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

Feb 20, 2015

Having integrated technology can improve RIAs' businesses

By Stuart DePina

Much has been written about how integrated technology can help advisers streamline their practices, position themselves for growth and strengthen client relationships and service. But what does technology integration actually entail?There are different levels of integration, and not all of them make a significant difference in a registered investment adviser firm's operations. For example, the most common and basic is “single sign-on,” which merely saves clicks by sharing login details among multiple software programs. Deeper and more beneficial integration involves essential applications regularly sharing data and working together to automate business processes and improve adviser-client communication. A broad spectrum of simple to complex client and portfolio management business processes can become fully or partially automated if RIA firms' major applications — such as client relationship management, portfolio... Read full post

Feb 4, 2015

Password managers are a powerful tool in the fight to fend off cyber crooks

By Blane Warrene

As advisers renew their focus on cybersecurity, one important area not to overlook are passwords. While choosing the right technology is an important component of reinforcing our security when online, so is correcting some of our bad habits.Passwords have been broken for some time, though they remain a necessary element of securing the systems we use. There are two primary reasons passwords, by themselves, are not optimal as a security gatekeeper.(Related read: Morgan Stanley breach offers universal cybersecurity lessons)One is the availability of very powerful, inexpensive computers. These enable bad actors to perform what are called brute force attacks on systems. In the most basic terms, this is where a hacker seeks to guess passwords and 'guess' a login. Once this is done, the hacker can freely navigate a system using one or more accounts.The second is our sin of convenience. For example, if you use one or two passwords for... Read full post

Jan 30, 2015

Why well-designed technology is more powerful than investor education

By Dan Egan

I used to live in London, where taxi drivers have to learn The Knowledge, a comprehensive test to gauge their familiarity with London's streets. It means that as a rider, you can guarantee that your black-cab driver knows where he or she is going. While The Knowledge was very valuable in a pre-GPS world, it provides far less of an assurance now. A GPS-enabled service knows the streets just as well as, if not better than, a human driver. But, in addition, a digital navigator knows where there is construction before the driver hits it, knows where a traffic jam is as soon as it happens, and can avoid slower roads as measured by other travelers in real time.EDUCATION? NOT SO PRODUCTIVEFor decades, investment managers have been trying to provide a form of The Knowledge to investors — white papers, books, webinars, lectures, articles, charts and so on. But despite how much information has been put out there for the public to consume,... Read full post

Oct 31, 2014

4 ways automation technology is changing the way RIAs invest

By Jon Stein

Investors are consuming information everywhere—through mobile devices, laptops, or on TV—and the news has no shortage of urgent headlines and sound bites to draw their attention to money and the markets. I probably don't have to tell you that. At the same time, information technology is helping investors do one thing or another better than ever. Things like index funds, low-cost trading, and exchange-traded funds have been great raw materials for many in the investing community. The speed of information is hitting investors harder and faster than ever before, and it's also leading to the development of better and better investment vehicles—but is any of that helping them invest better? Not really.The real question today is, how can people invest wisely and do it in a way that's efficient, keeps their emotions at bay, doesn't cost much, and gives them confidence that they have spread their risk around evenly—so... Read full post

Oct 20, 2014

Where advisers can find help with social media

By Sheryl Rowling

If you're an average RIA firm owner, you're in your mid-50s. That means you didn't grow up with computers, iPhones, the Internet, Facebook and LinkedIn. Younger clients expect their advisers to be tech savvy and communicate with them individually, and “generally” through social media. Even clients who are your age or older have embraced these new tools — initially motivated by a desire to connect with their grandkids. So, how can we advisers take advantage of the power of social media? It's easy: Enlist help.Face it: Your younger employees know this stuff like they know how to breathe. To get started on social media, give one or two of your newer staff members the opportunity to develop a strategy. It's best to give them an idea of what you want; they will know the questions to ask. For me, a young staff member volunteered to take on this project. I told him that I'd like to take advantage of LinkedIn and have more of ... Read full post

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

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