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Is your firm using the technology you need to succeed?

Here are some telltale signs that you may be due for a tech upgrade

Aug 2, 2019 @ 12:16 pm

By Gordon Ross

Think about the technology your firm currently uses. Does it satisfy your client reporting needs? Is client reporting an easy task, or is it frustrating, taking up more time and resources than it is worth?

Within the last decade, Technology in the financial services industry has developed significantly, and has extraordinary capacity. However, the number of firms that have taken advantage of these technologies is still surprisingly low.

The problem is that oftentimes, firms don't even realize how up-leveled technology could help them drastically streamline their business and better serve their clients. With more and more advisers going independent, and the large RIAs growing larger, ensuring that the service and experience you offer is efficient and effective is necessary to compete in the elite independent space.

It can be hard to tell whether your firm's technology use is antiquated, especially if business is running as it always has. Here are some telltale signs that we see that indicate it may be time for a technology upgrade.

Trading model portfolios can take all day. Trading model portfolios should not be a time-consuming or laborious process. If you spend entire days trading model portfolios, or if you have a team of people doing so, you should invest in new technology. This is a task that can be done by clicking a button, so spending valuable time and resources on it is often unnecessary and wasteful.

Poor to zero CRM adoption. A customer relationship management system is a critical part of serving your clients well and making sure your business is running efficiently. If your firm is not using a CRM system, or is using one in only a limited way, CRM implementation should be a priority for your firm.

Client portal limitations. Many RIAs have client portals that are little more than a document vault. Your firm's client portal has the potential to be a comprehensive, interactive system that provides both advisers and clients with the information necessary for a successful relationship. If the only purpose of the portal is to collect documents, it is not functioning to the capacity that it should be.

No mobile access. In today's increasingly mobile world, both clients and advisers should be enabled with mobile access to their portal. A critical amount of business activity occurs via mobile, and if your technology cannot support that, it is lagging behind.

Limited reporting capabilities. Does it take you multiple days to put together materials for client meetings or performance reports? Are you able to answer simple questions about client portfolios and accounts on demand? The answer to both of these questions should be yes, and technology can help make that the case.

(More: Survey finds financial planning most adopted technology, digital trading least)

Any one of these issues can create negative client experiences, negative internal experiences and misuse of your firm's time and resources.

One of the powerful recent technological developments is integration. It used to be the case that a firm had to partner with a single vendor for all of their technology, no matter the function it served. In many cases this mindset has persisted past the point of relevance.

We believe firms should use the best tool for each of their needs, and implement integrations between the tools so that information can be transferred between them seamlessly and securely.

Improving the technology that your firm uses is a critical way to efficiently improve client service, and expand the capabilities of your firm. Many RIAs are not using technology as they should be, and that is detrimental to their ability to serve their clients and to grow as a business.

(More: Building a "fortress P&L" that can get firms through a market downturn)

Gordon Ross is director of the enterprise group at Dynasty Financial Partners.

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