Cetera announced on Wednesday that it is launching facial recognition software as part of its client discovery process. The new tool, Decipher, will use facial recognition and cloud-based artificial intelligence technology to measure clients’ responses to hypothetical scenarios presented in a video.
The tool can be used on any device with a built-in camera. Clients and prospects will watch a personalized video, and the tool will use facial recognition technology to measure their emotional response to the scenarios presented. The client or prospect and the advisor will each get a report detailing the needs and priorities identified by the tool.
Cetera is working toward providing an “advice-centric experience” for advisors and clients, according to Robert Moore, chief executive officer of Cetera Financial Group.
“When we say ‘advice-centric experience,’ it means an understanding of the level of transparency, alignment and depth that will be expected in the future amongst clients, advisors and the relevant firms that are affiliated with those relationships,” he told ThinkAdvisor on Tuesday.
The tool is designed to be used at key discovery points throughout a relationship with a client, Moore said.
“This is designed to draw out or gain access to those emotional responses that often go overlooked or aren’t as readily discernible, but it ultimately still has to come back to a human relationship and a dialogue with clients that helps solidify the approach around the financial plan,” he added.
Moore believes improving clients’ experience with advisors this way is important to the long-term sustainability of the industry.
“That is the future of this industry. That is a necessary step forward in redefining advice and in the delivery of relationships that are engaging and relevant to the end client.”
Moore stressed the importance of developing relationships that “aren’t driven by the lowest common denominator of regulatory requirements.”
Advisors need to build relationships with clients that “transcend that and take the whole conversation to a higher and better level” while keeping the clients’ best interests at the core of their service.
“This to me is a much more affirmative way of demonstrating that commitment than just promulgating more policies and questionnaires,” he added.
Advisors try to make clients and prospects as comfortable as possible during meetings, Moore noted, but “fundamentally they’re going through a questionnaire process and there is almost an interview feel. We all know that has an impact on people’s responses.”
A lot of valuable communication is nonverbal, too, so advisors “are trying to reconcile the things they’re hearing from a client with what their facial expressions are saying. This allows that to be done in a much more thoughtful and considerate way.”
“We’re passionate in our belief that the future of this industry is based on an advice-centric approach oriented around the goal of understanding: Understanding clients, their needs and hopes, and how to effectively guide them along the road toward the successful achievement of their objectives,” Adam Antoniades, President of Cetera Financial Group, said in a statement.
The Decipher tool is part of the Advice Architect Ecosystem offering Cetera rolled out in May. It will be in testing this summer and is expected to be rolled on in the second half of this year.
Last month, Cetera released My Advice Architect, which it developed with Envestnet to bring Cetera’s three investment programs together on one platform. That tool is being rolled out first to Cetera Financial Institutions, which serves banks and credit unions with wealth management programs.
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