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Forward Thinking Magazine : April 2011
12 Macquarie Adviser Services Fiona Mackenzie, Macquarie Practice Consulting Although some Australian practices have started streamlining the advice process through the better use of technology, such as online or email-based factfinds, providing personal advice entirely online is in the distant future for the Australian market. However, with the US market some years ahead of ours, it could pay to watch and learn from our American cousins. “While we don’t have a crystal ball, what we do know is that there’s no point engaging in navel gazing in the face of what should be considered exciting new market dynamics. We take the approach that new industry conditions, adviser regulations and consumer demands provide opportunities for us to be at the forefront of the financial advice market. We look forward to working with our advisers as these trends play out to help them adapt their businesses to make them more efficient, more technically savvy and more able to offer financial advice to a broader range of clients,” he says. The same opportunity is open to the financial advice industry. It’s likely in the future, a model will emerge to assist advisers to provide genuinely personalised advice to their client base, facilitated through online channels. “It’s something we’re doing a considerable amount of work on,” says Graham. A similar model is already alive and well in the US. ASIC’s report details the online advice processes of two US firms. One produces a personal, written financial plan for US$99 on the basis of an online chat with the client, and $99 for any further telephone consultation with an adviser. The other firm generates a financial plan from an online factfind and follows this up with live video chats. The initial planning fee is $250 and monthly fees range from $25 to $40. Neither firm charges commissions.