Recently I read an opinion piece with the basis that SOA’s should be abolished because they no longer disclose relationships properly. To be honest with you, I read the article about 3 times and am not entirely sure that this was the message the Author wanted to get across but I think I got the gist.
We need to stop seeing SOA’s as compliance documents. ASIC makes it very clear that the intention for the SOA is to make sure the client is crystal clear on the advice and the majority of the disclosure is provided in documents leading up to the advice.
Yes, I know I sound like a broken record but nothing changes if nothing changes.
I understand that a lot of Advisers do not see a lot of value in the SOA. They don’t really use them in any other way except to meet their compliance obligations because all of the advice is provided in discussions and prior meetings.
I also know that clients are very unlikely to go home and consume 80 pages of financial jargon and legal speak, so what is the actual point of them?
The fact that these documents have barely evolved in the last 15 years is ridiculous. We are concerned with the threat of Robo advice yet, we are still spending hours working on a Word document that the client doesn’t even look at.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
What if an SOA was an interactive and engaging tool that a client not only wants to look at and refer to, but gives you stats on what they are looking at, they are quick and easy to put together and tick all of the compliance boxes?
It is possible and it’s in the works as we speak. Do I have your attention now?
All it takes is for someone to question what we currently do to instigate innovation. Uber, Apple, Elon Musk are prime examples of this thinking and it’s time we applied some of this thought to financial services.
Let’s change this. Let’s take SOA’s out of the ‘too hard basket’ and put it into the spotlight. Let’s evolve our advice process so that it actually engages the client right to the end. They leave the office thinking, wow! that Adviser really has their shit together and now I have this awesome tool to reflect my advice.
It’s time to take action. Time to put pressure on the big dogs to get their act together and start thinking outside of the box or be left behind.
If you’re interested in following my progress on this and would like to check out some preliminary designs, hit me up on LinkedIn and let's get this baby moving.