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

Mar 3, 2014

Google+: Ghost town or essential tool?

By Blane Warrene

Depending upon whom you speak with, Google+ can be a ghost town or a key step in the evolution of social media. However, based on a number of shrewd moves in building Google+, the search giant is surging in the field seeking your social attention.It is the relationship to search that makes Google+ an important consideration in your social media strategy. Likewise, it offers tools that enable the progression from social engagement to directly connecting with others via its Hangouts app that spans instant messaging, phone and video calling to group presentations.Google's advantage lies in having considerable influence outside the walls of its social network app itself. The Google +1 and sharing mechanisms extend onto the Google Play Store and across its search engine. Like its peers in the space (i.e., Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) the +1 and Google share buttons also extend across innumerable web sites as well.Taking a longer view,... Read full post

Feb 28, 2014

Merging RIAs, merging technology

By Gregory H. Friedman

Financial advisers considering a merger or acquisition are usually focused on securing long-term growth or a succession plan (or both), and the benefits of an RIA-to-RIA transaction (scalability, access to new markets, skills, and specializations) certainly are behind the growing number of firms considering M&As. While on the surface it may seem like an easy decision for advisers to make to move their firm to the next level, it's important to understand and appreciate the complex operational, cultural and philosophical changes that will need to take place to keep your business running smoothly. One of the most overlooked factors in this process is the merging of technology between firms. How do you decide what systems to adopt firmwide and which ones to sunset? When do you invest in new technology? Most importantly, how do you ensure the least disruption in day-to-day business during this transition? Here are three steps my firm took ... Read full post

Feb 27, 2014

Best practices for best tech execution

By Trent Mumma

The SEC requires advisers to provide the best execution for their clients' trades. This obligation is an evolving standard that necessarily involves a “facts and circumstances” analysis. Although best price is an important consideration in this analysis, best execution encompasses many factors. The specific factors considered will differ among advisers, but all advisers are required to disclose the factors they take into account in Part 2 of their ADV form.Advisers today are generally familiar with the very important best-execution responsibilities they must meet for mutual fund trades. Increasingly, however, advisers are trading exchange-traded fund, which can be bought or sold throughout the day, making best execution more of a moving target. Additionally, more advisers are using technology providers that allow them to execute large block trades, rather than trading primarily in individual client accounts. As a result of... Read full post

Feb 26, 2014

The surprising hidden value of automation

By Sheryl Rowling

Software can add efficiency and reduce personnel hours. Everyone knows that. But there are other significant savings to be gained from automation. In fact, these hidden savings may very well outweigh the obvious benefits. By making operations more efficient and turning more time-consuming responsibilities into delegatable tasks, more of the workload can be tilted toward junior staff. This allows senior advisers to spend more time on marketing and meeting with current and potential clients. What is the value of obtaining new clients? Assuming that the freed-up time could result in just $5 million of new business each year, revenues could increase by $50,000 annually. What if additional AUM is $10 million? And, don't forget, the management fee revenue will compound over time.With automation, the firm may be able to achieve a higher level of client service. This can lead to greater client satisfaction, resulting in additional referrals... Read full post

Feb 24, 2014

Build a better digital calendar now

By Blane Warrene

Two apps that can be very helpful in starting an editorial calendar also work across nearly all platforms and devices. Evernote and Pocket offer ways to snip content from the web browser and other online sources to stow ideas you may want to explore in your own content creation. Check out more of Blane Warrene's thoughts on finding your digital rhythm Content stowed in these apps from online can be interacted with offline in addition to staying in sync across the platforms and devices to which you add them. Thus an article saved on your computer at work is synced to your smart phone or tablet when browsing at home on the weekend. Both apps also offer social sharing tools for your informal content sharing throughout each day and week.Evernote offers two bonus features. A reminders tool that can prompt you to follow up on items to stay on track with your content calendar and a sharing capability if you are coordinating your digital... Read full post

Feb 24, 2014

Finding your digital rhythm

By Blane Warrene

Getting past the fundamentals of having a digital presence can take time in our industry. Thankfully, the momentum has picked up from regulators during the past two years, offering more functional guidance. Likewise many individuals and firms have been experimenting enough to be prepared to graduate to the next level.Of course moving to an active position as a digital business means leveraging social media as a key medium. This will require, at minimum, some core digital accounts — LinkedIn and Twitter and a blog, and perhaps more. A common refrain at this point leads to the discussion of three key challenges:• Identifying what you seek to discuss online.• How to build a supply of content.• What are the right frequencies to use in your digital publishing?Check out two simple apps to help you establish a better digital plan THE KEY(WORDS) OF YOUR BUSINESSAll of us can identify a handful of central topics that our... Read full post

Feb 19, 2014

Reducing the costs (and hassles) of expense reporting

By Alex Murguia

A recent story by Mason Braswell spotlighted the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.'s crackdown on expense reporting. The entries cited in the article ranged from fraudulent charges to embarrassing mistakes. As both a business owner and as a user of a company credit card, this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart (wallet, actually). Few things are more deflating than coming back from a very productive trip and having to fill out expense reports rather than sending e-mails and making calls.Check out these 8 expense account blunders — from the wacky to the mundaneIn addition, collecting expense reports from our staff was not a very efficient process. According to our comptroller, receipts would not be attached with the expense spreadsheet or staff would forget to return the spreadsheet with the explanations of expenses listed. Ultimately, it was very time-consuming to review each credit card expense for the... Read full post

Feb 12, 2014

Advisers: Being digital is no longer a luxury

By Blane Warrene

Choosing to be digital in financial services is no longer a luxury. I've witnessed this shift from trend to reality during the past five years, most directly as an archivist and adviser to firms in our industry. Here we explore three key areas where indicators point to the mainstream embrace of the digital business model. The momentum is much clearer now just by exploring the digital streams emerging from industry conferences like Morningstar, Schwab, T3 and TD Ameritrade. There you will find thousands of interactions, engagement and discussions across social platforms.THE EVENT HASHTAGIn particular you will be hard pressed to see a major industry event without a Twitter hashtag (i.e. #eventnameandyear). They offer a digital water cooler for attendees to engage and share to their extended networks and perhaps more compelling, a much deeper view into the value of the event to those not in attendance. This, in essence, becomes a... Read full post

Feb 11, 2014

Native apps: The adviser's best friend

By Neal Ringquist

It's pretty much a given these days that advisers use technology to handle the broad spectrum of clients' needs — hence the ubiquity of CRMs and other platforms that manage data via a wide range of apps. However, most applications advisers use today to serve clients are not native to their primary technology platform. And what, exactly, is a native app? A native app is simply an app that was built for a specific platform, and can take advantage of all of the platform's features. In other words, the user experience is optimized for that platform. In addition, the data captured by the app is saved on the platform. For example, apps downloaded from the Apple App Store onto your iPhone or iPad are native apps.Now, the platforms that advisers use cover a lot of ground. The CRM is one platform. The adviser likely uses a separate platform for trading (through a broker-dealer or custodian), and perhaps yet another for access to... Read full post

Feb 10, 2014

Why advisers are killing Facebook

By Alex Murguia

Spending my formative years growing up in Miami Beach, one thing always remained true: if people five to 10 years older than me had heard of the hip places to go out at night, then those places were not worth going to. Younger generations mos def (my era) do this with language and it seems this is the transient trajectory of Facebook. If your parents are on it, it is time to move on, and if your parent's advisers are on it, it is time to delete your account. They didn't get the post from social-media experts stating why advisers need to be on Facebook.I am exaggerating a bit to make a point but I have yet to meet anyone over the last few months younger than me that uses Facebook as their go-to network. That has been replaced by Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Path (my network of choice), and the list goes on. Are we now going to constantly rotate app icons on the bottom of our emails? It comes across like a boyfriend or girlfriend who is... Read full post

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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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