The financial advice business has benefited tremendously from major advances in technology over the past 10 years. Most advisers now have 24/7 access to important client information and can even conduct transactions on behalf of clients from laptop computers, iPads and, soon, their smartphones.
It's also becoming increasingly common for advisers to stay in touch with clients through such social media venues as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Even so, it's great to read in the second installment of our Crossroads series, which begins on Page 14, that many advisers have not forgotten the strength and power of the original social media: handshakes, telephone calls and face-to-face meetings.
By and large, technology is a positive and should be embraced wholeheartedly. But it is a tool — not a tether to bind clients to you. Used correctly, it can enhance the adviser-client relationship. Used incorrectly ... well, think of how annoying it is to sit down to a meal with someone who can't resist continually looking at his or her phone. (Check, please!)
Fortunately, most advisers are aware of this and are trying to find a balance between high tech and high touch.
For Damian Gallina, an adviser at Buttonwood Financial Advisors, the key is to interact with clients where they are on the technology spectrum.
“There's nothing high tech about the interaction I have with clients,” he said. “If a client calls and leaves a message, I call back and have a conversation. I don't have to decide how to communicate with clients; I respond with the communication they use.”
While we are on the subject of technology, today is the last day to take the InvestmentNews 2014 Tech Trends survey of adviser applications, products and software.
The survey, the results of which will be published in the July 28 issue, delves into advisers' use of customer relationship management systems, financial planning platforms and portfolio re-balancing tools. We also use the survey results to expand our popular product directory, which can be found on InvestmentNews.com.
To take the survey, go to InvestmentNews.com/techsurvey2014.