InvestmentNews takes advisers through the developments and innovations in technology that'll change the way you do business today and tomorrow.

The big tech innovation for 2014

Year-in-review articles abound and bring thoughts of breakthroughs to come

Dec 31, 2013 @ 12:01 am

By Dave O'Brien

Year-in-review articles abound at this time of the year and some cover technology breakthroughs for advisers — the best and most clever innovations to improve our productivity, lower costs and improve quality.

Productivity and quality. Are there any other reasons to invest in technology? To automate our processes, increase our capacity, and improve outcomes for our clients — these are clearly the objectives we seek. Many companies are hard at work building and supporting technology tools to do just these things. Connecting information and processes among different tools has also been a key focus, and addresses some of the more frequent items on advisers' wish lists.

Sometimes, a technology company identifies something that we had not thought of yet, and once we use it, we often don't know how we lived without it. As I write this post on my iPad, I am reminded that when they first came out, I didn't know why I'd want "a bigger iPhone." I use my iPad all the time now. Many readers probably have had similar experiences.

So as the year-in-review articles continue to flood my inbox, I'm looking to 2014, asking what problems will be solved that we didn't even know we had. Think about all the things advisory firms need to keep on top of for our clients, and then how many rely on manual processes, research and luck. So many processes are still performed on an arbitrary schedule — quarterly re-balancing or client reviews, for example. Are these the best times to see if things are going well, or if action is needed? There are tools to help us take the arbitrariness out of some of our processes, providing enhanced abilities or the ability to set alerts, but what's the next huge innovation?

With technology making us smarter, faster and more omniscient, we can spend more time developing strategies, learning and working with our clients. I'm looking forward to the next great innovations.

Dave O'Brien is a NAPFA-registered financial adviser and owner of O'Brien Financial Planning Inc. in Richmond, Va.


What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured Research

The 2015 InvestmentNews Adviser Technology Study

This in-depth study provides a blueprint for the industry, providing actionable information to advisers, along with the latest solutions to help them drive profitability, efficiency and growth for their firm.

Featured video


Why some retirement plan advisers think Fidelity is invading their turf

InvestmentNews editor Frederick P. Gabriel Jr. and reporter Greg Iacurci talk about this week's cover story that looks at whether Fidelity Investments is stepping on the toes of retirement plan advisers.

Latest news & opinion

Galvin's DOL fiduciary rule enforcement triggers industry plea for court decision

Plaintiffs warned the Fifth Circuit that Massachusetts' move against Scottrade signaled that the partially implemented regulation can raise costs for financial firms.

Social Security underpaid 82% of dually entitled widows and widowers

Agency failed to tell survivors that they could switch to a higher retirement benefit later.

Is Fidelity competing with retirement plan advisers?

As the Boston-based mutual fund giant expands the products and services it brings to the retirement market, some financial advisers say the firm is encroaching on their turf.

Gun violence hits investment strategies, sparks political debates with advisers

Screening out weapons companies has limited downside.

Whistleblower said to collect $30 million in JPMorgan case

The bank did not properly disclose that it was steering asset-management customers into investments that would be profitable for JPMorgan Chase.


Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print