: Mike Johnstone, Director, TOMD (The Outsourced Marketing Department Limited)


  1. Legacy IT systems and data challenges: Most firms have fragmented and outdated IT systems that don't integrate well, making it difficult to get clean data to personalise marketing and plug in new tools. Upgrading core systems is challenging with the legacy infrastructure in place
  2. Lack of relevant ongoing client communications: While advisor firms put a lot of effort into onboarding and annual reviews, there is very little ongoing communication and engagement with clients in between. Content needs to be timely, relevant and valuable
  3. Potential uses for AI tools like ChatGPT: ChatGPT has potential to assist with content creation and communications but questions remain around quality control, tone, security and who bears regulatory responsibility
  4. Challenges with technology investment and buy-in: Larger firms are better placed to invest. For smaller IFAs, cost and advisor buy-in are barriers. Providers could do more to support their distribution channels
  5. Importance of human interaction: Younger clients value technology but want human interaction. Advisors need support to free up capacity. Fully integrated solutions are a long way off but progress can be made

Discussion points:

The group discussed the current state of technology in the financial advisory industry, the challenges with legacy systems and integrating new technology, the importance of data and personalisation in marketing and communications, the need to provide relevant and timely content to clients, the potential uses for AI like ChatGPT, and the difficulties of getting adviser buy-in and finding the resources to implement new technology.

There was agreement that most advisers are focused on their core job of providing advice and running their business, not on technology or marketing. Many advisers see marketing as a ‘tick box’ exercise rather than something strategic. There is often a disconnect between firms' marketing activities and meeting advisers' and clients' needs.

Key themes included:

  • Legacy IT systems make getting clean data difficult, hindering personalisation and integration of new tools
  • Upgrading is challenging and expensive. Advisers receive lots of content from providers but often just ‘spam’ it to clients without personalisation
  • There is very little ongoing client communication between onboarding and annual reviews
  • Client communications need to be relevant, timely and add value. Interest spikes during crises but firms fail to capitalise on these opportunities
  • AI like ChatGPT has potential to help generate content and communications, but concerns exist around quality, tone, security and regulatory responsibility
  • Larger firms are better placed to invest in new technology. Smaller IFAs struggle with cost and buy-in
  • Providers could do more to support their distribution networks
  • Finding staff and getting advisory buy-in are barriers
  • Younger clients embrace technology but want human interaction. Advisers need support to free capacity
  • Fully integrated systems with client data APIs and AI are a long way off for most firms. However, smaller steps can be taken now to experiment with the existing tools

Key takeaways:

  • Review your current tech stack and identify priorities and quick wins for better data utilization and integrations
  • Audit your existing client communications and establish a more strategic ongoing engagement plan
  • Research capabilities and limitations of AI tools like ChatGPT that could assist your marketing and client communication
  • Discuss challenges and barriers to adopting new technology
  • Survey clients on their communication preferences and assess human interaction needs