3 years ago

Blue Chip Journal - October 2019 edition

  • Text
  • Edition
  • October
  • Assets
  • Investors
  • Funds
  • Investments
  • Planner
  • Retirement
  • Programme
  • Advisor
  • Advisors
  • Wealth


INTERVIEW Putting clients and advisors first PPS Investments leads in multi-channel digital innovation Digital servicing has been a core focus of PPS Investments’ service offering since the investment management services provider of the PPS Group was launched in 2007. With a secure site and a self-service app for clients, PPS was at the head of the digital pack. Over the years, PPS built on this advantage and now offers a multi-channel approach based on the secure site, self-service app, and PPS Horizon, the web-based financial planning tool. Blue Chip spoke to James Fraser, Chief Operating Officer at PPS Investments, for more insight into the new developments. James Fraser, Chief Operating Officer, PPS Investments Bird’s-eye view A tremendously useful and empowering feature built into the new secure site is a flexible reporting system that enables financial advisors to draw book reports on their practice. “It enables you to see your client base as a whole, from an investments perspective, and then segment that and slice and dice it in many different ways. You can see an overview of your book, drill down into certain aspects and then see who your younger clients are, who your older clients are, who is in a medium risk investment, who is in a high risk investment, and so on. You start understanding your book and your clients better so you can identify which clients need more support or have gaps in certain places, or which technologies or functionalities could assist those clients,” says Fraser. Another exciting feature is a robo-advice platform with a very different proposition from the average robo-advisor. “Generally the robo-advisor is seen as direct to client. When we entered the robo-advice space, we found that many companies were struggling to get clients to try the tool. Interaction with financial advisors was very much still seen as a benefit and a requirement in the process. Consequently, the industry started turning to a hybrid model. A special feature of our hybrid robo-tool is an advisor module that allows our financial advisors to drive their own robo-advisor,” says Fraser. 20

INTERVIEW Essentially, PPS has built a platform that advisors can use for the benefit of their clients, moving away from a direct-toclient proposition while dispelling the fear of dis-intermediation – the widespread fear that robots are coming to take people’s jobs. “PPS Horizon, our robo-tool, is integrated with our secure site, and the advisor can offer it to clients in whichever way he wants to take that forward. One use that springs to mind would be to address wealth-accumulation clients. It’s not profitable to see them face to face, but you want to maintain the relationship. This is specifically appropriate in the PPS world where you’re trying to build a membership or client base from graduation through to retirement and beyond. “So we see this as a tool that advisors can use to build and develop that relationship with Millennials and digitally savvy graduates, to help them and partner with them through their lives.” PPS Horizon tool The genius of the PPS Horizon financial planning tool is the functionality for advisor and client to work through the tool together in different locations, obviating the need for anyone to travel. This opens up a genuinely empowering two-way learning and communication process. “As a client moves through the tool, at any point in time they can ask for advice. The advisor will be notified that this specific client has reached a particular stage and provided with the information they’ve produced so far. The advisor can then assist the client to move forward from that point. “In turn, the tool allows the advisor to create a proposal for the client. Then it allows the advisor to create a financial plan, which includes the product wrapper and the underlying investments. The plan can be implemented directly at the click of a button.” There is also a unique link for each advisor who enrols for the tool. “Whenever a client clicks on the link, the tool will identify which advisor’s client it is, enabling the advisor to create campaigns targeting existing or new clients with that specific link. When the potential or existing investor clicks on the link, the tool is automatically pre-populated with all the information that exists, saving time for the client,” says Fraser. Creating a campaign entails a client base segmentation process to identify appropriate targets for the tool, such as wealth-accumulating clients or group advice. “In the graduate space, an advisor can give advice to a group of graduates who have brought their personal devices and who will end up being bespoke for that advisor because they’re putting their own information into this tool,” Fraser points out. Advisors who are trying to move from the risk space into an investment space can be reassured that their FAIS compliance requirements are met. Less admin, more value The whole aim of the multi-channel approach is to reduce the advisor’s administrative burden in favour of more value-adding activities such as finding new clients and providing better support. “By way of example, the PPS Horizon tool has a digital signature feature that allows both the client and the advisor to sign via their phones. The tool allows you to convert a proposal into an online application form at the click of a button. Once signed, it goes straight through into processing.” The result is a reduction in administration and an increase in speed and accuracy. This, in turn, translates into greater trust. Fraser expands: “When I first got into financial services, at induction, the CEO said that clients come along and give you their life savings, and all you give them in return is a piece of paper – their statement. If there is anything wrong with that piece of paper, the trust is broken immediately. That’s why the focus on accuracy, great service and good feedback is so critical in this space. “It’s really helpful as a financial advisor to be able to look at your information, to be able to get educational material so you can upskill yourself, understand what the offering is, and explain the products and services to a client.” 21

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