OMNIMax Managing Director, Jonathan Taylor and Pauline Davis, Head of Technology for BNZ Wealth, have a quality conversation about OMNIEngage – the digital solution keeping advisers and clients on the same page.

There has been a lot of talk about the code of conduct focusing on good customer outcomes and meeting customer expectations. Surely this can only happen if expectations are realistic. This means educating customers right from the beginning of the advice process. Suitability is another variable that you need to assess. The question is, how do you produce a consistent outcome throughout your whole team?

Putting the customer first

Around five years ago, OMNIMax began a journey to bring about a new way of working. “We began the journey with our Engage solution”, Jonathan Taylor, OMNIMax Managing Director says. “We saw an opportunity to help our clients better convey their advice to their customers, in a visually engaging way that was easy to understand. You can be sure you are going to meet customer expectations by setting them at the start. Then making sure that you have a plan to meet the customer’s goals and match their risk appetite. You can then be sure of good customer outcomes. This is what the Engage tool helps with.”

Enabling BNZ staff to have quality KiwiSaver conversations

The solution has been built to use alongside a customer in order to model goal-based scenarios. This allows you to then work with your customer to quickly find a favourable financial outcome and educate them. David talks about their version of the solution called the ‘Navigator’, “The purpose of the tool was to allow frontline bankers to have quality conversations about KiwiSaver with everyday people coming into the bank”. She states that BNZ bankers were sometimes wary of having conversations about wealth products and KiwiSaver because there can be a fine line between advice and information for some bankers. “We wanted everybody, from our frontline bankers through to the branch managers, to have a really good conversation about KiwiSaver without being concerned about heading off track. So, it’s a really guided conversation. They can slice and dice, they can change funds, they can add contributions, and make all sorts of adjustments.” As the Head of Technology for the BNZ wealth business, it is Davis’ job to work with internal and external partners to deliver systems and solutions to support their products with their customers.

The importance of customer education

When asked what was driving their decision to implement these tools Davis comments, “We are focused on improving the financial capability of our customers. We know that’s also something that is very important for our regulators. It’s about supporting kiwis to be more ready for retirement. These tools help us to have these conversations. When you’re trying to explain the difference between conservative and growth and what a fund is… it can be hard to get these messages across, so we use these tools to educate customers. They are really important to us.”

Consistency and compliance

The tools can either be product agnostic or linked to a series of products that are matched to a customer and determined by the selections and risk profile results within the tool. The prefabricated process, determined in the development of the tool, ensures the consistency of information given. However, it also allows an adviser to override predetermined selections with appropriate rationale recording. “Prior to using these tools, we used a variety of laminated projection spreadsheets, and every one was different. We can now record these conversations because the output saves against the customer’s file. This helps with compliance. We can demonstrate that we had this conversation and that this is where we and the customer landed”. At review time, 6 months, and 12 months on, the scenario modelling can be revisited to reassess a customer’s situation and progress.”

Taking customer scenarios further

The customer’s scenarios can also be used to build a full financial plan with the information flowing through to a templated statement of advice. This greatly reduces the time needed to prepare such documents. Taylor states about the future of the tool, “We’re looking to build even more into these front-end projections. This will support the planning process and make it more intuitive to allow for life stages and changes. We’ve just added the ability to model property and multiple assets/portfolios or add cash in hand. We’re currently building a version that’s a little easier to navigate. This will be driven by the customer, kind of like a roboadvice process.”

This article was originally published in Investment News on March 2, 2022.

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