InvestmentNews takes advisers through the developments and innovations in technology that’ll change the way you do business today—and tomorrow.
Jan 30, 2015
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Sep 17, 2014
“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
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
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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