Trains, Newspapers and Client Online access


by Paul Wright, Managing Director - Innovus Advice Solutions

On a recent trip to attend the Centrepoint Alliance Spring Masterclass I caught the train into the city, as I have for many years. In the past, my fellow commuters were typically found with their head in a newspaper.

On this occasion, most commuters were focused intently on a portable device, either a phone or tablet. While some may have been watching a favourite program, most were engaged in what looked to be two way communication with someone.

For some time in our financial advice business we have focussed our attention on finding better ways to communicate and engage with our clients. We have been refining the reports we present and the language we use to better meet their expectations.

As part of this process we have come to the realisation that much of the communication we have with our clients follows a process. Clients will ask us questions like “Can I have a copy of this document”, or “What is my file number” or “I have changed my email address” or “What is my portfolio balance”. We will ask clients “Can I have a copy of your ID” or “What’s your new address now you’ve moved”.

We design and build reports which we email to clients, thereby generating a third copy of the report (one in our software, one in our filing system, one in the client’s email). We realised that a far more efficient solution was allowing our clients to access our systems, even if it was only for secure file storage, and we began exploring the possibilities of the native xplan touch app interfacing with Compass.

I was delighted to be invited to assist in the design of our very own Client Online Access solution which utilises the proven technology of the xplan touch application, but allows us to have better control over the look and feel of what our clients experience.

For us Client Online Access will provide:

  1. A value add for clients.
  2. A more client-friendly way to to communicate with our clients in their time not ours.
  3. The ability for clients to access information when they want it, on demand rather than emailing pdfs, security issues etc.
  4. A repository for important documents which the client can access e.g. Advice Documents, Fee Disclosure Statements, Ongoing Fee Agreements, Financial Services Guide, Platform Tax Statements.
  5. The ability to book appointments via access to our Compass diary.
  6. Loads of other benefits which we haven’t yet dreamed up.

Back on the train, imagine if your clients were on their morning commute and engaging with your firm. Imagine if they had just read an article on something they wanted your advice on and they had booked an appointment with you to discuss it, out of hours and without bothering your admin team. Imagine if they were on the way to their accountant and instead of calling you for their annual tax statement, they had just accessed it online and emailed it to the accountant. Imagine if their shiny new iPhone had come with a new number, and they had updated their contact details on your system. Imagine if they had just read an article from you instead of one from your competitor, or from a bank, or from an industry super fund.

In my view Client Online Access is a quality initiative for Centrepoint to have invested in, raising the bar in terms of how we can deliver service to our clients. The solution will evolve over time and more features and refinements will be added, but it is certainly something we will be offering to our clients, at our cost, and to our premium clients first.