Using scale and technology to make advice more accessible 

By Darren Whereat, Chief Advice Officer

We believe that everyone should feel confident about their financial future. IOOF’s recent acquisition of MLC is an important step in the transformation of our business, promoting positive change as we work to become Australia’s largest dedicated, advice-led wealth management organisation. Our ultimate goal is to improve the financial wellbeing of all Australians.

Across the financial advice industry, the last few years has brought a lot of focus on assurance and governance programs to implement higher professional standards for financial advisers across the industry. This has been important in rebuilding trust with the community, regulators and key stakeholders.

We do know, however, that this process has been difficult for many advisers. Increased regulation and compliance requirements have resulted in greater complexity and increased costs for both licensees and advisers. Across the advice sector, processes and technology have been stretched to keep up, leading to many inefficiencies.

It is our view that higher professional standards and providing advice that is affordable and accessible in an efficient way should all be possible. Through our True Value of Advice research undertaken in 2020, we know that understanding, trust and empathy are some of the most valued parts of an adviser / client relationship, so we want advisers to have the time to build these meaningful connections.

This is where technology plays a key role.

At IOOF, we’re designing a new way of doing business, focused on a more efficient advice process. Through simplification, digitisation and automation, we want to ensure our advisers can focus on the most important thing - building a financial partnership for the improved wellbeing of their clients and their families.

Key to our strategy is a completely integrated digital ecosystem leveraging best of breed solutions – where integration, cyber and data protocols can be achieved and preserved to protect advisers and their clients as well as create adviser efficiencies. This model will allow our solutions to remain flexible and evolve as new technology is developed and as client expectations change.

A cornerstone to this is IOOF’s Wealth Central technology. Wealth Central is a digital suite that dramatically changes how clients and advisers interact to ensure goals-based advice is delivered meaningfully. Together with our advisers, we are building our future roadmap to transform the way we provide advice and to give advisers in our networks a competitive advantage.

Following the completion of the MLC acquisition, IOOF has warmly welcomed more than 400 advisers from MLC Advice, TenFifty, Godfrey Pembroke and MLC Connect into our IOOF community, making us the largest Advice business in Australia.

With our new combined scale in the sector, it is more important than ever that we work in partnership with our advisers on our journey to transform financial advice, as we use our privileged position of greater scale and capability to promote the value of advice to more Australians than ever before.