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Hewison Insights
Financial Planning

What do Apple, LinkedIn & IBM have to do with financial planning?

Andrew Hewison
Managing Director
9 May 2017

Name an industry, any industry, and the big players from Silicon Valley are sure to have their finger in the pie.

I recently joined a small group of fellow financial services principals on a Global Innovation Tour within the United States. Our mission:

  1. To find factors influencing financial planning services
  2. To understand what the finance industry might look like in the future?

The tour took us on an incredible journey visiting some of the world’s most innovative and forward thinking businesses – Apple, IBM Watson, GE Capital, LinkedIn, United Capital and Cisco Systems. 

What struck me most was that despite these companies being leaders in technological innovation, it’s not just technology in which they innovate. Innovation goes beyond technology.

And this must also be true for financial planning and investment service business. In order to be at the leading edge we must innovate in multiple ways:

People and Culture

  • At LinkedIn employees are provided with free meals while at work. And remarkably staff have no set work hours and unlimited annual leave.
  • At United Capital, a rapidly growing, dynamic financial services business, staff are encouraged to block out diary time for physical exercise.
  • GE no longer conducts annual staff reviews. GE staff prefer ongoing feedback to ensure they on track to achieve their goals.

The Client Need

  • Technology, such as Google, now provides information at our fingertips. The Apple app store gives us access to some incredibly clever software, which has become expected in most industries, including the financial planning sector.
  • From a financial services perspective we must adapt to our clients’ lives, not force them to live in ours. Clients must have instantaneous access to financial information at their fingertips. Formal boardroom meetings will become less important and a focus will be on what works best for the client.
  • Some time ago, it was thought that the future of financial services was Robo advice. Having your money managed by computers, not people. The argument is that it’s cheaper and just as effective. But is it? Shall we cash up and walk away? Of course not…

    That said, standalone businesses, such as Hewison Private Wealth, must remain laser focused on operational efficiency to keep costs at bay and compete with the big end of town. Make no mistake, financial services is a David and Goliath industry. The independent adviser has never been so relevant. Ensuring consumers are presented with an unbiased choice is imperative. But for independent financial advice firms, it’s never been so tough to compete.

  • Not just in the U.S but also in Australia the concept of ‘goals based advice’ or ‘behavioral’ advice has gained traction. Of course we support this concept – Hewison Private Wealth have been providing this to our clients for 30+ years. It’s not a new concept!

Technology: How long is a piece of string?

  • The most important thing for me is technology that makes it brilliantly simple for us as advisers to interact with our clients. Our challenge is to remove any barriers or challenges that clients experience when interacting with us.
  • With the advent of Apple’s finger print technology, surely paper based signatures are on borrowed time?
  • Cisco Systems challenged us to think about how we can more efficiently get Statements of Advice in our client’s hands.
  • Finally, IBM showcased their artificial intelligence engine, Watson. By feeding Watson with a person’s current circumstances, Watson has proven to accurately predict likely events in the future. The financial planning opportunities to be considered for this are huge.


One of the four key pillars of Hewison Private Wealth is innovation. While we are, and always have been, innovative in the area of fee for service and goals based advice, we continue to ask ourselves, what next?

This recent opportunity was a sensory overload. It was incredibly exciting. It gave us new ideas to innovate and fuelled our thirst to continue improving our services to our clients.

From a personal perspective, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on what you may expect from us in the future. I would invite you to comment via emailTwitter or LinkedIn.


Hewison Private Wealth are specialists in independent financial planning, investment advice and self managed super fund (SMSF). Reach out to a qualified independent adviser on 03 8548 4800, info@hewison.com.au or visit www.hewison.com.au

The information provided above is general information only.  It does not consider your needs, financial situation or objectives. You should seek specialised advice from a qualified financial adviser.

Hewison Private Wealth is a Melbourne based independent financial planning firm. Our financial advisers are highly qualified wealth managers and specialise in self managed super funds (SMSF), financial planning, retirement planning advice and investment portfolio management. If you would like to speak to a financial adviser on how you can secure your financial future please contact us 03 8548 4800, email info@hewison.com.au or visit www.hewison.com.auPlease note: The advice provided above is general information only and individuals should seek specialised advice from a qualified financial advisor. The views in this blog are those of the individual and may not represent the general opinion of the firm. Please contact Hewison Private Wealth for more information.