TechTalk

TechTalkblog

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

Feb 4, 2016

The coming wave of adviser technology convergence

By Douglas Winter

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

4 ways to successfully prepare your firm for big tech changes

By Neal Quon

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

How automation and integration can turn advisory firms into well-oiled machines

By Leslie D. Thompson

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

4 critical elements of every great adviser website

By Marjorie Wilner

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

Now is the time to evolve your firm's technology

By Deborah Fox

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

How to talk to your clients about a tech crisis at your firm

By Wes Stillman

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

Jul 17, 2015

How to make sure your firm's data is secure in the event of an outage

By Gregory H. Friedman

With recent high-profile headlines of outages and technology breaches affecting giant corporations, advisers must remember the importance of business continuity planning. Here are a few best practices to ensure that you have a comprehensive business continuity plan:Regulatory: Ensure your business continuity plan is in line with regulations, is tested at least annually, and is documented in your policies and procedures.Business disruption: Identify potential business interruption issues such as power outages, technology disruption, weather events, etc. Put in place detailed procedures that are documented to provide an action plan in case of these occurrences.Key person risk: Identify the key personnel in your business who directly impact the operations and have a detailed back up plan, cross-training and contingency plans in place in case that key person or team becomes unavailable.Technology: Identify and document back up plans you... Read full post

Jul 2, 2015

6 ways advisers can benefit from the avalanche of technology advancement

By Steve Sanduski

If you take a piece of paper and fold it in half 42 times, you'll have a stack of paper that reaches the moon. That's exponential growth. Today's technology is allowing a select group of high-performing RIAs to grow their business exponentially by 100 to 200% per year. And the good news is, this technology is available to everybody. What is it? And how can you implement it? Let's start with some context.In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore made a prediction that computing power would dramatically increase, while relative cost would decrease, at an exponential pace. Known today as “Moore's Law,” it led to dramatic technological breakthroughs.Technologist, author and entrepreneur Peter Diamandis used Moore's Law as a base and developed what he calls the “6 D's of Exponentials.” It's a framework for thinking about exponential growth processes in technology.Based on my recent conversation with Mr. Diamandis, his... Read full post

May 15, 2015

Why high-performing advisers are aggressively adopting technology

By Hal M. Bundrick

With recent rapid advances in technology, clients now have access to investment apps on their phones that are on par with any wirehouse workstation. So, faced with a clientele increasingly comfortable with technology, how do top-performing financial advisers utilize tech compared to low-quintile producers?"They think more strategically about technology than lower-quintile performers," said Joel Bruckenstein, president of Global Financial Advisors, a fee-only financial planning and investment advisory firm located in Miramar, Fla.Advisers are facing a technology tipping point. Nearly 80% of high-net-worth clients under 40 say they would leave a firm that did not integrate technology into customer services, such as online access and mobile apps, according to the 2015 InvestmentNews Adviser Technology Study.And advisers are taking the hint, with 59% saying they are likely to increase their technology spending this year, the study also... Read full post

Apr 30, 2015

3 due diligence steps advisers should take to avoid costly technology mistakes

By Neal Quon

The pace of technology has changed so remarkably in the past decade that even early adopters struggle to stay on top of what's new. This largely, though not exclusively, has resulted from the widespread adoption of consumer technology in business since the launch of the iPhone and iPad starting in 2007.Our preferences of systems and software as business users are being influenced by the personal experience we get on these modern devices and apps. Why can't our professional systems offer us the same ease of use?In many cases, they can. We have seen dramatic changes in financial services technology solutions, like CRM, financial planning, portfolio analysis and more. However, not everything can evolve as quickly due to a much higher burden on developers in our industry to layer in security measures, compliant data storage and robust features for multiple users.(More tech insight: The biggest mistakes advisers make with their... Read full post

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