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What will the future role of the financial adviser be?



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I’ve recently had the pleasure of being part of a panel discussing the future of the broker-lender relationship.

The event was held during this year’s NACFB Commercial Finance Expo in Birmingham and included spokespeople from key brokerage firms, including Phil Gray from Watts Commercial, Mathew Kind from Kind Commercial and Paul Goodman from Goodman Corporate Finance.

The panel first looked at how modern finance professionals can balance the increasing use of technology while safeguarding traditional, personal relationships. Technology has slowly taken over certain tasks from both lenders and brokers, enabling them to process, analyse and discover large amounts of data more intelligently and quickly. For example, the analysis and assessment of a business’s creditworthiness has become very complex, and machine learning and algorithms can analyse relevant financial information much faster than humans. That said, the decision on which loan product would best suit a business remains – in my opinion – in the hands of the trusted adviser.

Phil, managing director at Watts Commercial, hit the nail on the head: “What technology is currently doing is to allow us to be quicker and smoother, while providing a better service to our clients.”

So, with the commercial finance landscape evolving, how is the relationship between brokers and lenders changing?

Mathew, founder of Kind Financial Services, commented: “For us as brokers, the most important thing is our personal relationship with clients. 

“Therefore, it is crucial for us to be aware of all the different lending options out there to ensure we make the best choices and look at all the relevant options.”

And how can lenders deal with the challenges ahead? 

Paul, managing director of Goodman Corporate Finance, gave a great example. 

“I have a 13-year-old son and I am not too sure how he would work with me in 10 years. 

“His generation has grown up with technology and brokers need to move with the times to stay in business. 

“That’s where the future challenge lies.”

I am convinced that technology-driven tools and platforms will increasingly take over the more mundane work. But understanding a client’s business and needs as well as determining the right funding option for them will continue to remain with the broker. Ultimately, the strength of 'the new adviser' lies in the ability to combine technology, relationships and customer service the right way.

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