Software vendors are gearing up to arm advisers with real-time tools and better web portals as client expectations continue to rise with the advent of more efficient technology.
Companies are unveiling ways advisers can meet those standards at the Technology Tools for Today conference Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. More client portals for direct access to financial information and the ability for clients to fill in their own personal information are among popular topics on the agenda.
eMoney Advisor will present on a new client experience going live in March, in which clients can organize their financial lives by linking accounts with held-away assets and personalizing investment goals with pictures, such as using a photo of the family for a vacation goal or a picture of a house to save one.
They'll also be able to onboard themselves through adviser websites, which the company announced during T3 Enterprise in November.
"Now more than ever, the client experience matters," said Drew DiMarino, executive vice president and head of sales at eMoney. "Because of technology as a whole — like Uber, Netflix, Airbnb — they offer an unimaginable client experience we wouldn't have thought of years ago."
Experts attribute rising client expectations to rapid technology developments outside of the industry, like the ease of buying groceries with the tap of a smartphone, as well as robo-advisers' swiftness in client account openings.
"It is being driven by advances in technology in every facet of our lives," said Greg Friedman, chief executive of CRM provider Junxure, in an email. "Robos do contribute to this in a big way through the media hype as well as the success they are enjoying — this evolution of technology will further put pressure on growth and profitability."
Junxure is integrating with third-party vendors' client portals, and web-based Junxure Cloud will have ClientView, which provides clients a view of their portfolio and a document vault, Mr. Friedman said.
Eric Clarke, chief executive of Orion Advisor Services, said integration, which was a major theme at T3 last year, plays a key role in user experience. It has been the case for Orion's open architecture client portal, which integrates with third-party vendors, he said, adding that Orion will continue to work on seamless integrations this year.
Mike McDaniel, chief investment officer of Riskalyze, a risk management technology platform, said client expectations have changed through the years.
"Expectations were built on faulty semantics," he said. "I think expectations in the new era are being far more quantitative."
MoneyGuidePro, a client-centric financial planning software provider powered by PieTech, has been championing the client-adviser relationship as well by giving clients a more prominent role in the financial planning process. The company is expecting to launch a fourth generation platform this year, in which clients can input their own information and goals.
"The user experience and client interaction is absolutely critical because if we can't get them engaged in the process then we can't help more people get quality financial plans," said Kevin Knull, president of MoneyGuidePro.