Integrate and assimilate are technology must-dos

With Cameron Cogle, General Manager - Bridgeport Financial Services

Date: 09 June 2017

Cameron Cogle has been part of the financial services industry for over 25 years with roles at ClearView, BT/Westpac, St George and CBA across divisions such as financial planning, lending, business development, sales and more.

He is now the General Manager of Bridgeport Financial Services, a national advisory firm servicing more than 5,000 clients with more than $500 million in funds under advice. The average client is worth $250,000 and half of their client base are retirees, 1,800 are fee-for-service and the remainder are referred to as ‘maintenance clients’ who are ideally positioned for potential engagement opportunities. 

Cameron says he has always remained open to trying new technology and believes that with regards to the advice industry “you need to move with the times” to evolve and grow with the ever-changing landscape. 

Cameron also has a positive outlook when it comes to what technology can do. “Recently I was shown Airtasker (an outsourcing platform) and decided to give it a go. I managed to get my lawn mowed and backyard cleaned. Had I never been open to trying it out, I never would’ve known how good it was.” 

Likewise, in his career he readily adopts change. He recently transitioned to Microsoft Office 365 an online cloud-version of the popular software to access emails, files and other important elements with ease when he travels for work, and he is very happy with it. 

Cameron believes that the successful integration of technology into businesses relies on several factors, not least of which is culture. 

“A business needs more than just clarity and education about what a piece of technology does and how best to apply it. A business also needs to have a team culture that supports innovation via technology and encourages the learning and testing of different applications and outcomes. At Bridgeport, we’re lucky to be surrounded by individuals who are open to trying new technology. This willingness to explore, test and learn is integral to the successful use of new technology.” 

According to Cameron, Bridgeport are already benefitting from their use of tech solutions such as XPLAN, Skype and SuiteBox as advisers are now able to conduct meetings from their office, saving them travel time and they can perform admin or advice related duties more easily with the relevant tech pieces.

Netwealth 2017 AdviceTech Report

The report paints a picture of how technology is currently being used in the dynamic and evolving advice industry and provides insights into key areas of focus, must-have, high adoption services, and technologies that are regarded as disruptors, but are not yet being adopted.

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However, similar to the sentiment expressed by others, Cameron sees the need for further integration. 

“Having seen what’s available in the US AdviceTech space, it makes it clear that there is a need for further integration here. We’re still balancing different AdviceTech offerings in an attempt to create a feasible plug’n’play solution, whereas they have progressed much further down the integrated path. We need to strive to make all the bits and piece tie into one.” 

In terms of Cameron’s favourite tech piece he cannot go past XPLAN as it supports the delivery of cost-effective and efficient financial advice. He also believes that a customer relationship management (CRM) system is vital as it enables advisers to communicate in a meaningful manner with clients. 

Cameron says, “With a CRM if you put rubbish in, you get rubbish out. The more we get to know our clients, the more relevant is the data entered, the more meaningful our communication becomes. We are then able to deliver tailored content about educational or promotional initiatives.”

According to Cameron, the biggest challenge for advisers around adopting technology is integration.

According to Cameron, the biggest challenge for advisers around adopting technology is integration. “There is so much out there and it looks great, but the reality is that when advisers return to their office they haven’t gained a real understanding of how a piece of technology will integrate, or how to best utilise it and then before you know it’s a case of doing ‘business as usual’. He is also very optimistic about the possibilities and breakthroughs which technology an help the advice industry bring.

“I believe that technology will play a major role. Looking at things like robo-advice and client enhancement tools, there’s no doubt there are great pieces of technology. I also think that efficiencies gained via technology will make advice accessible to more Australians who at the moment, don’t or can’t afford to seek advice. Technology will also help to raise financial literacy levels as there will be increased online avenues for education. Amongst all this technology I believe the adviser-client relationship will remain central. It’s the expertise and support that Australians will seek, especially at significant life stages such as when they are nearing or at retirement. The rest is secondary to that.”