A framework for strategic thinking

Valuable information and assets provided by Broadridge, this season's sponsor of Practice Makeover.

Nov 20, 2015 @ 10:10 am

By Andrew Besheer, President of Advisor Solutions at Broadridge Financial Solutions

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It's estimated that as many as 18% of RIAs* are planning to add robo-advising services to their firms over the next two years, and this episode provides great perspective on why this should be viewed as much more than a simple go/no-go decision. It also outlines key strategic questions you'll want to ask whenever you're weighing any new service or technology.

This is one more reason Broadridge is pleased to sponsor this season of Practice Makeover.As a company that is committed to helping you to become a truly breakout adviser, we know that the most successful initiatives begin with the right questions.

Question 1: What are you hoping to achieve?

Whether it's robo-advising, a planning solution, or anything else, the services you adopt now need to fit with the direction you and your clients want your practice to take in the future.

For example, the robo-advising question is about much more than putting a button on your website. Every adviser's practice and client relationships are unique. The same technologies and services can impact each adviser's practice model and their customers differently. So, it pays to get specific about what you want to achieve, what you may be willing to sacrifice to achieve it, and what risks you're willing to take.

Are you looking to streamline account opening? Provide new services for investors who may be more readily engaged by interacting with a digital planning tool? Are you trying to add customer convenience? Introduce cost efficiencies? Is this something that you're doing to benefit your current customers, or something that you're introducing to attract new ones?

Your objective should never just be to simply add a service or technology; those are a means to an end. Define your objective in terms of what you hope to deliver in terms of products, services and experiences for your firm and its clients.

Question 2: What are the likely consequences of taking that next step?

As Ray Sclafani, President and Founder of ClientWise, cautions in this episode, there are often both “expected and unexpected consequences.” When the unexpected occurs, it's often because advisers haven't thought big enough, and it can have some frustrating, and even costly outcomes.

You need to think past the service and technology to understand what it will help you to deliver. More important, you have to consider all the other ways it's likely to impact you, your clients and your prospects. This might sound obvious, but the things that you don't plan for are most often the source of trouble.

Consider the impact on the investors and prospects you're not targeting. Weigh the impact on your ability to deliver other products and services. Ask yourself how much flexibility you will gain or lose for seizing opportunities and making course corrections down the road.

Case in Point: Recent research* finds that with so many disparate systems to manage, elite firms place high value on successfully tying everything together through vendor or custodial integrations in order to streamline workflows and build scale. In fact, this research indicates that, to a degree greater than the industry as a whole (61% vs. 45%), elite RIAs say integration is their primary concern when adopting and implementing new technology.

It's all about minimizing the unexpected, to ensure you're in the best position to maximize the value of your opportunities.

Question 3: What's your communication strategy?

Aaron Klein, Co-founder & CEO of Riskalyze, references the old Field of Dreams concept that, “If you build it, they will come.” Very often, it takes much more than that to ensure your best outcome. Choosing what, when and how to communicate changes to employees, clients and prospects shouldn't be an afterthought. Without careful consideration, what you want to convey may be missed or misinterpreted. Ultimately, what you say, and when and how you say it, can be extremely important. It should be an essential consideration in every planning process.

Broadridge can help

Building trust and rapport with clients is key to your success. With Broadridge, you'll uncover new ways to target, network and market more effectively. Achieve more every time you engage clients and prospects—whether through your website, social media, email, newsletters or seminars. That's the smart way to grow.

To learn how you can prosper as a breakout adviser, contact Broadridge today.

*Source: The 2015 Elite RIA Study Research, INResearch and BlackRock

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