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

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

Apr 21, 2015

A 3-phase approach to making social media work for you

By Lincoln Ross

Though advisers are increasingly using social media, many continue to tell us that compliance concerns, resource constraints and a lack of familiarity are keeping them on the sidelines. That's understandable, but it's tough to overlook the torrent of industry studies demonstrating that investors, especially the highly affluent, are rapidly embracing social media for vital investment and market information.A 2013 study by Cogent Research found that 53% of affluent investors expect to receive relevant and timely content from social media platforms. Nearly half — 45% — said they would value real-time interaction and conversation with an adviser or other investors, just the kind of connection that social media supports so effectively. Smartphones have enabled our ability to access breaking news at a staggering rate, and investors will demand the same type of real-time contact with advisers. When it comes to addressing the... Read full post

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

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