Shaun Clements has been working across financial services since 1997. Having seen many different styles of business, Shaun established North of River Financial in Joondalup, Western Australia to specialise in risk protection and superannuation for young professionals, mainly in the medical field.
Shaun implements cutting edge technology into his processes and practice to help keep in touch with clients and assist them in their establishment and attainment of their lifestyle and financial goals.
He identifies himself as an early adopter of technology and values the benefits it can bring. According to Shaun, he recognised the sheer influence and magnitude that technology would have at all levels (both personal and professional) from one simple yet astute observation he had when Apple launched its products into the mainstream.
He says: “I knew technology was the way forward when I saw everyone holding an iPhone or iPad. The fact that these smartphones and portable devices, with all their capabilities were always in my hands, and those of others, made it clear to me that technology was it.”
It was applying this logic to an advice business that lead to the establishment of his business.
“I established North of River with the goal to provide an effective financial planning solution to people who need expert advice and a flexible and efficient means to access it. We use the latest technology to deliver an industry leading client engagement process. Something we plan to develop to deal with the constant changes in the financial system and our client's needs.”
“Technology will manage processes such as fact finding, but I don’t think it will ever reach the point where it understands the nuances of a client situation. This is where I believe advisers will deliver real value – in understanding a client’s situation and communicating clearly about finances and providing support along the way.”
Shaun invests and integrates various pieces of technology into his business to not only deliver cost, process and time efficiencies for him, but to also better serve his clients. According to Shaun his core market is predominantly professional 25-45 year olds who are time poor who value and expect to be able to view their portfolio and financial information in their own time, from their desired location.
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.
“My clients have time-constraints which means they need efficient access to their data anytime, anywhere, without needing to pick up the phone and call me, which is why they value the client portal and I consider myprosperity my must-have piece of technology,” said Shaun.
myprosperity provides his clients with a holistic online portal which provides 24/7 access to their information and gives them the ability to manage budgeting and cashflow, access the latest data, receive live feeds, perform wealth checks and much more, ultimately delivering an engaging and interactive financial tool to their fingertips.
Whilst Shaun uses an array of tech tools, from self-service tools, to cloud hosting, Acorns and more, his favourite is online document storage. He says, ‘the security is great as it eliminates the risk of server attacks or issues, plus the ability to access your files from anywhere means you can work whenever, wherever you want (subject to an internet connection).”
According to Shaun, the dynamic between advisers and technology is wildly varied as the rate of adoption differs at both macro (business) and micro (individual) levels. And in his time, he has seen the full spectrum; “I’ve seen businesses where the partner would print emails in order to write a reply in response, through to extremely tech-oriented businesses that have a scattered approach to the integration of technology,” he said.
Shaun himself likes to combine traditional with high-tech approaches. Whilst very tech-focused when it comes to processes and systems, paper remains paramount as the potential to lose time due to a disruption in internet connectivity or flat battery during a client consultation costs too much in terms of lost time and engagement.
So, what will the future of advice look like in 2025 in Shaun’s opinion?
“I believe that open APIs will become more common. This means that more AdviceTech solutions will be able to ‘talk to each other’ creating better integration and more holistic solutions for adviser businesses. In terms of the role of technology I envisage it will manage processes such as fact finding but realistically, I don’t think it will ever reach the point where technology understands the nuances of a client situation. This is where I believe advisers will deliver real value – in understanding a client’s situation and communicating clearly about finances and providing support along the way.”