AMP Bank recently hosted a virtual market insights session for brokers, aggregators and advisers and one of the topics we spoke about was how the pace of change and transformation can accelerate dramatically in times of crisis.
This rate of change, such as what we are seeing through the COVID-19 period, can make it challenging to find a moment to reflect on the headwinds and tailwinds surrounding us and what this means for our businesses.
During the online forum we asked participants to reflect on changes that have come through the COVID-19 period and it’s clear brokers and advisers are not only embracing this accelerated rate of change, but have also made adjustments and enhancements to the way they run their businesses and support clients that will remain after this period.
The transformative forces of technology and shifting customer expectations, which have arguably accelerated during this period, were identified by participants as dominant forces they anticipated would continue to have a significant impact on their business over the next three years, along with regulatory and industry body change.
Brokers and advisers told us they have valued the increased opportunity to access professional development and educational opportunities such as webinars. This was especially appreciated by those who lived in regional areas or whose circumstances meant that it was often difficult to attend ordinarily.
For some, time saved rushing between face-to-face client meetings and increased acceptability of technology, has resulted in increased flexibility and productivity, enabling them to spend time catching up on lender policies and other pieces of work. Some participants expressed a desire to re-introduce face-to-face contact when possible, but at reduced frequency to pre-pandemic levels.
The growing acceptance of virtual interviews, e-signatures and use of online document verification services was called out, as was the ability, in certain circumstances, to conduct property inspections and onsite valuations via FaceTime with geolocators.
Their clients’ willingness to accept technology and online methods of communication was also highlighted as a benefit, along with a resounding sense that as a result of the developments during this period, they now felt better equipped to service their clients remotely.
This was tempered, however, with a desire to ensure they maintain important ‘human connection’ with their clients during this period and beyond.
For lenders, never before has it been more important to reduce complexity and strengthen the service and support provided to brokers and advisers.
Overall, there was a sense that this period has not been all ‘Doom and Zoom’, but has provided the industry with an opportunity to accelerate how technology is leveraged to drive efficiency and enable human connection.
As we move towards the end of 2020, it is important that we carve out time to reflect on the year and make conscious decisions about which developments we want to stay, and what elements of pre-pandemic life we want to rush back to.
We should not assume that just because we have experienced accelerated transformation and progress during this crisis, that these changes are here to stay without continued advocacy.
These have been, and will continue to be, extraordinary times. There hasn’t been a road map to follow, however we have come together as an industry to assist clients through the most challenging of circumstances.
We’ve recognised, as a collective, the important role we have to play in helping clients and have witnessed aggregators, brokers and advisers transform their businesses to maintain and, in many cases, enhance the service and support they provide for their clients.
Philippa Huxley is the head of distribution transformation at AMP Bank where she leads the strategy and transformation agenda for AMP Bank’s distribution team and is responsible for the implementation of the Sedgwick and Combined Industry Forum Recommendations and Financial Sector Reform requirements.
She holds a BMedia (MACQ) , BLaws (UNSW) and DipPM (AIM) and recently completed a course in Exponential Innovation at Singularity University in Silicon Valley. Philippa is currently undertaking the Global Executive MBA program at Sydney University which has involved working with leading organisations in Bangalore, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
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