We’ve been operating in a tech-driven world for many years now but the pandemic has obviously served to expediate this process. This means that a growing number of consumers and service providers have been forced into a more digitally aligned approach and, generally speaking, appear to have been pleasantly surprised with the safety and ease of this transition. Many consumers were previously put off using digital solutions due to the risk of fraud and a general lack of understanding around how online applications work. Being forced into a digital mindset has resulted in some giant leaps forward across all sectors, especially in the property and mortgage markets.
Much of the forward-momentum in recent years has revolved around new entrants and tech disruptors. This word disrupter is an interesting one and can often be taken out of context. Many tech providers are not out there to save the world on their own, especially in the mortgage market. There has been talk of a full end-to-end tech journey which can digitalise the whole mortgage process but this remains virtually impossible. Borrowers will continue to rely on the advice process and the experience, empathy and expertise that comes with this. And as the mortgage journey becomes even more complex, the reliance and value attached to the human touch will only rise. However, it’s prudent to point out that this human touch can also be ably supported by technology when it comes to saving time and adding value.
From an adviser perspective, technology should make their lives easier by helping to streamline many business processes and generating more time to do what they do best, advise. Although issues such as effective client support, time management, and host of tools to help in the advisory process can all seem a little daunting. Here, at Click2Check, we have taken steps to ensure that our Credit Assess systems have been built with the adviser and the client fully in mind, with easy-to-follow steps and intuitive buttons to press. And we realise that we are only part of the advice puzzle.
As important as honing individual tech propositions is knowing your limitations, not trying to be a jack of all trades and master of none. This is why we are seeing so many integrations, affiliations and partnerships between tech providers as they recognise that they don’t have the time, resources or expertise to always develop solutions of their own. For example, we have recently announced a new partnership with cyber security firm, Beyond Encryption, to utilise its Mailock secure email solution. We are also working closely with AccountScore to utilise its open banking platform as part of its Credit Assess product, and more linkups like these are likely to happen with a raft of tech providers who are true experts in their particular field.
Without trying to tell advisers how to suck eggs, this is also something which they can utilise within their business. It marks a similar path in terms of defining what types of specialist areas that advisers are comfortable operating in and which ones would be best served referring to affiliate partners. This is particularly relevant for sole traders who often – in a similar manner to tech providers – don’t have the time, capacity or resources to cover as many bases as they might like.
I’ve used the word complex before and we can’t underestimate how the introduction of the right kind of technology can help simplify many areas of the advice process. But it can also be difficult to choose the right systems and solutions to match individual business requirements. Sole traders have always had a lot on their plate but their plate is getting even larger with a wider variety of ingredients on there. Thankfully, a healthy mix of technology, referrals and affiliations can help ensure that they can bite off that little bit more and still be able to chew it.
David Jones is director of Click2Check