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.”
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.
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“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.