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No tech substitute for the ‘human touch’

by Reporter5 minute read
Face to face meeting

The financial services sector should continue prioritising face-to-face human interaction when assisting clients, despite the growth of artificial intelligence, according to one finance broker.

Inspired by The Adviser Asia Study Tour in Hong Kong, principal and founder of Astute Ability Finance Group Mhairi MacLeod has said that there was no substitute for personalised customer service.

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“It’s hard to replace having the ability to talk to someone face to face, discuss your dreams and aspirations and have someone recommend a finance plan that is specific to your needs,” Ms MacLeod said.

Ms MacLeod made reference to an address to delegates at the study tour from advanced analytics specialist and managing partner of analytics company AlphaZetta Tony Ohlsson, who highlighted how human oversight remains crucial despite the emergence of big data and AI.


“We heard from the managing partner of analytics company AlphaZetta, Tony Ohlsson, that the human element of understanding the practical applications of AI would be key to business success,” the founder said.

“But one message from Tony is you can never take the human out of the algorithm. Whatever you build in your business, make sure there is human oversight because it is such an important part and you will get a better result if you do it.”

Ms MacLeod also encouraged brokers to remain committed to improving industry standards, stating that the study tour revealed how the Asian mortgage market has developed AI strategies to support traditional broking models using robo-advice to enhance the client experience.

“Customers should always be the priority for the broking industry,” Ms MacLeod added. “We need to remain committed to further improving customer service and our standards of conduct and culture, including the benefits of brokers getting out there and contributing in their communities.

“I have also pushed for our industry to place a much greater emphasis on corporate social responsibility, and to embrace the shifting values of the estimated 4.5 million Australians born between 1995 and 2009 (Generation Z) who align themselves with businesses that support the environment and gender diversity.

“Younger people are much more conscious of the CSR programs and ethics of the companies they work for and use. This is something the broking sector should embrace in order to ensure the longevity and popularity of the profession.”

Ms MacLeod will be a panellist on the The Adviser’s SME Broker Bootcamp in November. The free seminars will be held in Brisbane on 20 November, Perth on 22 November, Melbourne on 27 November and Sydney on 28 November.

Now in its fourth year, The Adviser’s SME Broker Bootcamp is a national roadshow designed to help brokers propel their businesses, better understand the opportunity in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) market and transition into new revenue streams.

[Related: Human oversight needed over data analytics]

No tech substitute for the ‘human touch’
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