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

Oct 13, 2014

Protecting client information is more than just a computer issue

By Sheryl Rowling

With Internet scams, phishing, identity theft and just plain burglary, we investment advisers have an enormous responsibility to keep our clients' personal information safe. Try as I might, it seems that every few months, I hear of some new security measure we should implement. With increasing threats and complexity, we can't afford not to take every precaution — including those that seem obvious.In my firm, we focus on both physical and electronic security. From a physical standpoint, we pay attention to the details:• Our building is locked outside of office hours. • Our office is locked outside of office hours. • We have a monitored alarm system that is set when the last person leaves the office. • A buzzer goes off whenever the door is opened. • Employees lock away any client files prior to leaving the office. Electronic security is handled in various ways:• Employees log off their computers prior ... Read full post

Oct 10, 2014

Technology's role in keeping RIAs ahead of the disruption curve

By Jud Bergman

Nearly 20 years ago, Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen coined the phrase “disruptive innovation” to describe the trend of cheaper, often lower-quality products chiseling away at the market share of established, successful firms — and in the process drastically altering entire industries. These innovators unleashed new values and possibilities on unsuspecting markets. Seemingly overnight, a previously unheard of demand became consumers' bottom line. Once they had what they didn't realize they wanted, clients couldn't live without it.Financial advisers are no stranger to this phenomenon. The pioneers who broke from the wirehouses set in motion a wave of change that ultimately led to advisers, clients and considerable assets moving to the independent space. The disruption wasn't just confined to the financial industry, but sparked a national conversation about the merits of fee-based financial... Read full post

Sep 23, 2014

3 major changes taking place in wealth management technology

By Nathan Berk

It's an exciting time to be a leader of a technology company in the financial services space, specifically in the wealth management realm. As the chief executive of Interactive Advisory Software, I have witnessed in recent months some key players get acquired. Envestnet first purchased Tamarac for $54 million and then Placemark for $66 million. Morningstar Inc.acquired By All Accounts for $28 million, and FolioDynamix was just acquired for $199 million. Having acquired an existing software company, Interactive Advisory Software in 2012, I have a unique perspective. These acquisitions should make leaders of a wealth management firm pause and reflect on what is occurring in the wealth management technology space. Doing so will ensure that your firm's technology vision is focused in the right direction. What I see are three major trends that the wealth management technology industry is rapidly moving toward:1. Providing an integrated... Read full post

Sep 22, 2014

Ways to get uninterrupted time through technology

By Sheryl Rowling

We all have millions of things to do. Maybe it's not really millions, but it's certainly a lot. In and among all that, we have phone calls and e-mails. Or do we have it reversed? Do we try to do our work in between phone calls and e-mails?Besides not overscheduling meetings, there are ways to control your technology to help give you the uninterrupted time to actually finish projects.To make this work, you must accept one basic rule: You don't have to answer every phone call and e-mail immediately. This might seem like an obvious concept. Yet, many of us fall into the trap of jumping on each communication as if waiting an hour could result in the loss of the client. To accept the rule, you must truly believe that no client will think less of you if you return their call later in the day rather than answering on the first ring. (More: Top mobile apps used by advisers)The goal is to group your phone calls and e-mails into two or three... Read full post

Sep 18, 2014

Technology's role in deepening adviser-client relationships

By Stuart DePina

Advisers face complex challenges as they seek to build relationships with clients who increasingly rely on web-based technology in many areas of their lives. Although long-lasting relationships always depend on providing clients with effective investment services, this goal can be facilitated, or hindered, by the technology advisers use. This is true when working with established, perhaps older, clients, but it is especially salient for new investors who have grown up accustomed to having access to instant, direct, and comprehensive online services. There are now technology offerings that enable advisers to access comprehensive, back-office capabilities and effective end-to-end solutions. These suites of interconnected portfolio accounting services not only can deliver significant gains in client satisfaction, but they can also improve efficiency, compliance, and overall profitability for the adviser. In addition, the new products... Read full post

Sep 17, 2014

Debunking 3 big myths about robo-advisers

By Megan Graf

“Robo-adviser.” The phrase prompts mixed reactions, and its emotional overtones vary wildly in the minds of readers. A traditional adviser, spitting the word out with derision, can make “robo” sound like the “near” in “near beer.” On the other hand, a breathless tech reporter can make it sound full of mysterious power and impending disruption. Even among the robo-advisers themselves, its interpretations are mixed. Wealthfront, for example, has opted for the more precise and neutral phrase, “automated investment service.” Betterment calls itself an online financial adviser. Both terms are fair, but both are also a mouthful. If Strunk & White teach us anything, it's to never use three words where one will do. More words don't always lead to more clarity. At FutureAdvisor, we think “robo-adviser” works just fine, but the debates raging around the sector in the last... Read full post

Sep 2, 2014

How technology can transform an RIA

By Brian H. Vendig

The investment advisory business is constantly evolving. Among the many moving parts of this dynamic industry, technology continues to alter the way advisory firms interact with and manage their client relationships. Accordingly, the services and the tools necessary for firms to conduct and grow their businesses must change as well. Firms must adapt to the market and understand that the technology revolution is here to stay, rapidly surpassing our wildest dreams of how technology could benefit us. What firms must understand is that they need not only a technology provider, but a relationship with that provider that is based on mutual benefits from the partnership.My firm, MJP Associates, is an independent registered investment advisory firm that wanted to provide more efficient and effective investment solutions for our clients, while enhancing our day-to-day client service and operational objectives. In order to accomplish this, we... Read full post

Aug 29, 2014

How advisers can get the most out of video

By Kristen Luke

In the past few years, online video has become an entrenched part of the marketing landscape. In January, 85% of U.S. Internet users watched online video, according to ComScore, and companies large and small are intent on capturing the attention of those viewers.But in an environment dominated by the viral video and the clever ad campaign, can financial advisers stand out? Yes, but you need to be smart about how you integrate video into your marketing efforts. For advisers just starting out with video, here are five ideas to consider: 1. Introduce yourself and your company: These days, having a video on your website is de rigueur. Hire a professional videographer to produce a 30-second or one-minute video that describes what your firm does, how you do it and who you do it for. If you're comfortable on camera and don't mind talking about yourself, you may also want to do a more personal “bio” video where you tell a story... Read full post

Aug 22, 2014

Will LPL's back-office technology set a new bar for adviser productivity?

By Bill Winterberg

LPL Financial unveils next generation ClientWorks platform for advisers at focus14 annual conference from Marketwatch. LPL Financial, the nation's largest independent broker-dealer, an RIA custodian, and a wholly owned subsidiary of LPL Financial Holdings Inc., today unveiled ClientWorksSM, a next-generation technology solution for advisers and institutions that will seamlessly integrate and expand its offerings. LPL Financial announces expansion of CRM offering for advisers at focus14 annual conference through new relationship with Redtail Technology from PRNewswire. LPL Financial, the nation's largest independent broker-dealer, an RIA custodian, and a wholly owned subsidiary of LPL Financial Holdings Inc., today announced a new relationship with Redtail Technology, Inc.Laser App software sees continued growth with new custodian and broker-dealer clients from Marketwired. From its 2014 Financial Services Conference, Laser App Software ... Read full post

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