Alexa: tell me the future of financial advice technology

By Lora Benson | Nov 22, 2016
Amazon’s hit speaker device - Echo - is now available in the UK. Is it just the latest must-have gadget? Or does it signal a new technology revolution? IRESS’ Mark Loosmore looks at the implications for financial advisers.

If you have seen the TV advert you will know that Alexa - the personal assistant inside the hands-free, voice-controlled Amazon Echo speaker - can remind you that Buster is coming back from the vet, put dog biscuits on your shopping list and activate your ‘welcome home Buster’ playlist. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Good news for disorganised dog owners. But how is this relevant to financial advice?

Amazon Echo is about the art of the possible. It shows us how using a simple, single interface can completely connect your world. For advisers, that could be a real game changer.

Alexa does the work for you. She answers questions in an instant. She completes actions, like adding an entry to your calendar or switching on the lights. No need to use your phone or laptop. Just speak to Alexa and she links up all the technology to make it happen.

Today, as mad as it sounds, it is not that unusual for an adviser business to have to enter the same data multiple times into multiple systems. This increases the risk of input error, mis-alignment of information across systems, and - of course - compliance problems. It damages client service and experience. And above all, this kind of repetition is a phenomenal waste of an adviser’s most precious asset – time.

Imagine a single system linking to different platforms, keeping you informed about tasks and diary events, providing client information on command, managing your business finances – all though a single, easy to use interface.

Solutions are here now that pull together multiple systems – both internal advice systems and product provider extranets and platforms. We’re also moving towards full two-way sharing of data, meaning deep integrations are already possible that streamline the advice process into one core user system, improving client experience and helping advisers make the best use of time.

Amazon Echo is the latest must-have gadget, but it’s also at the vanguard of a further technology revolution that has enormous potential to improve our business lives.

Watch this space. Who knows, maybe one day soon advisers will have their own ‘Alexa’.


IRESS is the leading software provider to the financial services industry, known best for its market-leading solutions including The Exchange, XPLAN, Trigold and MSO.