TechTalk

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Understanding someone's technology explains more about their business than AUM ever could.

Sep 12, 2013 @ 9:05 am

By Alex Murguia

Whenever I meet a new adviser, I get asked where I'm from, how's the weather back home, and then “so… how much do you manage?”

Advisers love to sneak that question in whenever they meet a new colleague.

The slick advisers will volunteer their own information so you can reciprocate. I hate answering or talking about AUM and have stopped doing so because it is nothing more than a quick undressing. And if you answer back in “assets under advisement” terms or that you have a “lifestyle practice,” then you are just kidding yourself.

What does this have to do with a technology blog? Everything.

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Knowing someone's technology stack tells me so much more about their business than his or her assets under management. It tells me their:

*Trajectory

*Aspirations

*Management Thought Process

*Client Service Approach

*Rationality Check

Just like those Mad Libs book I used to get in Sts. Peter and Paul Grade School, it is just a matter of filling in the blanks and the story becomes very insightful.

*An adviser who uses (Blank) is very different than one who uses (Blank).

*An adviser who uses Junxure is very different than one who uses Redtail.

*An adviser who uses Orion is very different than one who uses PortfolioCenter.

*An adviser who uses NaviPlan Extended is very different from the one who uses his or her own customized excel sheets.

When it comes to building the right tech stack, one solution isn't necessarily better than the other, but advisers need to be very cognizant of how all of these solutions complement each other to help build the right firm.

The degree to which an adviser accomplishes a cohesive tech stack is more telling than AUM about how “serious” the firm is. I have met too many advisers with less in AUM than our firm but maintain a tech stack that translates better to their business objectives and subsequent bottom line than ours.

And yes, I am very jealous because as the saying goes, “it is not what you bring in but rather what you keep.”

What do you think? What does your technology say about you and your firm? What lessons have you learned as you have added technology? Join the conversation.

Alex Murguía, Ph.D. is a managing principal at McLean Asset Management & CEO of inStream Solutions.

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