IFS Advice Forum – For a changing advice landscape

What is the IFS Advice Forum?

August 2017 saw the kick-off of the IFS Advice Forum. This forum was established to bring client funds together to share information and insights related to advice services, and to co-design solutions to ensure our offering continuously evolves to meet the needs of client funds and members of superannuation funds. The forum will help shape IFS Advice Solutions' strategic priorities.

In addition to key strategic issues and projects relevant to IFS' broader financial advice service offerings, a subcommittee of the forum has been created to develop the next generation of digital advice tools, tailored for the needs of not-for-profit superannuation funds.

IFS Board has identified this as a priority and we are now allocating resources to enable us to better serve our clients through new and emerging digital channels, seamlessly complementing advice through traditional channels.

Through the Forum, IFS is collaborating with client funds to co-design solutions, within a sustainable commercial model that ensures scale benefits for participants. We will identify the optimal technology partner to deliver online advice tools that are integrated with client fund Administrators and CRMs to allow members to move between online and traditional advice channels; and to establish a robust regime for monitoring and supervision of digital advice.


Why digital?

A recent report revealed that the total number of SOAs issued via digital advice has jumped by 128% over the past year, with total funds under advice doubling to $8.4 billion over the past 14 months. You can access the full report here.

Some of the issues and opportunities that the IFS Advice Forum are responding to include:

  • The costs of traditional financial advice which make it either unaffordable or perceived as too expensive relative to value delivered. Digital advice can make final advice more affordable to more people
  • More and more Australians are turning to digital channels to manage their lives. A digital advice solution is imperative for funds to remain relevant and to retain and engage their members
  • With increased scrutiny, and trust in the financial advice industry waning, industry funds are well positioned to transform the traditional advice model and become a trusted adviser for more Australians through the digital channel.

Despite the obvious need for digital advice solutions, at IFS we see shortcomings with current market offerings. In particular, most replicate offline advice processes in an online environment resulting in complex and clunky interfaces, and poor integration. This limits member engagement and goals based (vs product-led) interactions.

The benefits to funds of complementing traditional advice with digital delivery is clear and the development of a more effective solution is imperative.

If you would like to find out more about the Advice Forum and consider becoming part of the team who shape the future direction of advice for industry super funds, please contact Chris Joiner, Executive Manager, Advice Solutions on (03) 9657 4305.