Financial advisers seek online solutions amidst COVID-19 pandemic

GoalsMapper CEO Wayne Chen and chief technology officer Colin Pok

With lockdowns and social distancing measures being the current norm across most countries in Asia, it has become increasingly difficult for financial advisers (FAs) in the region to adjust and cater to their clients' needs during the COVID-19 outbreak.

In Singapore, where a period of heightened social-distancing or 'circuit-breaker' measures are in place, FAs have been allowed to provide essential insurance services digitally.

"During the ‘circuit breaker’ period in Singapore, FAs are not able to conduct face-to-face meetings with clients. This has caused us to expedite the pace of using technology to explore new ways of working and connecting with clients,” said local financial advisory firm SingCapital CEO Alfred Chia.

It has become crucial for FAs to access effective and easy-to-use digital tools such as the real-time and scenario-based financial planning software suite offered by Singapore-headquartered FinTech GoalsMapper.

Established in May 2018, the FinTech first started out in Singapore and in less than a year, 1,200 advisers from insurers such as AIA, Aviva, AXA, Great Eastern, NTUC Income, Manulife, Prudential and Tokio Marine had become users of the software.

The firm has since launched a localised version of its software in Malaysia and Thailand. It is currently looking for distributors in Indonesia, Taiwan, Philippines and Hong Kong.

Using the GoalsMapper software, FAs are able to provide personalised planning and advise clients on financial decisions for various needs such as retirement planning and insurance coverage.

The software generates real-time charts that depict how ready clients are in reaching their financial goals such as planning for a child or retirement. It is also able to account for multiple different scenarios simultaneously.

In the event that clients require further financial planning to attain their goals, the software’s shortfall calculator enables FAs to be able to share with clients exactly what is needed. However, it is neutral when it comes to suggesting relevant products for such needs.


Developed to meet the needs of financial advisers

The software was developed based on advice and feedback from over 30 veteran financial planners across various agencies after GoalsMapper CEO Wayne Chen noted a gap in the financial planning industry.

In an interview with Asia Insurance Review, Mr Chen said that while other sectors were embracing digitalisation rapidly, the financial planning industry was not moving much in this regard. He came up with the idea of GoalsMapper.

He said that FAs had traditionally used paper and pen or excel sheets to carry out financial planning for their clients but with GoalsMapper, they are expected to not only boost their professionalism but also build a trusted relationship with their clients.

The uniqueness of the solution is that it enables users to plan for multiple life goals simultaneously. Mr Chen added that current tools in the market lack the ability to take multiple life goals into account. This limits  the ability of advisers to develop a comprehensive financial plan for their clients.

He therefore described the software as a tool “to empower financial advisers to leverage technology and help their clients have more clarity on their financial status.”

“FAs use the software’s goal-based and scenario-based features to help clients stress test their portfolio. This allows them to help their clients make complex financial decisions in a simpler manner,” he said.


Technology to bring financial planning to new heights

A recent research paper has called upon FAs to capitalise on technology to grow and think about how it can help change what they do.

Titled ‘Advisory Firms in 2030: Growth by Specialization’, the paper is jointly published by wealth and investment management solutions firm SEI and the American Financial Planning Association.

It said that the financial-planning profession is evolving from an adviser-driven and product-based approach toward a consumer-driven model. This means that FAs should focus on clients and find ways to make the most of technology such as mobile, chatbots and portals to enhance the customer's digital experience.

When asked if some financial advisers may view technology as a threat rather than an enabler, Mr Chen said that the financial planning industry has been steering FAs to tap more technology.

To help FAs fit the software into their current processes, his firm offers unlimited training sessions for users.

“Our positioning has been that we are not here to replace financial advisers because we feel that insurance requires a human touch in understanding the needs and problems of real people, and helping them plan for the future,” GoalsMapper chief technology officer Colin Pok told Asia Insurance Review.

The firm said it continues to work closely with FAs to understand the obstacles they face in order to fine tune the product and make sale processes easier and smoother.

At the same time, it has plans is to enhance the financial planning experience to create a client portal for consumers to be more involved in the financial planning process together with their FA.

Goalsmapper was conferred as the ‘InsurTech of the Year 2019’ at the ‘4th Asia Trusted Life Agents & Advisers Awards’ organised by Asia Insurance Review and Asia Advisers Network with LIMRA as co-organiser.


Not a Goalsmapper user yet?

To ensure more people are staying home, keeping safe and still productive, GoalsMapper is offering a promo on their annual subscription fees for Asia Advisers Network readers. From the usual SGD888.00/yr to just SGD699 for new subscribers for the first year of subscription.

If you'd like to subscribe to it, use this special link by clicking here.

Or simply scan this QR code with your mobile camera. 

GoalsMapper has also recently received the Singapore FinTech Association Certification. Singapore-based Financial Institutions with less than 200 employees can explore using its solutions with subsidy. Get in touch to find out more. 

Good things must share! So, pass the message around to your fellow friends and advisers!


More on GoalsMapper:

InsurTech of the Year 2019 - Goalsmapper

Redefining financial planning in partnership with advisers - GoalsMapper, InsurTech of the Year finalist


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