Technology can level the playing field for smaller RIAs

  • Published: November 15, 2013
  • Runtime: 2:20
Neesha Hathi of Schwab Advisor Services on how the rapid advance of adviser technology can help smaller RIA firms compete on equal footing with larger entities.

Exclusive coverage of Charles Schwab's IMPACT 2013 conference from November 10-13 in Washington, D.C.

I think there is gonna be quite a lot of change in this space, and I think, you know, one of the things around technology is the pace of technology is moving so fast. I mean, well, if you think about processing speed, if you think about the fact that mobile and mobile devices are taking over, you know it's said that by 2025, 80 percent of our web browsing will be done by a mobile device. And if you think about that for an adviser, that means, well, they've spent time on their website, in their portal, but now what about their mobile app, right? How do they make sure that they stay connected to their client in the new world? 'Cause our clients expectations are going to be, that it's gonna be, you know, very timely access anywhere, anytime. And then, of course, customization is another big trend that advisers are going to have to think about. In 10 years from now, it won't a question of I'm getting a blast email that's sent to all my con-- all of the clients. It will be, this is the information for me given my situation, given my goals, given my family, and the advisers are gonna need to figure out how to scale that, and be able to do that, grow their business but still deliver that really personalized attention. A lot of RIAs right now get nervous because they think about all this technology and they say, "How am I gonna manage all that?" And I actually think it's a great time for an RIA because the model is so compelling to the next generation. I mean it's fiduciary, it's boutique, it's local, it's transparent, it has all these fantastic attributes. And now technology has this opportunity to level the playing field between the small business and the large firm. You can leverage the technology to get scale. You can leverage the technology to get access to your clients. And then things like social media come into play and you can leverage that technology to amplify your credibility across a much broader [unk]-- prospects in clients. I think-- I think there are some scary things to advisers. I mean, I think the fact that they are going to have to start paying attention to technology and not just put it in the back office and say, "Hey, I'm gonna delegate that task to someone in the back office." That's something that really means that they have to think differently about their firm. And to me this all comes back to what the firm's greatest talent typically is this-- is there people. So, how are they actually gonna attract the right people, how are they gonna bring in the people to understand the technology can understand the expectations of their next generation of clients and bring those things together, so that the model that they create for the future is gonna resonate with those prospects in clients.

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