Speaking at the FPA Professionals Summit, the CEO of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) Sarah Abood said that, in the near future, advisers will need to think about technology in the context of its potential to amplify humanity.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), she believes, “gives us the opportunity to not just focus on what it is to be human, but to fully realise what that is to be human”.
“There are a few practical ways we can do that. One is using AI to match consumers to planners,” Ms Abood said.
“We all know that there will be a client there that the fit is not quite right. It’s always an effort, there are always issues in reviews and trying to get the idea of strategy across and often that’s a personality clash. There are engines out there already that can do that and work out — here is the planner, here are the best clients for this planner to work with, who they will have the best engagement with,” Ms Abood explained.
Looking further ahead, Ms Abood said AI will give advisers the opportunity to create avatars of themselves and serve their clients in the metaverse.
“I am a believer that humans want to deal with humans wherever they can, but there will be times when they can’t afford to or there is a lead time to get to the human engagement,” Ms Abood said.
“We’re talking 2030 here. I do believe that financial planners will have avatars online and they will be able to do a lot of straightforward engagement with their clients. I think the future is amazing and technology is amazing,” she noted.
But until then, Ms Abood believes enabling technology to do more has two key advantages.
“One is around removing friction from the processes,” Ms Abood explained.
“Advisers shouldn’t be on the phone [with] Centrelink for an hour because you have to talk to Centrelink and it has to be the adviser. There are so many issues there that tech can help with,” she noted.
Being compliant by design, she noted, is another area where technology offers a “huge amount of opportunity”.
“We are spending a lot of time on regulation, largely because we have to think about it all the time. I think technology has this massive value to add to us by making those processes compliant by design and we don’t have to think about it, we just follow the process and we just know that we comply,” she said.
Earlier this year, the executive director of the Gradient Institute, Adjunct Professor at the Australian Graduate School of Management, and the founder of the Responsible Metaverse Alliance, Dr Catriona Wallace, told ifa that AI has the power to amplify the sophistication of the advice process.
“We’d love to see advisers really step into being strategists. So not just giving tactical, basic financial advice, but really what is the strategy for this person’s life?” Dr Wallace said.
“How does this financial model support this person’s goals, but in perhaps more creative ways than just a traditional way and traditional products? I think that advisers becoming financial strategists for their clients would be a beautiful thing.”