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Resist the urge to 'overcomplicate': Mercer

By Tim Stewart
2 minute read

The financial services industry has an overwhelming desire to overcomplicate financial concepts to create the perception of 'value' to clients, says Mercer partner Andrew Godfrey.

Speaking on a robo-advice industry panel organised by software provider Decimal Software, Mercer's Andrew Godfrey bemoaned the "complex" language employed by wealth management professionals.

"Take [the superannuation strategy] transition to retirement," he said. "The average person, they don’t know what [it] means other than maybe they’re somehow transitioning to retirement.

"We’ve got to make it far more simple than what it is. We over-complicate ... we just have this desire as an industry to want to make it complex because complexity equals value," Mr Godfrey said.

The onus is on the wealth management industry – either through face-to-face advice or robo-advice – to make financial concepts easy to understand and give clients some "insight about the position that they're in", he said.

Mr Godfrey even objected to the term 'robo-advice' itself, with the term 'guided choice' preferred within Mercer.

"We think about 'guided choice' not as a financial advice proposition but actually as a key part of the end-to-end customer journey for our superannuation fund members," he said.

Online advice should be part of the existing financial planning experience for an organisation rather than a separate part of the business model, Mr Godfrey said.

Mercer rolled out Decimal's automated advice platform to its superannuation clients in June 2015. QSuper, Energy Super and Accenture are also clients of the ASX-listed platform provider.

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