Years of leading innovation taught Raj Madan an important lesson: Before you can solve the technological challenge, you have to pay attention to the people around you. “I have my own personal code,” he explains. “My intelligence is limited by the space between my ears. There’s a dual meaning: You’re limited by your brain, but you’re also limited by how much you can hear your own people. Leaders often make that mistake. You can’t know everything. You have to rely on your people.”
You’ve decided to break away and launch a new RIA firm. Congratulations! I’m sure it’s been a major undertaking to get to this point. As you begin to work through the details and navigate your path forward, there’s one decision that will lay the foundations of your business for years to come – your technology stack. It’s imperative to make the right decision when it comes to your tech stack. But there are such a vast array of choices; it can be daunting. In this first of a three-part series, I’ll examine the tech stack decisions that breakaway advisors face and the best way to tackle them successfully. First – take a deep breath. Second – exhale slowly. Now, close your eyes. Think about the firm you’re launching. Who is your target market? Your ideal client? How big do you want the firm to be? What kind of growth do you anticipate over the next five years? Two resources will be necessary to achieve those goals – good people and the right tech stack. Both will be your biggest expenses. You’ve got a good team. Now you need to get the tech in place. “Look internally first,” says industry consultant Matt Sonnen, CEO of PFI Advisors. “What type of clients are you serving? What types of investments are in their portfolios? How big is your firm? Advisors ask us what’s the best tool, the best provider, the best system.” That’s not the right question, according to Sonnen. “What RIAs need to do is have a clear idea of what kind of firm they are now and what they want to be in the future,” he says. “Then they can decide what the most appropriate tech stack for their needs is.” To help determine those needs, look for a partner with experience and resources. A custodian is a logical place to start since you’ll be working closely with a custodian from the beginning. What kind of tech do they provide? What firms do they work closely with? What kind of requirements do they have for integration into their platforms? What kind of help can they give you? Other partners include PFI Advisors, F2 Strategy, Wealth Advisor Growth Network (WAGN), or platform providers specializing in helping breakaways such as Dynasty Financial Partners or Sanctuary Wealth. Smaller firms may consider an M&A partner. Some hybrid firms may prefer a broker-dealer. “Think of it like building or renovating a house,” says Dynasty COO Ed Swenson. “You’re probably not going to put on a roof, install the plumbing, or do the painting yourself. You don’t have the expertise and you don’t have the time. You want to hire a contractor.” To carry the analogy further, just as you would tell the contractor what you want to be able to do in the house, advisors need to determine what they want their tech stack to do for their firm. “We ask clients to consider how much time tech can save them,” says WAGN co-founder John Phoenix. “The more time a tech stack saves them, the more time they can spend with their clients.” An RIA’s tech stack is also an essential part of its value proposition and a critical means of differentiation from the competition. “Firms with less than $2 billion in AUM can’t be great at everything and should think about tech as a means of differentiation,” says F2 Strategy president Doug Fritz. “What do you want to be great at? Do you want to give clients a white gloves experience? Then you might want the best CRM out there. Do you specialize in alternative assets? The look for a portfolio manager who is best in class for that category.” After breaking away from UBS late last year, Tom Stadum launched his firm, Fargo, North Dakota-based Fjell Capital. Stadum, who is only 31, works with a young team and wants to attract young clients. Working with Sanctuary Wealth, Stadum sought out “bleeding edge” technology so Fjell could build “customized solutions tailor-made for our client base. Catering to younger, tech-savvy clients made a state-of-the-art portal a priority for Stadum. Paul Strid’s firm, Concentus Wealth Advisors, partners with Dynasty and targets high and ultra-high-net-worth clients. As a result, a high-end CRM was important for him. Other firms may care more about data, direct indexing, planning, separately managed accounts (SMA), or a different value proposition. The point is to know thyself, then proceed accordingly. Advisors must also think of their new tech stack as a foundation that will support future growth. “You want to build the firm from day one with scale,” says Swenson. “Begin with the end in mind. Build a strong foundation because you don’t want to start switching things around in year three, which will be very painful and costly.” Indeed, vendors will charge for data conversion and implementation; advisors will have to re-train their staff and become familiar with new software, which could mean decreased productivity and lost business opportunities. “RIAs need to think about the projected needs of their clients and how tech can service them,” says tech-consultant George Fischer, founder of Optimal Growth Technologies. “You want capabilities that will meet these demands into the future.” What a breakaway advisor shouldn’t do, says PFI Advisors’ Sonnen, is ask a friend or a colleague what kind of tech stack they use. “It’s the biggest mistake we see,” Sonnen says. “Someone starting a firm will ask an established RIA what they use. But suppose one RIA uses SMA accounts for an older client base in a decumulation phase. In that case, their software will be completely inappropriate for a new firm targeting younger clients accumulating assets!” Swenson cautions new RIAs to “not let the tech tail wag the enterprise dog. Tech is the accelerant to execute a firm’s vision and strategy, not the driver of the strategy.” Remember, a tech stack’s job is to make a firm better, not to make a particular function run faster or have more bells and whistles. And before going shopping for technology, advisors should remember the software purchase is only the beginning, with training, implementation and integration to follow. “Think of it like buying a puppy,” says Paul Strid. “Paying for the dog is one thing. You also have to feed it, train it and walk it every day.”
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We've witnessed some outsized technology impacts on our industry this past year. The pandemic first forced clients and advisors to fully embrace virtual sessions and digital-first advice platforms. That shift to digital spurred clients experimentation with investing apps, which has fed remarkable behavior around particular stocks and cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, the wealth management industry has seen its forms of disruption, including consolidation among custodians and more wealthtech funding and M&A deals.
Introducing AdvisorEngine's community conversation initiative. We're excited to bring you interviews with wealth management professionals from across the industry. We hope you find inspiration and insights from the life lessons they've learned and the business practice challenges they've faced. If you’d like to participate or know someone who we should profile, please reach out to us here.
Client segmentation has become increasingly important as an RIA growth driver, but it can’t be an afterthought. What’s more, the discipline may not be suitable for every firm. This third and final installment of our AdvisorEngine® series examining the challenges of implementing client segmentation and some fundamental dos and don’ts for firms ready to take the plunge.
AdvisorEngine® announced the completion of the integration with Schwab Advisor Center®. For the first time, RIAs can access Schwab Advisor Center client data as part of AdvisorEngine’s end-to-end technology platform. On May 4th, AdvisorEngine will host a virtual event featuring Schwab’s Senior Vice President and Head of Advisor Technology Solutions, Andrew Salesky, and AdvisorEngine’s CEO, Rich Cancro to discuss industry trends impacting independent advisor technology use, client preferences and fintech development. We hope you will join us for this event. In the meantime, here’s what AdvisorEngine leadership had to say about this announcement.
Advisory firms are moving beyond the traditional classification of clients by their assets and the revenue they generate. In this second part of our AdvisorEngine Learning Center’s series, client segmentation for financial advisors, I’ll explore how clients can be segmented beyond assets under management. I will also look at how (or should) an RIA widen or ‘soften’ its target market to a younger, less affluent demographic, taking advantage of cost-efficient digital technology.
Financial advisors often ask, “What can I do to drive CRM success at my firm?” Implementing, adopting, and maximizing a CRM system is a challenge for any organization. It’s a change that requires buy-in from your whole team. The right CRM can automate your daily processes, save you time and money, and allow you to focus on the most important thing -- your clients. Whether you are converting to a new CRM or looking to drive user adoption in your current system, here are eight ways to help drive success. I hope these tips come in handy for your firm’s CRM journey.
Client segmentation can dramatically enhance an RIA’s efficiency, profitability, growth and client satisfaction. In this first of a three-part series, I examine why firms should consider segmenting clients into different tiers and how to implement this discipline. In part two, I will explore the criteria used to segment clients and how the practice can broaden an RIA’s target market. And part three will include the challenges the practice poses and some practical Dos and Don’ts for optimal execution.
As a financial advisor, you are your brand. Just like a lawyer, doctor or any other professional, trust in the services you offer as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) – financial planning, investment management, and tax planning – is dependent on how well they are performed but also the interactions clients have with you.
When it comes to growing your advisory practice, you never know the source of your next meaningful connection. Networking and contacts that benefit your business can come from a variety of places. LinkedIn has become the gold standard when it comes to professional networking. With over 740 million members, LinkedIn connects people and professionals around the world. One of the benefits of creating a LinkedIn network is that every person has their unique network, forming an entire web of connections. This web of connections is vital to the success of your financial advisory business. The LinkedIn community is 100% business-oriented; connecting and engaging on LinkedIn is essential in building your online presence and brand. Your profile serves as a more-detailed resume, building trust and allowing people to know who you are and what you do. Chances are, when someone is looking to hire a financial advisor, LinkedIn will be one of the first places they’ll visit online. You can find and connect with people within minutes. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again -- if you’re not utilizing LinkedIn, now is the time to get started. Here’s how.
“With digital advice becoming a viable option to serve smaller accounts, advisors in Independent Financial Partners’ (IFP) network asked for the ability to offer the option,” says Chris Hamm, its chief operating officer. There were many technology choices, but AdvisorEngine’s platform provided the broker-dealer and registered investment adviser unique capabilities that would benefit the over 240 financial professionals in its country-wide network, Hamm added. In the following interview, Hamm explains IFP’s decision to embrace digital wealth management technology and why other RIAs need to do the same. Hamm also outlines the lessons learned from his firm’s rollout of the technology. The following transcript has been edited for clarity.
Are you still using a legacy on-premise solution for your CRM? I get it, you're nervous about a number of things. Let me help put your mind at ease. Investment advisors are fiduciaries who innately understand the importance of protecting client data and confidentiality. Which is why some advisory firms might be wary about the concept of cloud-based technology. But shifting from servers you can see in your own office to a virtual network of software and services running entirely through the Internet (the “cloud”) doesn’t make your core business systems and files vulnerable -- we believe it is quite the opposite. Firms using on-premise Client Relationship Management (CRM) technology face challenges such as costly maintenance issues and limited resources, not to mention regular exposure to data leaks and security breaches. Converting to a cloud-based CRM not only helps address these issues and provides more secure storage for your data, it makes that data and software accessible online anytime, anywhere, from any device. So as a firm looking to make a move, where do you start? What can you expect? I’ve worked alongside hundreds of financial advisors, many who were hesitant at first about cloud-based solutions. I’ll share those concerns with you and demonstrate why making the switch to the cloud can actually help your business grow.
One quality of financial advisors that I admire is that they are avid readers, always looking for the next bit of inspiration and insight to benefit their practices. So when thinking about which books would most benefit financial advisors, I tried to mix best practices, aspirational goals, and issues that impact the industry but also transcend it.
Advisors budgeting resources for their practices in 2021 should make marketing and business development compliance a top priority. Several changes are expected this year and RIAs will be well-served to focus on the new and evolving regulatory requirements. The most significant is the new SEC Marketing Rule, which will modernize the industry’s marketing rules for a digital age but also usher in fresh scrutiny. To guide you, I’ve compiled a checklist of seven practical tips that you and your team can print off and refer to. Take a moment to review them to be prepared compliance-wise for 2021 and beyond.
Your first exposure to potential clients is now going to be online. So ensuring your digital presence is strongly presented and communicates your value is crucial – our research shows almost half of all clients pass on an advisor based on what they find about them online. One essential element to a strong digital presence is your LinkedIn profile. Unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn has become the networking platform of choice for professionals. It’s also where a potential client considering you will likely go to find out more about you. If you are not utilizing LinkedIn, now is the time to get started. While simply having a LinkedIn profile is a good start, having one that stands out will set you apart from the competition.
As a fiduciary, nothing is more important to you than helping people with their financial lives. But does your practice need some help too? In speaking with several successful advisors and firms, I learned even the best-intentioned investment advice professionals can stumble due to costly mistakes and business oversights. Out of these conversations, we flagged five critical errors that can hound a wealth management practice, ranging from staffing issues to technology implementation. I’ve also included their tips on how fellow practitioners can best avoid these pitfalls.
I spent the last several weeks speaking with successful financial advisory firms. The question we explored together: “What are the most important things you have learned about running a wealth management business?” During the conversation, five major lessons emerged - with ‘growth’ being a key cross-cutting theme across the board. Importantly, these lessons came from listening to client needs, treating people well, and putting in energy to strategic planning. Whether you’re starting your career or building on years of experience, here are five important lessons for investment professionals.
A new year is just around the corner, and I’m really excited to talk about our product roadmap, but first, I want to say my thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted by Covid-19. It’s my sincere wish that all of you, your family and friends stay safe and healthy. There’s nothing more important than the well-being of your loved ones. The incredible news that vaccines are becoming available now makes me even more hopeful we’ll be able to come back together in 2021. I look forward to being in an office with my colleagues again, catching a Broadway show with my family and having a nice dinner surrounded by friends.
Attending industry conferences allows advisors to network, hear from experts, and explore relevant challenges and opportunities facing today’s financial services industry. Attendees take the knowledge gained from these events and integrate it into their practice to further deliver value to clients. Many of these conferences were interrupted in 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic – shutting down all in-person events after the March outbreak through the end of the year. Planned events were canceled or rescheduled, while most pivoted to a virtual format.
This year forced us to use existing technology in new ways. An entire subculture has grown around video calls -- which have been around for years -- as they are now essential in our lives. Whether for business calls, webinars, virtual happy hours, or talking to family, the pandemic made us realize the value of staying virtually connected.
Expectations of working with a financial advisor have changed. The digital world we live in today has played - and will continue to play - a large part in how prospects find, select, and hire financial advisors. These days, most information is consumed digitally and through multiple sources of information - sometimes by only scanning the headlines. With so many resources available, investors make better, more informed buying decisions in all aspects of their lives.
As a training specialist for AdvisorEngine’s Junxure, I witness first-hand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to running an effective client relationship management (CRM) system. One firm I recently worked with had work processes that literally were all over the place -- scribbled down on whiteboards, shelved inside filing cabinets, noted on sticky notes stuck to walls, handwritten memos, and more.
We are excited to announce new enhancements to our Junxure® product, designed significantly to reduce the time it takes to produce reports. A financial advisor’s time is best spent servicing clients and building relationships, not sitting in front of a screen, waiting for data to load. With that in mind, we’ve rebuilt our functionality to maximize performance. Now, for instance, Action reports will load and be ready to print six times faster.
Winning a new client is a great feeling for any investment advisor. What helps to maintain that positive momentum is having the digital tools for easy onboarding, engaging in effective client communication, and developing consistent servicing strategies tailored to the client’s goals.
Things are changing fast in the wealth management industry. Last week, AdvisorEngine® CEO Rich Cancro shared his perspective on this moment of “hyper change” we all are experiencing. Client and market shifts in motion are now accelerating and advisory businesses must react to the pace of this change. How the industry meets is also evolving. Social distancing demands and health concerns have pushed a number of wealth management events online. That’s why for the first time in eight years, our >drive conference will not be held in-person. Instead, it will be an immersive, virtual experience held October 22-23, 2020. One of the biggest draws to past >drive events has been the opportunity for Junxure® users to gather together - administrative assistants, advisors, CEOs, firm principals and operations leaders alike - to share ideas, knowledge and experiences. With that in mind, we have designed a virtual >drive2020 conference focused on engagement.
At Joel Bruckenstein’s T3 Advisor Conference this past February I communicated to advisors about a scenario we have been calling ‘hyper change.’ The basic premise is that a series of megatrends are spinning together to completely transform the wealth management industry over the next three, five, ten years.
As a financial advisor, you take pride in how you’ve cultivated deep relationships with your clients. But in a new reality where it is difficult to meet in person, you’re naturally concerned about how to maintain those connections. The right Client Relationship Management (CRM) technology system can not only help you stay connected to clients during this global pandemic, it can strengthen your ability to personalize your client service and help you win new business. Streamlining workflows makes it simpler to stay in touch with clients, while automating tasks frees advisors to concentrate on the conversations that clients value most. A CRM aids the advisor at every step, from discovering prospects to supporting existing clients and improving contact management. But how much does CRM technology cost? What are some factors to consider beyond the cost?
During these unpredictable times, a positive relationship between Financial Advisors and their clients is imperative. In-person meetings have been replaced by Zoom calls, networking events aren’t happening and handshakes are a thing of the past. This added layer of complexity compounded by the fact that clients expect clarity on what’s happening in the market, to help calm nerves, and to set realistic expectations for their financial future.
Despite the COVID-19 global pandemic, regulatory examinations continue as normal. There’s one caveat though: the scope of examinations have increased. Regulators are trying to understand how firms manage business and core compliance programs within this environment. Below are 3 specific ways to test your compliance program and prepare for these regulatory exams:
Good morning. I hope that you and your family are healthy. I feel very fortunate that my family and friends are doing well health wise. If your situation is anything like mine, you are balancing new demands as your personal life has merged with your professional life. For a window into my household: I’ve been locked down in my NYC loft with my family playing teacher / short order cook / Sonos DJ / Paw Patrol watcher / Ticket to Ride competitor. I have always appreciated teachers -- now my appreciation and admiration is sky high...Truly: how do they do it?
Think about it for a minute, how much does your business rely on email communication? Email has become such an important method for business communication. It’s accessible, fast, cheap and private - plus, it can be easily replicated and stored. I’ve actually had an email account since I was in college. But the norm these day is that elementary-aged kids are using email to communicate with teachers and collaborate with friends on class projects. According to statistics more than half of the global population now uses email - 3.9 billion people have active email accounts. In comparison, there are 3.5 billion social media users worldwide. Since building strong relationships is a core element of providing financial advice, a financial advisor Client Relationship Management (CRM) system should support email functionality. It’s no wonder that financial advisors are thrilled with Junxure®’s latest integration with Office 365.
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending Joel Bruckenstein’s annual T3 Advisor Conference in San Diego. T3 offers a place where independent and hybrid financial advisors can test drive the latest and greatest in the FinTech world. One major takeaway for advisors this year was acceleration - the industry is changing, but in order for the industry to change, the technology has to change to support that.
Wealth management is an ever-changing environment. Evolving technologies are rapidly changing the ways investors access investment products and receive financial advice. This paradigm is challenging the business models of long-established advisory firms and providing opportunities for competitors. New experiences and technology are changing industries across the board.
It’s that time of year again - time to prepare for your annual Form ADV Review. Disclosures to clients and prospects are even more important this year in light of new requirements announced last summer. This is arguably the most important compliance project for the quarter.
Technology is shaking up the way industries do business. While the financial service industry has been somewhat slow to adopt new technology, it now plays a leading role in the ecosystem. There are many different tools that independent advisors can use to improve client services and maximize profitability.
As a financial advisor, it’s important to log every interaction you have with a client - whether it’s a brief email, a phone call or an entire planning meeting - all part of client relationship management (CRM) best practices. What can be hard to decide is how much information you put in each one of these notes. On the one hand, sharing an entire wall of text can be confusing when you need to go back and reference it. On the other hand, a short sentence of, “Had financial planning meeting,” is equally unhelpful.
I’m fortunate to work with highly motivated and passionate independent advisors and their teams. When I’m meeting with them, I get the opportunity to hear about the firm-level strategic goals they’re focused on. Unsurprisingly, many of these strategic goals are only possible through technology. Modern technology is creating new ways for RIAs to drive growth, achieve efficiency, ensure client-centricity, build trust and enable compliance. Here are five things to consider when adopting new technology and how it could benefit your firm:
Choosing a custodian relationship is one of, if not THE single most important decision any new registered investment advisor must make. It should not be taken lightly. There are many custodians in the marketplace - not all will be the right fit for your business. To explore the process of choosing the best custodial relationship, I had the opportunity to catch up with industry experts and thought leaders Joel Bruckenstein and Craig Iskowitz to have them weigh in on the top questions they believe breakaways or new RIAs should consider asking potential custodians.
Everything nowadays is all about the “experience.” Why should wealth management be any different? It shouldn’t be. Advisors should strive to provide clients with exceptional financial experiences. Unfortunately, we find that within the realm of the wealth management industry, the financial experience process has been slow to catch up with 21st century standards.
I’m a data quality specialist. I work with wealth management firms every day to ensure that their information is accurate and accessible on the AdvisorEngine® platform. However, it’s not all about facts and figures. As any good financial advisor knows, success in wealth management requires ‘intangibles’ such as good leadership. Below is my perspective on what good leadership means, and how to know if your leadership is translating to the rest of your team. I apply these to our data quality team, but these ideas are applicable across a wide variety of organizations and goals. I hope you find it thought-provoking.
A long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away) I was a financial advisor. I’m proud of many things that I achieved - but with the benefit of hindsight, I realize that there are some things I could have done differently. I’ll share with you now the biggest mistakes I made as a financial advisor and how to avoid them. My hope is that this will serve as valuable advice for those in the advisory role and also as a guide for those who are seeking financial advice.
This year the SEC provided a steady stream of guidance illustrating which compliance and governance programs worked and which ones fell short. To help you plan for 2020, we have distilled the highlights in this Regulatory Year in Review. As you study enforcement cases, rule proposals and risk alerts, you’ll see there are trends for RIAs to consider in the year ahead.
I feel fortunate to work with Carly de Diego. She brings positivity and intensity to her role as Chief Client Officer. Her leadership directly benefits the wealth management firms that use our technology every day. So it’s well-deserved that Carly is getting some industry attention. Just this week alone, she was interviewed by leadership publication Authority Magazine and received special recognition from a group called NYC Fintech Women.
Technology has entered every part of my life. At home, I am surrounded by it. In the kitchen cooking, throwing in a load of laundry or helping my kids with homework - everything requires something digital to function. At the office, my Macbook has replaced all my old tools - pen, paper, scanner, and fax. On the road, I’ve got something high-tech in my pocket, on my wrist, in my car - the list goes on and on. Everything has a screen and buttons to push. It’s no wonder that a new digital age has entered wealth management.
I’m a millennial. So it should come as no surprise that I like texting. But it’s not just millennials who prefer texting as their go-to form of communication. Did you know that 89% of all consumers prefer to use messaging to communicate with businesses? Texts have a 98% open rate and 90% of these are read within 3 minutes of receipt. These numbers are astonishing. It’s no wonder that financial advisors are thrilled with Junxure®’s latest integration with MyRepChat. MyRepChat reports this new integration allows advisors to communicate with clients via text while fulfilling important compliance requirements.
Over the course of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to literally thousands of companies and financial advisory firms about technology - especially in my current role selling CRM software. Technology is powerful. Technology can make or break user experience. Technology can reduce costs associated with data capture and analysis. Technology can increase advisor productivity. Technology can free up time so you can focus on deepening client relationships. Who wouldn’t want that? While choosing new technology is one thing, implementing it is another. Neither should be done without careful consideration.
Do you remember the last time you read an actual newspaper? Or printed out a map to get you where you needed to go? How about shopping? Did you go to the actual store or simply visit Amazon.com? Think about the now-enormous Amazon. Jeff Bezos launched it out of his garage 24 years ago. The website officially opened for business as an online bookseller but now functions as an e-commerce giant. It’s unbelievable to look back at changes this website has undergone over the years. We can all learn an important lesson from Amazon and its website; change can be good, change can be productive and most importantly, change can help us grow.
The financial technology space is expanding. In 2018 alone, FinTech companies raised a record $39.6 billion in funding, up 120% from the previous year. Much of this funding went toward the development of new products and services. But how exactly does this FinTech product development process work? A common analogy for the product development process is operating an assembly line. Ideas go in one side and products come out the other. The shortcoming of this analogy is that it describes a very linear activity - whereas the actual product development process is fluid and iterative.
Are you maximizing the benefits of your Client Relationship Management (CRM) tools? CRM and the customer experience is arguably the most powerful tool in the advisor-client relationship. Advisors spend more minutes of the day on CRM than any other part of the value chain. There are several features every advisory firm should be maximizing for top return on investment (ROI). By utilizing the following key CRM components, you can deliver best-in-class service – most of these factors occasionally get overlooked:
These days everybody is talking about design thinking and user experience (UX) - but what does it really mean and why is it essential? More importantly, how can it be applied to wealth management and financial advice experiences? Design-driven organizations engage in a human-centered design methodology. As the name implies, human-centered design focuses on the human.
What a week. After reviewing the feedback on this year’s event, I feel confident saying that >drive2019 was our best yet. There are dozens of wealth management conferences out there, but this one ranks as my favorite industry event. Two essential elements make it stand out: The strength of the community 💪 The actionable information that attendees take back to their offices to implement 💡📝 Below is a rundown of the 2019 event. Don't miss out next year! Our >drive2020 event will take place October 7th through October 9th, 2020 at the Austin Marriott Downtown. Register TODAY!
How (and why) DHG Wealth Advisors shifted their focus from transactions to relationships. These days, wealth managers are always thinking about how to plan for and adapt to tomorrow’s realities and position for long-term growth. No matter how hard you plan and position, the work to achieve growth cannot be done without some help along the way. At the heart of most wealth management firms, an Operations Manager can be found working hard to establish efficiencies and consistency in service.
Back when I was a young investor, like most self-confident, burgeoning people, I felt I could choose my own stocks. Yes, yes, I know - you can’t expect old heads to rest on young shoulders, but nonetheless that’s my excuse. Like most stock pickers, I had a general record of mediocrity punctuated by occasional flashes of success, or more often, highly entertaining failure. My very first pick has haunted me for years. Being a beginner and a small-fry, I didn’t have a whole lot to diversify as I only had a small amount to invest. So I sank in my entire fortune of $1,000 into a UK stock that was trading on the New York exchange. Overall the stock had a solid record and great prospects. I watched it daily, awaiting imminent riches.
Every year, financial advisors have the opportunity to attend a multitude of industry conferences held across the country, and our choices seem to be growing every year. And no matter where your office is located, these conferences are an investment of time and money. If you’re sending multiple members of your staff, which I encourage, you’re looking at a potential impact on your day-to-day business. If those reasons are giving you pause to attend, you’re not alone. Among my friends and colleagues, I am always surprised by how many advisors never go to these events. The value of these cannot be overstated – the education component, combined with the incredible networking opportunities to talk to other advisors and business owners about their challenges and solutions are truly invaluable.
Growing up as a multiple sport athlete, I really never had an appreciation for the umpires and referees. That is, until I went to college, where I had the opportunity to work in the intramural department. All of a sudden, I was on the other side. I was the one calling the strikes, balls and fouls – making judgment calls. Wow! What an eye opener, I certainly gained a new level of respect for those that hold that position as a career. As I reflect back on that period of time, the stress of making the right calls and the added pressure of being a female in that role - I can’t help but think of Sarah Thomas. Sarah changed the game in the world’s most quintessential male-dominated sport – football - when she became the first female NFL official. Now she’s inspiring others to dream big and believe anything is possible.
Based in Penryn, California west of the lofty Sierra range, Karsten Dornseif makes up half of the two-man fee-only RIA shop of Bowers Wealth Management, Inc. While the firm’s office is based over the mountains and state line in Reno, Nevada, Mr. Dornseif finds himself working virtually much of the time from his California home office amidst five and a half idyllic rural acres. In working online he takes full advantage of cloud-based version of Junxure® CRM—the only version of the venerable brand he has known. “I use it for everything that isn’t a number,” he said, noting that it was an indispensable repository for all the firm’s client data.
As the seasons change and holidays come and go, it's very important that you keep in touch with your clients in different ways. Newsletters can be an effective tool for doing so – allowing you to deepen relationships with your existing client base and connect with new prospects. By using your CRM (Client Relationship Management) system effectively, you can deliver newsletters in an organized and thoughtful way.
These days, financial advisors have options - new technologies that provide competitive advantages. Tools that enable online, automated investment management services that are key to attracting the next generation of investors. Smart advisors realize this paradigm change in the wealth management industry. An industry traditionally operated through face-to-face interactions - now quickly shifting toward digital tools where real-time algorithms provide customers with financial advice and manage investment portfolios. When launching a successful digital strategy from the ground up, there are many things you must consider. By aligning your team and focusing on client experience, you can maximize your chances of success. If you are considering a digital offering strategy, here are some ideas that you can take and implement into your financial advisory practice:
For every advisor, technology plays an increasingly important role in how we run our businesses. Whether you have someone in-house or you outsource your IT support, investing in your technology tools should be a key part of your business plan. That includes choosing the right systems, implementing them efficiently, training for your team, and last but not least, regularly assessing your tools to determine if they are still serving you as your business evolves.
A recent visit to the doctor's office made me think about the importance of technology in creating great client experiences. From my appointment confirmation to meeting with several doctors, it was almost seamless. It should be no different in wealth management. Financial advisory firms need to embrace technology in order to deliver a great client experience. Here are my top five reasons why your firm should digitize:
Compliance norms change constantly. They change as business innovates and regulatory priorities and leadership shifts. Summer 2019 was rife with developments advisors should understand and then consider the 3 action steps below:
“What’s dangerous is not to evolve.” Jeff Bezos Over the past few years, my perspective on serving smaller balance relationships has changed. Whereas I once saw them as cumbersome and expensive to serve, I now view them as a high potential growth area for wealth managers. Over the last 20+ years, many advisors moved upmarket in large part by raising account minimums and pushing off smaller balance accounts. I myself subscribed to this strategy - it was a smart, disciplined way to achieve profitable growth. But the marketplace has changed. Now, by using smart segmentation and digital wealth technology, advisors can profitably cultivate smaller balance relationships..
We live in a knowledge economy. Now more than ever, it’s important to cultivate a culture of knowledge sharing at your wealth management firm.
If you’re an operations leader at a wealth management firm looking to modernize your trading and rebalancing - you’re in luck. AdvisorEngine has gone live with a new and ambitious trading integration: an end-to-end trade support cycle that leverages Smartleaf’s model-driven rebalancing capabilities with BNY Mellon’s Pershing technology - combined with AdvisorEngine know-how. AdvisorEngine integrates across multiple custodians, enabling advisors to embrace innovation without disrupting their business.
It’s no surprise that the most successful financial planners are lifelong learners. But given the rapid pace of change in the industry – and the sheer amount of content out there – keeping up can feel overwhelming at times. I’ve found plenty of suggestions out there about what to read (for example: check here, or here or here) …but I haven’t read anything written recently about how to learn – especially when you feel intimidated or behind-the-curve. Here are my suggestions on how to conquer learning anxiety.
Here’s a secret - most financial advisors do not use digital marketing effectively. They say things like:
This operations and compliance coordinator started running during her lunch breaks. 11 marathons and 75 half-marathons later, Christy Rogers has hit her stride as a leader🏃
Financial advisors face countless challenges in their daily practices – especially in this day and age. In order to implement a broader technology strategy at your firm, you must approach it from a technology as well as a business standpoint. Analyze how your business can benefit from the use of technology.
You know that you want to modernize your firm’s technology. But how much does wealth management technology cost? Knowledge is power: after reading this guide, you’ll be a smart buyer – and understand the true ‘all-in’ cost of advisor technology. 10 factors to consider beyond ‘standard pricing’ By considering the following ten factors, you’ll make your next technology purchase with your eyes wide open: