InvestmentNews takes advisers through the developments and innovations in technology that’ll change the way you do business today—and tomorrow.
Dec 10, 2013
Thanksgiving has passed and I spent the day feeling grateful for my family, friends and good health. As I was in my turkey coma, I thought about what else I was thankful for. Surprisingly (or not), technology came to mind.Although I say that technology can be my best friend and my worst enemy, I have to admit that it has truly enabled a better life and a more successful career.With that in mind, here are the top three technology tools that have earned my gratitude:1. My iPhone — Ensuring that I am always connected is both good and bad (more good than bad, as long as I unplug when appropriate). However, allowing me to remain connected allows me to take more frequent vacations and time off. I am able to answer e-mails, check phone messages, coordinate social calendars with my husband, keep up on social media, research on the fly, take pictures, purchase tickets, check on flights, listen to music, access a handy flashlight and play... Read full post
Dec 9, 2013
Over lunch at recent conference, Eric Clarke, president of Orion Advisor Services, and I were discussing the major shortfalls of the federal government's HealthCare.gov rollout. Putting our political proclivities aside, it is fair to say that the release made Windows NT seem like pure magic.Log-in problems, freezes and incorrect data communicated to insurance companies were among the hundreds of problems plaguing the site, some of which still stand to be corrected. And you thought getting aggregate investment account data was difficult! Eric thought it would be great to convey to advisers what can be learned from this “steaming heap of a disappointment” to make sure it doesn't happen in our own firms. As your firm implements new technology, Eric detailed five steps that can set you up for success.1. LIKE THE SCOUTS SAY, "BE PREPARED"One of the largest variables in the breakdown was the lack of communication. When you... Read full post
Dec 6, 2013
A recent FPA survey of advisers asked a number of technology questions, but the one that may have been the most stunning was, "What is the biggest challenge when it comes to acquiring new technology for your practice?" According to the survey, 78.1% of respondents said, "knowing which technology to buy," and only 21.9% said, "cost."Generally, technology is pretty inexpensive, and really is a bargain when you think about the productivity payoff it can provide. A new iMac or MacBook Air has exponentially more power and speed than a PC had ten years ago, and many cloud-hosted applications can expand an advisers' capabilities and capacity for under the cost of a new computer each year. Compare those acquisition costs to the price of an assistant to perform some of the same duties and the ROI is compelling.Of course, the acquisition cost is only one component, as setup, configuration, training and integration are investments of time that ... Read full post
Dec 4, 2013
Atmosphere tends to be overlooked when thinking through what it means to be digital today. Being digital now encompasses having an effective website and incorporating a social media presence into your business.Think of the areas in which atmosphere means something to us. We crave it and often go to great lengths to establish it in:• our homes• our office space(s)• where we eat• where we socialize.And for many, even the places we carve out for quiet reading and writing require atmosphere for our highest focus.Yet when strategizing how to be social, we can get caught in a crossfire of the mechanics of strategy and tactics aimed at clicks, follows, likes and more — too often without some context to allow for it to be authentic and to feel closer to natural.Some introspection can help your efforts integrate better into your everyday process.YOUR CULTURE AND YOUR VOICEYour business, regardless of size, has a core... Read full post
Dec 3, 2013
After writing the social media handbook for financial advisers and many articles on social media, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, I am asked all the time by advisers, “Matt, should I create a blog?” Reading Josh Brown's recent article Conquer social media – it's like falling off a blog, I was forced to re-think my position on blogging. His insights are spot on about how, but we need to decide on what and why before how. I believe that anybody can have a blog, but they should only have a blog if they actually have something unique to say.This is the problem. You've been told that you need to send communications to your clients weekly, no matter if they read it or not. Well, I asked my clients' clients. They don't want it unless it is personal, special and focused on things that matter to them, not what matters to you.So many advisers want to go out and blog. So many advisers want to write, but they're just writing the ... Read full post
Dec 2, 2013
If I told you that an affordable technology could help you provide better service to your clients and increase your assets under management effortlessly, would you be interested? There is such a product, yet most advisers are not utilizing it. I'm referring to ByAllAccounts.I should note that ByAllAccounts is not paying me and they did not ask me to write this article. I'm just an adviser who uses their service.Consider this: How many clients actually pay attention to their 401(k) allocations? My estimate is zero. And how do advisers deal with this? Typically, every couple of years, the adviser will look at the client's 401(k) statement and recommend a contribution allocation that approximates a model strategy. This approach is less than ideal for the client and doesn't increase adviser billings.With ByAllAccounts, 401(k) assets, as well as other outside accounts, can be downloaded daily into the adviser's portfolio accounting system... Read full post
Nov 25, 2013
When viewed individually, the software options available to advisers have never been better. What were once considered extra features have now become as much of a must-have as the seat warmers on new cars. As you walk down the vendor aisles at any conference, you soon realize that you have multiple choices for pretty much any solution you need. Oddly, choosing a solution for our advisory firm has become more difficult. I mean how many vaults do I really need for my business? Currently, I can offer my client a vault through our CRM, portfolio management system, and website. Am I really going to offer my clients three concurrent options to access a vault? Or do I wait for the “Lord of the Rings” version of one vault to rule them all to appear? I have a feeling vendors fear marginalization if they offer just one feature, and they also recognize the attractive up-sell potential of extra features. Hence, we have more options... Read full post
Nov 25, 2013
On this week's broadcast, learn about new technology offerings from two of the top institutional custodians, a bold new workflow platform launches with the potential to revolutionize the way you use technology, and a new app is introduced to fill your prospecting funnel with qualified leads.Schwab IMPACT 2013 Report: All the technology trends advisors can't miss from FPPadSchwab IMPACT 2013 kicked off its pinnacle event in Washington, D.C. this year with a big focus on the technology trends sure to change the financial services industry in the foreseeable future. Here are the most important technology announcements provided by various members of the executive team inside Schwab Advisor Services.Pershing Enhances NetX360® Platform with Additional Third-Party Technology Integrations from PRNewswirePershing LLC, a BNY Mellon company, announced several enhancements to NetX360®, its technology platform for advisors. NetX360 now offers... Read full post
Nov 22, 2013
Delegating work to staff as a busy professional is a classic Catch-22. Delegating some tasks can free up time, but when you're already swamped, it's often faster and easier to just do the work than to try to teach someone else how. And of course, there's always the risk that the delegated work will be done incorrectly as soon as the financial adviser isn't there to guide it anymore. As a result, many advisers struggle to find a way to delegate effectively.As someone who has struggled with delegation myself, I decided to write and share the tool I find that has made a huge difference in my ability to delegate: Screencast-O-Matic. As the name implies, this simple software allows you to record anything you're doing on your screen quickly and easily, and narrate it using your computer's microphone. (Note: Hat-tip to Bill Winterberg of FPPad for suggesting Screencast-O-Matic in particular as I was searching several months ago for various... Read full post
Nov 21, 2013
What do you get when you combine a business software conference with a music festival? The answer, if you are Salesforce.com, is Dreamforce, a four-day mega-event that took place earlier this week in downtown San Francisco.Over 140,000 people registered to attend Dreamforce, a sprawling city-within-a-city that featured high-profile keynote speakers, celebrities, multiple rock bands and a cult-like following of all things enterprise business technology.Marc Benioff, the gregarious showman and Salesforce chief executive, fired up the crowd as he delivered a 2½-hour speech about what was new in business software, cloud computing and the evolution of technology.His key message, and the big news to come out of the conference, was the launch of Salesforce1 — an innovative new mobile platform designed to connect customers and businesses to sales, service and marketing.“There are 50 billion things connected on the Internet,... Read full post
All content in the IN Tech blog was created by third-party author who is solely responsible for the content contained therein. Posts in the IN Tech blog do not necessarily reflect the opinion or approval of InvestmentNews.
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Liz Ann SondersChief Investment Strategist, Charles Schwab Corp.
Dorothy Weaver Founder & CEO, Collins Capital