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Independent Financial Advisers Can Win by Tackling Regulation the Evergreen Way

Kenny Fraser

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Independent financial advisers

Kenny Fraser, tech sector business expert and a Non-Executive Director of Appointedd, shares his thoughts on how IFAs can win by tackling regulation the evergreen way.

Automation and regulation are two unstoppable tides in the IFAs (independent financial advisers)/wealth managers and the financial services industry, but what if businesses looked at this as an opportunity? This is a chance to seize the benefits.

The response to such complex and detailed regulations has settled into a pattern. The changes are making businesses more expensive and make it harder to sell to customers at the same time. The extra burden is unfair but unavoidable. You need to get a specific project with costly dedicated resources in place now.

There is a better way.

The Evergreen revolution is already here

Put aside the hype about artificial intelligence, driverless cars and blockchains. There is plenty of proven technology out there. Software that will help with the regulatory challenge and delight both customers and staff.

This kind of software works because it is cloud-based. There is only one version of the software. Secure, reliable and available to everyone. You pay a modest subscription for as long as you need it. No massive upfront investments. Implementation in minutes, not months. No customisation, no consultants and no complex, time-consuming upgrades.

The industry jargon is SaaS (Software as a Service). A better description is evergreen software.

Computers are good at rules

Compliance in the 21st Century is about lots of detailed rules. The days of judgement and options are gone. This is the kind of thing IT is really good at. Doing the same mundane thing the same way over and over and over again.

Here is one MifiD (markets in financial instruments directive) example – part of the directive concerns tracking meetings from setup through to results. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) policy says the minimum legal requirements can be summarised as:

1. the date and time of the meeting,
2. the location of the meeting,
3. the identity of the attendees,
4. the initiator of the meeting,
5. relevant information about the client order including the price, volume, type of order and when it shall be transmitted or executed

Appointedd is just this type of evergreen product. It captures and tracks appointments – simple. The information integrates with your calendar, CRM (customer relationship management) and accounting systems. Job done.

Your customers are already using it

Good evergreen software has another feature. It is invisible to the user. All they see is a website that lets them do something conveniently online. You may not think your customers want to book their appointments online but they do.

A wedding planner is just about the ultimate in customised service. One such business bought Appointedd for the diary management and organisational side of the software but did not want the online booking function. Not for our customers, they said. Three days later they were back asking for the online version.

More personal, not less

This type of automation does not reduce personal contact. The software does the administration but the appointment is still with a real person. Take the paperwork out of your team’s day and they have more time available to meet people not less.

Your team will love this as well. Dealing with customers is what motivates good people. Automation of scheduling is IT working for your team. Not the other way round. It allows professional people to do more of what they love.

And that is the secret. Forget the hype and the scare stories. Good IT works for you. Regulation forces you to change. Why not make it for the better?

Kenny Fraser

Kenny Fraser

Chairman of Appointedd

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