With nearly a decade in the financial services industry, Kyle has become one of the top consultants in the industry. His passion is helping advisors grow by leveraging their strengths and helping them improve on any areas of weakness.
Technology disruptors like Netflix, Pandora and Uber have been changing consumer behavior and amping up consumer expectations for more than a decade. The financial services industry is no exception. Your clients now not only expect digital tools as part of their relationship with you, but are starting to require it.
According to a Broadridge report which came out in April, technology has shifted social behaviors and business relationships, particularly between investors and financial advisors. Investors want more individualized experiences with financial advisors.1 “With Betterment and other firms advertising in mainstream media, investors are exposed to modern, understandable and easy-to-use tools that display performance.” 2
You must adapt to client preferences in order to stay competitive.
How Technology Can Help You
For advisors, one of the more exciting aspects of technology is its ability to remove some of the behind-the scenes work to prepare for client conversations as well as handling mundane and routine tasks that take up a lot of your time. Instead, advisors and staff can put that time toward client relationships and maintaining a superior client experience. 3
As an example, a recent article on Forrester pointed out that voice control systems like Alexa allow advisors to access relevant information about clients while commuting to a meeting with them. Overall business data can also be immediately accessed. “Envestnet’s Envision IQ tool lets advisors ask questions such as “Who are my top clients?” and “Did any clients add cash last week?” receiving an answer from a digital assistant in seconds.” 4
Tech Doesn’t Replace Humans
Creating a great client relationship and experience is still the province of humans, not technology. When clients need to make complicated decisions, like whether or not they should buy a home, move out of the country, or find the right way to fund their kids’ college, they need personal advice.
“No matter how far the technology advances, it will not completely rule out humans; advisor-led advice will continue to play a critical, important, and necessary role in financial services.”3 “Advisors say that while comprehensive planning has always included aspects such as estate planning, cash flow and retirement planning, there’s more time now to dig deeper into those areas. And, fintech makes it easier to do to so.” 5
Most Firms Plan to Invest In Fintech
According to recent research by Schwab Advisor Services, among independent advisory firms, 58% plan to invest in new technology this year, with the top reason being the ability to serve more clients. Advisors say that software programs help encourage clients to be more active participants in their planning and that software reduces the amount of time that advisors spend number-crunching so they can focus on strengthening client relationships.5
The Most Important Advisory Software
T3 Consulting Services conducts an annual survey to help advisors understand and adapt to technology trends in the wealth management industry. In this year’s survey of more than 5,500 advisors, respondents identified these software tools as most valuable to their practices: 5
- Customer relationship management (CRM) applications ranked first, at 52.3%.
- Financial-planning software came in second at 22.9%.
- Portfolio management was a distant third at around 12%.
- CRM Software
“For financial advisors, the key piece of fintech generally is the client relationship management, or CRM, system which serves as the hub of an advisor’s daily work flow. ’It’s notes, my calendar, list of things to do — everything starts there,’ said LPL’s David Zavarelli, who uses a CRM system from Redtail Technologies.” 5
A CRM system can be used for current clients—reminding the advisor about client timeframes like their birthdays, annual review deadlines, or children’s ages / status changes to adulthood. But CRM software can also be an invaluable tool in managing prospective clients, allowing the advisor to keep track of where each person came from through segmented lists, what their status is, and to help move prospects seamlessly through the process of becoming a client using automated customer journeys.
So which CRM system is best?
“The advisor CRM marketplace in the US is incredibly competitive, with the latest T3 advisor technology survey showing Salesforce Financial Services Cloud leading amongst the large enterprises, Redtail dominating independent broker-dealers, and Junxure with a strong showing with independent RIAs.” 6
- Financial Planning Software
According to T3’s recent survey, 68.3% of fee-only advisors, 60.6% of dually-registered advisors and 44% of brokerage and wirehouse advisors are using financial planning technology, which is often complex and detailed in scope. 7
Financial advisors are increasingly turning to financial-planning software to deliver on the promise of “holistic financial planning” for their clients.
“The software is powerful. The most comprehensive products of market leaders MoneyGuidePro and eMoney, which account for more than 50% of the market, cover virtually every aspect of a person’s financial life. They present value pension payouts and other future income streams. They assess different Social Security filing strategies, project future health-care expenditures, determine debt-management options, optimize tax planning and retirement distribution scenarios. And they do it incorporating assumptions about a person’s risk tolerance and the potential returns from an investment portfolio.” 7
“Financial-planning software is an easy way for advisors to develop deeper relationships with their clients,” says Danielle Fava, director of product strategy at TD Ameritrade Institutional, which serves as custodian for more than 7,000 advisors. “It enables all kinds of advisors to do good planning.” 7
- Portfolio Management Software
Portfolio management software is sometimes geared strictly for the investment manager, which may be the advisor himself/herself. Other times various investment managers are chosen and overseen by advisors, and the portfolio management software allows access by the advisor and their client at different view / interaction levels.
Some systems are geared directly to the consumer without much human help, sometimes called “robo-advice.” Some advisors are offering access to portfolio management software (sometimes in combination with financial planning software) at various levels of oversight for service-scaled monthly subscription fees.
“In the U.S., assets under management among portfolio management platforms — which include standalone firms like Betterment and Wealthfront, along with options from legacy firms like Vanguard and Charles Schwab — is somewhere north of $200 billion, based on various published calculations.” 5
How Quantum Helps
Quantum is not a software company, we are consultants and partners who can help you on many levels, including what types of technology you might want to invest in based on your firm’s overall goals for annual growth.
We use fintech ourselves, in our case, to help the advisor find fixed alternatives for the risk-averse client.
I think we can all agree that as an advisor, the ideal scenario is to shift the efficient frontier in a client’s portfolio, helping reduce risk (beta) and increase return (alpha). New insurance products, like the latest fixed indexed annuities, can offer your clients the opportunity for growth as well as protection from market risk, often outperforming bonds, according to some industry experts.8
My advice to advisors is to invest in the technology that can help you be more efficient, and “show” rather than tell your client how your plan is designed to work for them. With advisor trust near an all-time low, now more than ever you need to show your clients exactly what you can do with their portfolio, and more importantly, with the help of software, show exactly how your plan can impact their results.
Let’s talk. You can reach me at 800.440.1088.
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