Lifespan Financial Planning launches digital investing and education solution to address the “advice gap”

by | Jun 6, 2022 | IN THE MEDIA

Lifespan Financial Planning, one of Australia’s largest privately-owned financial advice networks, today launched a digital investing solution to support the mass market of Australians priced out of receiving holistic personal advice from a financial planner.

Consumers who sign up for Lifespan Invest, as the solution is called, have their investment portfolio professionally managed for them by Lifespan and obtain access to a regular feed of financial literacy and educational content in the form of engaging articles and videos, helping them to lead more successful and fulfilling financial lives.

Lifespan Financial Planning is a leading community of professional, client-focused financial advisers, and was awarded both the IFA Excellence Awards, Dealer Group of the Year, and the Core Data Licensee of the Year award in 2021. Lifespan licenses approximately 260 experienced financial planners across Australia.

CEO Eugene Ardino said the company was proud to be taking proactive steps via a digital solution to seek to address the needs of Australians who would like professional assistance at a level below personal advice.

“In an ideal world, every Australian would be able to afford a personal financial adviser, however, the reality is that delivering personal advice has become increasingly expensive over recent years, inevitably excluding more and more people. Yes, the Government can take steps to reduce much of this cost by streamlining regulatory requirements – and we are extremely supportive of the Quality of Advice Review currently underway – however, the industry needs to also use robust and compliant new technologies to help address the growing “advice gap.

“Our advisers are now able to offer an alternative digital solution for those whose circumstances are such that they do not need to go through the more expensive personal advice process. When they do need that service, our advisers will be there for them”, Mr Ardino added.

The Problem – and its Solution

Mr Ardino called on the rest of the financial advice industry to look to new technologies to enable them to reach and help mainstream Australia.

“The press is doing a great job in highlighting the size of the problem – thousands of advisers continue to exit the industry every year, and as a result, it is estimated another 100,000 Australians over the past year were “orphaned”, that is, had their adviser relationship terminated. The problem is clear – but equally, there are now digital solutions to this problem, and it’s up to the industry to embrace these new technologies,” he said

The Lifespan Invest solution is provided via a partnership with Melbourne-based fintech platform, OpenInvest. OpenInvest CEO and co-founder Andrew Varlamos said the company was excited to be partnering with an award-winning dealer group in Lifespan Financial Planning.

“The team at Lifespan understand that everyone is better off when they can access expert and professional help and are now – via OpenInvest technology – able to reach a much larger audience with their expertise. The current advice gap will only be solved by a combination of scalable technology and progressive financial advice firms such as Lifespan working in partnership,” Mr Varlamos said.

Financial Wellbeing

Mr Ardino echoed the theme that being able to access trusted financial expertise helps people to lead more successful and happier lives.

“For a variety of reasons, increasing numbers of people are experiencing financial stress and uncertainty. And because the banks have all exited financial advice – unless you’re extremely wealthy – it leaves an even larger vacuum that unfortunately has been filled with a spate of gimmicky trading apps that encourage people, especially young people, to gamble via share trading or crypto. Not only does this pose excessive risk of financial loss, but it also comes with inevitable mental anxiety and stress.

“There’s sensible investing and there’s speculating, and we see it as our role to help Australians invest the right way – via managed, multi-asset class diversified portfolios. By doing so, they are more likely to reach their financial goals and also achieve a greater sense of financial self-confidence and wellbeing,” Mr Ardino said.