According to Wayne Wilson Rubik Financial head of COIN, Superannuation fund members could soon be receiving basic financial advice from an electronic avatar on a fund’s website and saving a substantial amount of money in the process.
The statement from Wilson may not be as far fetched as it sounds as he has already delivered presentations using an avatar that a programmer created for him in a few hours and according to the Rubik head “it can speak 150 languages if you’ve got the right piece of software plugged into it”.
He has also been quick to point out that an avatar would never be used to deliver full, comprehensive advice,“but a lot of scaled and scoped advice is quite simple.” Wilson has emphasised the potential of its fiscal efficiency sating that “it’s hell of a lot cheaper than having a person on the end of a telephone – and that’s where technology is going to go.”
Wilson sites the rules around the treatment of employment termination payments (ETPs) within superannuation as an example of an area where an avatar could be cost efficient and beneficial. “The number of pieces of information an adviser would need to have at their fingertips to advise a client on putting two superannuation ETPs together would be a couple of 100, tops. It might take several months to write an algorithm that copes the multiple decision points involved in such an example, and you might end up with 1,000 possible outcomes. Stick it on your website, and the avatar can provide advice ad nauseam for as many people as can get on the website at once.”
The announcemnt of the avatar is just a continuation of Rubik’s ongoing work utilsing technology to help minmise cost and maximise effficency and the feedback that Rubik had received indicates that “people are getting more and more comfortable with engaging with avatars, and we’ve had a business approach us about creating an avatar to do a form of simple advice on their portal,” he said. Wilson has highlighted the ease with which a large financial institution could write such a program and says that it would it would bring the cost of simple advice down dramatically.