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The Australian market is generally slow to adopt new technologies which severely impacts business performance. Accenture Australia emerging technology lead, Harshu Despande, noted that Australian business’ delay in adopting cutting-edge technologies has far reaching economic consequences, specifically reducing our competitive edge in a global market.
Within Australia’s financial services industry, the recent Royal Commission led to new policies to protect consumers, however did not provide solutions for financial services providers who have been hit with new compliance and education requirements. Whilst the big 4 banks and major financial services firms walked away relatively unscathed, small independent businesses will suffer under the changes with less time to service clients and more time spent on compliance paperwork.
Fortunately, industry service providers anticipated the changes and moved quickly to fill the gaps. Alex Gassner, Director of ComplyX Paraplanning and State Chair of the Association of Financial Advisers, predicted that the new legislation was likely to force financial advisers to spend less time with their clients and went global to find a solution. Whilst the industry experts were awaiting the final outcome of the Hayne Report, Gassner began researching international markets and their systems for maintaining strict compliance in a service-centred industry.
Gassner came across the service CommPay, which is widely used throughout Europe but had not been adapted to the Australian market. He quickly picked up the scalable revenue management technology and has now become the sole provider of the CommPay system in Australia. Through keeping a close watch on the market, Gassner is in the unique position to help financial planners transition their business whilst maintaining service levels and avoiding massive fines for non-compliance.
Solutions like CommPay are specifically designed for small businesses who do not have the funds to employ staff for the sole purpose of revenue and document management. In fact, CommPay has the potential to save Australian financial planners around $48,000 per year in employment costs, and most packages come with maintenance options which eliminate the necessity for in-house system administration.
If the financial services industry is ready and willing to jump on-board this new technology, it will increase competitiveness and ultimately reduce prices for consumers. Claire Roberts, Executive General Manager of Local Business Banking at Commonwealth Bank, notes that “Businesses of all sizes need to be continually innovating to keep up with the evolving needs of their customers and stay competitive…For small businesses innovation is particularly important as customers are increasingly going digital.”
Although the Royal Commission had a huge impact on the financial services industry, it does not mean the end of independent financial planning practices. With a commitment to innovation and a willingness to adopt new solutions, independent financial services businesses still have an opportunity to thrive amongst their bigger competitors.