InvestmentNews takes advisers through the developments and innovations in technology that'll change the way you do business today and tomorrow.
Mar 7, 2016
There are multiple forces of change disrupting the advice industry today. Emerging affluent investors want a more collaborative and digital experience. There's an influx of new fintech firms seemingly trying to change the industry overnight. These forces may require a new and more efficient technology framework that can help wealth management firms digitize their businesses. But what does it really mean to be “digital”?We believe an advisory firm has a “digital” business if the firm is leveraging technology both to make their business more efficient and to improve the client experience. Really, there is a spectrum of digitization, with building blocks that add on to one another, resulting in a fully digital business:•The digital basics: Firms can start the process with their operational efficiencies: Are you fully utilizing your portfolio management and rebalancing software, and have you automated... Read full post
Feb 4, 2016
New financial technologies often evolve independent of one another to solve a specific problem, then converge as they mature. At present, the advice industry is in the early innings of what promises to be a new period of major technological change.This includes the ongoing disruption caused by the robo-advisers, the growing adoption of CRM software to manage client relationships, and the automation of everything from content generation to compliance.In keeping with historical norms, these technologies have generally evolved separately, with offerings from a variety of vendors. But it's clear that for them to really have an impact on how advisers do business they will need to converge at some point, or at least learn to talk with one another. That's happening quickly. Going forward, many of these new tools are likely to coalesce around a simple, but powerful idea: a growing focus on measuring what works.CRMs allow for more effective ... Read full post
Dec 18, 2015
It's not necessary to rehash popular quotes about change. Nor do we need dire warnings that if change doesn't happen, disaster is certain. More than ever before, we are aware of the demand for change from customers to our businesses. Moreover, we have seen the disruption to traditional business models outside of financial services (think Uber and taxis), and in our own backyards (think the current emergence of robo-advisers).Getting into the appropriate frame of mind for change is not just about defining your requirements and affirming procedures. Those are essential steps. Yet there is more. Before your first demonstration or white paper, you have to consider the culture of how you operate your business and manage your staff. Understanding how you work and interact with your business technology today, good or bad, will ensure you understand the impact of the changes you are planning.Talk amongst your team about likes and dislikes of... Read full post
Nov 9, 2015
The thoughtful, personalized counsel that advisers bring to their clients can never be replicated by an algorithm or robo-adviser &mdash: but at the same time, the benefits that technology-enabled workflow automation provides for independent wealth management firms cannot be ignored. Those that resist embracing a truly integrated technology platform are missing out on the opportunity to not only generate operational efficiencies, but also transform their practices into well-oiled machines that proactively and collaboratively help clients meet all their wealth management needs. By 2008, we knew that our firm's lack of automation was holding us back, and we began searching for a technology provider. We wanted a unified wealth management platform to support our evolving portfolio- and client- management needs. We also were looking for a single-vendor relationship so that all training, consulting and support related to our technology... Read full post
Oct 8, 2015
In the age of social media marketing, the corporate website may seem so 15 minutes ago. Nevertheless, few believe their business can get along without one, and certainly, advisory firm managers understand that a website is as necessary as phone service for a functioning practice. A financial advisory firm's website is either the first or second point of contact that prospective clients will have with a firm — almost everyone does a Google search before or after meeting an adviser for the first time. If the experience is anything less than positive, it encourages the prospect to move on, perhaps to a competitor.In contrast, a positive impression can give the prospect a sense of the organization's legitimacy and trustworthiness as a financial partner. Because trust is so crucial to the successful advisory relationship, the firm's website should be doing everything possible to build credibility for the practice and the... Read full post
Sep 8, 2015
As both a long-time practicing financial adviser and industry consultant, I need to view our industry through two lenses. That has forced me to stay up to date on the changing trends. Over the past decade and a half, I have been an early adopter of new technology for my own advisory firm. My objectives have always been twofold: Leverage technology to provide a high level of service to our clients in a well-organized manner and create a great working environment for my staff and me. We started moving our business into the cloud and working with clients all over the country via online video meetings over a decade ago. To work as efficiently as possible, we also had to standardize and document all of our internal processes and then program them into our customer relationship management system's workflow engine in order to seamlessly deliver excellent service to our clients. Technology played a huge part in implementation. So when... Read full post
Sep 4, 2015
It seems almost heretical for an IT expert to say this, but registered investment advisers should accept that business disruptions due to technology failures are inevitable. KPMG has reported that financial services ranks among the industries most affected by IT incidents — only the technology sector and government ranked higher in 2014.All technology is fallible, because of internal failures, security breaches, natural disasters, human error or other causes. And while it is impossible to prevent every technology failure, it is certainly possible to have a communications plan for avoiding a breakdown in client confidence when issues arise. The RIAs that navigate technology downtime most successfully are those with operational back-up plans that include a protocol for client communication. Handled incorrectly, a technology failure can potentially undo the brand goodwill that the RIA had spent years cultivating.When considering... Read full post
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