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The Future of Financial Advice

Advice Help Support And Tips Signpost Shows Information And Guidance

Virtually every industry, service and profession has been disrupted to some extent by the rapid transformation that technological progress has made to our lives. This technological advancement has at best, made some aspects of some industries redundant and at worst, made whole industries or services obsolete and left to drift into extinction.
A classic example is the travel industry, where as little as a decade or two ago, the only way to travel or go on an overseas holiday, was to work through a travel agent in terms of obtaining flight information, securing a reservation and buying a ticket. Yet today, the amount of people that use a travel agent for domestic travel is negligible and even most overseas holidays can be accomplished with some help from Trip Advisor.
In my humble opinion the financial services and advice industry is ripe for some disruptive change and this change is in the process of building up a tidal wave like momentum. The monopoly that advisors and major industry players held over investment product, information and distribution is fast disappearing. An increasing amount of online self-help investment options are becoming mainstream in terms of client awareness and ease of use. Regulatory change has meant more transparency in terms of costing and efficient portability of product from one supplier to another. The balance of power is fast moving into the favour of the client, as it rightfully should.
Does this mean that financial advisors and wealth managers are to become extinct and placed next to dinosaurs as mere museum pieces? Not at all, just as many profitable travel agencies abound today, so will quality financial advisors in the future. Travel agencies have had to adapt and focus on what area of the travel business they wished to play in and dominate, in the same manner financial advisors and wealth managers need to adapt and ensure that they offer value to clients, and are skilled in the various skill sets that encompass good and relevant advice.
As a client or consumer, you no longer have to select 2nd or 3rd rate service or be forced into something you don’t like or understand. You now have choices, in terms of investment product and service delivery channel you wish to use. The online self-help type of advice channel may appear most appealing from a cost perspective. However, there will always be a place for a quality advisor who has the best interest of his clients at heart. The complex world of tax structuring, retirement and estate planning, optimum asset allocation and underlying investment and product choice is a recipe for disaster for the uninitiated. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish, but do make sure that you get the best bang for your buck in terms of financial advice.

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