Paperless transactions will provide the broking sector a “great opportunity” but also a major challenge as direct-to-consumer lenders also capitalise on the technology, AFG has said.
Outgoing chief information officer at AFG Jaime Vogel said that one of the biggest challenges the industry faces is the introduction of paperless and friction-eased transactions as both aggregators and online lenders can take advantage of the innovation.
Mr Vogel told The Adviser: “Aggregators must continue to evolve their technology, reduce friction for both brokers and customers, and embrace diversification of services.
“Paperless and friction-eased transactions will provide a great opportunity for the industry. However, this will also enhance the proposition of the direct-to-consumer online lenders.”
Mr Vogel, who departs AFG in early October this year, said that the broking sector will need to make sure that it can “continue to offer an enhanced customer experience” via a “comprehensive service offering” supported by knowledge and data.
Looking back on his nearly five years in the role, Mr Vogel said that AFG’s technological development has been informed by mobile, social media and the cloud.
“Data-driven initiatives have also played an important role more recently. However, we’re only at the beginning of the data evolution; organisations that embrace and best utilise their data will have a clear advantage in the future,” the CIO added.
The recent launch of the AFG Business platform, which will “provide AFG members with an industry-leading commercial lending platform” and help AFG mortgage brokers diversify into business lending, is considered by Mr Vogel as a particular achievement.
Further: “The all-in-cloud initiative that involved migrating 80-odd applications and services from our two data centres to the cloud [is another major achievement].
“It was a two-year project that has ultimately shifted the bulk of our IT costs from operational expenditure to the investment in innovation.”
Currently, AFG invests 60 per cent of IT expenditure in innovation, up from the 16 per cent when Mr Vogel joined AFG.
“We can now develop and innovate substantially faster than we would have thought possible a few years ago,” he said.
Mr Vogel will become CIO at the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia, and the aggregator is currently seeking a “strategic thinker, experienced in driving businesses to achieve their objectives” to fill his role, considering both internal and external applicants.
“I’d like to see the role filled by someone that can maintain the momentum that we have built, continue to empower and embrace the team culture, and closely align their vision and strategy with that of the AFG business,” Mr Vogel said.
[Related: Technology ‘essential’ driver of growth]