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

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

Aug 13, 2014

How will LPL's new tech platform measure up against the competition?

By Sheryl Rowling

LPL has announced its new ClientWorks technology platform offering with great fanfare.According to LPL Financial president Robert Moore, "Advisers will be able to run their practices more efficiently than before, through improved client management, digital account opening, streamlined trading, enhanced cash management and collaboration capabilities." LPL is hoping to create a workflow system that will allow an adviser to run their back-office from anywhere. While I applaud all forms of technology advances for financial advisers, I am not sure if this not-yet-released offering is truly new or just new to LPL. Is LPL playing catch-up with other platforms that are already out there?For example, Shareholders Service Group believes in open integration of its technology to allow advisers the freedom to choose best-of-breed. "Through our partnerships with top providers, we can help our advisers find the right fit with either integrated or... Read full post

Aug 11, 2014

What role should advisers play in protecting clients from Internet fraud?

By Sheryl Rowling

As financial advisers, what role can and should we play in helping our clients avoid Internet fraud? Certainly we must safeguard our internal structures so that private client information is not exposed to unintended parties, meaning we must physically protect client files as well as encrypt or utilize secure portals when emailing sensitive information. When it comes to clients' own internet use, is it appropriate for advisers to get involved?In my humble opinion, the answer is yes and no. Yes, it is our responsibility to inform our clients to the extent it relates to their financial well-being. No, it is not our responsibility — or within our ability — to advise on technical aspects or hold ourselves out as cybersecurity experts. Our clients look to us for guidance in achieving their financial goals, and for assistance in keeping them on track. In the area of Internet security, I believe we must educate clients in three... Read full post

Aug 8, 2014

3 questions advisers should ask themselves before buying new technology

By Ed O'Brien

You hear it everywhere. Technology is evolving rapidly and to stay ahead you must jump in or your business will stumble. It's true that technology available for advisers today can make an incredible difference in their businesses — from creating a paperless office using straight-through processing and e-signatures, to sitting with a client in their living room while you scroll through their portfolio together on your iPad. But as much as technology creates opportunities to streamline business processes and enhance the client experience, doing this successfully is easier said than done. Advisers feel the push and pull. While eight in 10 advisers reported in Fidelity's 2013 Insights on Advice Study that they wanted to increase their technology usage, 95% are still challenged by integrating and utilizing it. The last thing you want is to make a large investment in new technology only to find out that no one is using it. (Related... Read full post

Jul 28, 2014

How technology is transforming financial advice: Schwab's Hathi

By Neesha Hathi

The independent registered investment adviser industry is experiencing a major shift that is being driven by advisers' recognition and adoption of new technologies.Many forces are driving the changes under way: The mobile lifestyle of the increasingly affluent “Generation Now” (high net worth 30-45 year olds), evolving models and new competition for the delivery of financial advice, and the wave of retiring boomer-generation advisers transitioning their firms to the next generation. This combination of factors is compelling independent advisers to adopt and integrate technology across all facets of their firms. Advisers are moving beyond seeing technology as a back office support function and are beginning to take advantage of the power of technology in enhancing the client experience and ultimately supporting smart, sustainable business models with legacy value.According to the 2014 RIA Benchmarking Study from Charles... Read full post

Jul 25, 2014

6 lessons traditional advisers can learn from robos

By Megan Graf

Many questions have been raised by traditional financial advisers about their robo-peers. Any time a digital investment adviser hits the headlines, somewhere on social media you can be sure someone is wondering aloud about robo-advisors' business models, investment strategies, and ability to personalize their services.Instead of questioning whether robo-advisers serve clients' needs and can even survive, traditional advisers might ask themselves: what can I learn from this new brand of financial service? In a few months at FutureAdvisor, I've absorbed an enormous amount, which I've tried to condense to a few points.1) The great unbundling is here. It happened to newspapers years ago, when each of their sections became a blog, classifieds went to Craigslist and advertising went to the search engines. It's happening to banks as we speak. Institutions that once purveyed a variety of goods and services are seeing each vertical tackled one... Read full post

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