The future is sweet

Jane Hodges, Founder of remote advice firm Money Honey, has received industry acclaim over the past few years for introducing a service which simultaneously places technology and the needs of its clients at its centre.  I’m caught up with to Jane to find out more about Money Honey and her unusual approach to the advice process. 

‘We are a Financial Planning Firm (I am Chartered; Pension Transfer Specialist and SOLLA accredited); we provide services to individuals - from early regular savings, family protection, mortgages, retirement planning, at retirement planning, estate planning, equity release and later life planning. We do all of this remotely using video conference, a client portal, assorted advice systems and digital signatures - and we record everything. We have no offices; we recruit across the country and we all work flexibly- my partner and I from all around the world.’ 

Winner of Money Marketing Award for ‘Best Use of Technology by an Adviser’ 

‘With regards to our award, I think they liked the passion we have for working differently; that we were showing that even small companies could embrace technology completely; and that we have given a lot of time to trying to move the industry forward to paperless processes.’

So where did it all begin?

‘Originally it was a combination of running a complaints team for a year - and realising that it had to be better to record meetings than rely on file notes after 20 years; that we wasted so much time in the car travelling, yet video conferencing was easy and becoming quite normal; and, looking at our customer base, they were moving to online banking and shopping and yet most advisers still thought they could only offer advice when physically face-to-face.  

Most advice processes focussed on doing the least number of meetings, yet clients often need time to take in complex matters, so we wanted a way of having multiple touchpoints and lots of education.

We made a decision that going forward, we would NEVER meet clients physically face-to-face, and avoiding paper and post wherever we could to save costs, which enabled us to pass on the savings through a cheaper charging structure.

I didn’t transition any existing clients - we started from scratch - but we have never had any problems attracting clients. What I would say is that most clients use technology in some way - so they wouldn’t need much to consider it - paying forward lower overheads into lower charges would probably help.

About the future

‘It depends on your client base and how long the adviser has to retirement. But the next generations will do everything on their phone; home Alexa/Google; more people will work from home and use VC or holograms; many will take basic advice from robo-advisers/AI systems; FUM will not be a business model as computers will be managing portfolios for next to nothing and wealth managers will disappear to be replaced by financial planners for more complex advice scenarios.   People will be better informed, and advisers will need to up their game.

It won’t be as exciting as you think as it will be in - parallel with electric driverless cars; living to 100+ as a norm as nanobots cure most diseases; mobile and flexible contractor workforces; AI everywhere; free electricity and unlimited connectivity everywhere; search engines will give you info even before you have thought to ask as we have chips added to our brains - you may laugh - but all of this has started already!!

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