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

Jun 3, 2014

How technology affects your firm's value

By Gregory H. Friedman

How much is your firm worth? For advisory firms considering a merger or acquisition, the answer to that question plays a large role in how advisers plan for the future of their businesses. One element that's often overlooked during M&A negotiations is how the technology you use in your firm affects its overall value. The systems and workflows that you've chosen to implement play a large role in bringing firms together and the more organized, complete and automated your business is, the more likely you are to have firmwide adoption. The higher the tech adoption rates in a firm, the more efficient the business. (Related: 7 ways top-performers sustain their growth)When I merged my firm in 2009, we meshed a high-touch, boutique practice with a larger firm focused on academic investment expertise — and grew from seven to 25 employees overnight. Both sides brought significant positive attributes to the table. The firm I merged with... Read full post

Jun 3, 2014

The power of incorporating social media into event planning

By Blane Warrene

If you're using social media in your business, don't overlook the power of incorporating it into event planning and management.Using a structured social backchannel allows for real-time participation and engagement, not to mention encouraging activity by attendees. More compelling is the fact that many who are not attending but remain interested now have a path to staying in touch with the event, serving as de facto brand ambassadors as they extend the backchannel through their own networks.Your backchannel should be an extension of your overall social media strategy. Just as you have coordinated the team, topics and tools for managing social media, this same discussion should occur for each event, live or virtual, where you seek to foster an active social conversation.... Read full post

May 28, 2014

Working remotely experiment over: Back home in San Diego

By Sheryl Rowling

I arrived home from France the other night. It was a long day — literally — since I chased the sun all the way! Although I am very jet lagged, I’ve had time to evaluate the experiment. Was it really possible to work remotely for a month?(See part one of Sheryl’s story: Can an adviser work remotely for a month?)Ignoring the fact that it wasn’t quite a month (I cut my trip a little short due to my broken foot), I would say “yes.” After spending just three hours in the office Tuesday, my emails are caught up (since I only had a day’s worth to answer) and I have handled all of the mail and paperwork stacked up on my desk. For the most part, I had already seen and taken action on any client-related items thanks to my office manager’s scanning and emailing. The rest was primarily professional reading and administrative items. While away, I was able to return phone calls daily, so there... Read full post

May 21, 2014

9 best practices to implementing new technology

By Stuart DePina

The process of shopping for new technology can be daunting for advisers, not only because there is so much to learn about the software itself, but also because there is a lot to learn about the companies providing this technology, as well. As any adviser who has researched software vendors knows, there simply are a lot of choices out there. What follows is a short primer to help advisers through the process of adopting new technology, focusing on the key issues that should be addressed with prospective vendors.1. Look at your portfolio accounting system firstYour portfolio accounting system generates and maintains the most critical data for your firm, including those used to monitor your client portfolios, make trade decisions, generate reports, billing and more. Many other portfolio and client management software applications are reliant on your portfolio accounting data, so it's essential that your portfolio accounting system will... Read full post

May 19, 2014

Get more out of your press release (yes, press release) with video

By Kristen Luke

Press releases may seem boring and old-fashioned — and really should have no place being discussed in a technology blog. But press releases play an important role in today's digital marketing strategy. In years past, press releases could be sent to local media contacts and perhaps your story would be picked up in a newspaper, magazine or TV news program. Today, press releases are much more multifunctional; they can be great content for your website and social media accounts and can help people find you on the web. If you are using press releases as part of your marketing strategy, you may be missing out on their full impact if you aren't adding in multimedia. Adding a video component to a press release not only makes your news more interesting, it can also increase the reach of your news.(See also: Video isn't just for profiles anymore)WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER USING A VIDEO NEWS RELEASEA video news release allows you to tell your ... Read full post

May 12, 2014

Three tech tricks for functioning smoothly overseas

By Sheryl Rowling

We have completed our first full work week in Paris. Aside from a few technology glitches, the distance issue seems to be going okay. The main issue, it seems, is discipline on my part!(Here's where the story starts: Can an adviser work remotely for a month?)The technology problems have been relatively minor. The challenges faced have been:• Although I could remote in to get my e-mails, when I tried to remote directly into my office computer, it didn't work. Our IT guy had just swapped out my computer for a newer, faster one, so I thought there might be some configuration needed. After contacting him, we discovered the source of the problem — somehow my work computer had been turned off. Another example of the first rule of technology: Make sure it's plugged in.• My VoIP phone was set up on all my devices — laptop, iPad and iPhone. For some reason, when it rang, I could never answer from the device I was on. It... Read full post

May 5, 2014

Can an adviser work remotely for a month?

By Sheryl Rowling

I'm not as adventurous as Scott Leonard, author of “The Liberated CEO”, who sailed around the world with his family for two and a half years while running his RIA firm. However, I love traveling and want to be able to work while enjoying my life. So, the big experiment happens in May.I have rented an apartment in Paris for one month with my longtime friend/employee. We are planning to work remotely while enjoying all that Paris has to offer. The carrots: Paris, wine, crepes, museums, cafes, architecture, and, did I mention Paris?The pros:• There is high-speed Internet (wired and wireless) in the apartment.• We can remote into our computers.• Our work phone is VoIP, so phone communication will be “as usual.”• With the time zone difference, work will start at 4 pm – that's great for a night owl like me!• We have access to cool tools – cloud programs (TRX, MoneyGuidePro, etc.... Read full post

May 2, 2014

A new planning tool for advisers challenges clients to win a game

By Joyce Hanson

Ahead of the big financial and banking technology conference Finovate Spring 2014 April 29-30 in San Jose, Calif., I met up with FlexScore chief executive Jason Gordo in New York for a demo of his new online investment adviser tool.Mr. Gordo told me he was bringing FlexScore to Finovate because the online tool uses the popular tech trend of gamification to engage consumers in the process of goals-based wealth planning.Gamification helps advisers bring game dynamics into their practices to encourage desired client behavior. So it's no surprise that the first advisory firm to sign on for FlexScore Pro, an adviser version of the product announced at the conference, is United Capital Financial Advisers.United Capital has already used its Money Mind Analyzer question-and-answer game to help couples determine whether each partner's financial life is driven by fear, happiness or a desire for commitment. Now the company plans to use FlexScore... Read full post

Apr 29, 2014

Running WordPress securely

By Blane Warrene

Time was when WordPress was a four-letter word in business. No longer. Not only has the platform become scaled scaled so that it powers 22% of all websites, it also has a maturing ecosystem of developers and tools convenient to business.As with any technology you put to use in a business, even if it's outsourced, you should have a clear plan that includes handling security, data backup and recovery. Think about launching your website, for example. Choosing WordPress as your platform for that is no different than selecting a CRM although in this case, you have some options to consider.YOUR SERVER OR THEIRSThe first step in deploying a WordPress site is answering this question: Should you use or install WordPress on your own server? Both allow you to use the domain(s) you have purchased, so it boils down to feature and function.The clearest differentiator between those two choices is deciding how much flexibility you will... Read full post

Apr 22, 2014

Is there a popup opt-in revolution under way?

By Blane Warrene

For many of us who joined the online world in the 1990s during the birth of the publicly available World Wide Web, popup windows went from fascination to quickly become an annoyance and ultimately perhaps a plague in some users' eyes. Software emerged to allow us to block or filter popups, and still today now all major web browsers offer popup controls. Through many years, outside of business applications, we've grown accustomed to considering popup windows to be a sort of spam of the web.In more recent years, both the technology of building web site and web applications turned the popup window into more gourmet alternatives like modal windows (those windows that open like a popup over a web page, focusing on this new window with the background “greyed out”) and pop-under windows, meant to add value to a site or web app versus being a scourge.This topic has been covered in the mainstream off and on, and recently I looked at ... Read full post

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