Highly-skilled banking and financial services professionals are the key to the Future of Finance.
The need for ambitious, dedicated individuals was highlighted during the first two webinars in FINSIA’s forward-focused series of events that run throughout May.
Despite the disruption facing both the Financial Advice and Banking sectors, panelists at both sessions agreed on the importance of professionalism.
While the stark message from the first of those discussions revealed the cost of financial advice rose 28% in the past two years as the number of advisers has dwindled from 28,800 to 20,500, government and ASIC recognition of the problem suggests the trend could be reversed.
“The underlying problem is a significant decline in the number of financial advisers,” Phil Anderson - Acting CEO of the Association of Financial Advisers - told the webinar attendees.
“We have to make sure we hold on to as many good advisers as we can and attract new ones to the marketplace so Australians have access to advice.”
Though a recent warning that just 17,000 registered financial advisers could remain in the sector is another cause for concern.
While 12,000 advisers have passed the FASEA exams necessary to remain on the register, there has been a ‘disturbing trend’ that has seen a worsening pass rate.
“It’s not that they are passing because they are not capable. It’s really stressful,” Anderson added.
“If you don’t pass, your career is over.
“We need to make sure we are doing all we can to help advisers evolve to ensure they offer quality advice.
“We are focused on doing that and we are pleased the government, other organisations and the regulators are doing that also.
“Financial advice needs to be recognised as a profession.”
While Robo advice is seen as a way of reducing costs to consumers, Financial Services Council Policy Manager Zach Castles said: “Research shows clients prefer a human on the end of the advice process.”
There was a similar sentiment from Deloitte’s Arthur Calipo in the second webinar, focused on the Future of Banking, when talking about the role of frontline bankers and bank branches.
“The banker of the future not going to disappear,” he said, noting that they will need to become more ‘tech savvy’.
“Like branches, bankers will not disappear. Bankers will continue to be relevant and important for the delivery of those services.
“Our view on the scenario is that augmented technology will be there to support bankers and banking employees to make decisions - support them to engage with customers in the right way to have the right information at their fingertips.
“So you’ll hopefully have a more meaningful conversation about goals.”
While moderating the Advice session, the summing up by John Corcoran could apply to all of those looking forward to a career in financial services when he said: “There’s no doubt we are moving to a profession and being recognised as a profession and as we do that we need to continue work on improving on how we provide financial advice.”
Looking forward to next week, make sure you don’t miss out on our webinars on digital week.