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:
1) Go Digital for Client Onboarding
Your client intake process should be seamless. Is yours? For most firms, the answer is no.
Digital onboarding and account opening can contain your brand, your messaging, your look-and-feel, your risk profile questionnaires, your model portfolios and your compliance steps.
It’s time to make the switch from lengthy, paper-based processes to a smooth process. For your clients, it will feel high-end. For your firm, it will save valuable time and effort.
2) Minimize the Distance Between Internal and Client-Facing Activities
Your client’s expectations are higher than ever before. And it’s clearly not just a Gen-Y or Gen-Z phenomenon. Across age ranges and demographics, clients expect to work with you in a flexible way – and get access to accurate information 24x7, 365. The only way to meet this high bar is to 'minimize the distance' between what you do internally, and what the client sees.
Unfortunately, some RIAs unintentionally operate in two worlds – one that employees see, and one that clients see. It’s a natural byproduct of the specialization that occurs as you scale. The problem is: it’s creating a gap between the hard work you’re doing…and what your client is seeing on a day-to-day basis.
Consider your CRM and your client portal – two core areas of your technology stack. Have you established processes that sync information across the two? If not, you’re missing opportunities to deliver ‘wow’ moments to your clients. You and your team spend so many hours ‘doing right’ by your clients – you need to make sure they know it! Many clients have no idea all the work that goes on behind the scenes.
If you’re interested in discussing this area, let me know. I’m working on a project right now in this area. In addition to your CRM and client portal technology, I would also propose that we consider your communications strategy. Are there ways to communicate your value on a more consistent basis, at scale?
3) Harness Robo Functionality
Great advice remains fundamentally human. But there are certain tasks that can be made more efficient and effective through automation.
Robo functionality automates some of the investment tasks that were historically performed by people. Examples include uncovering new information about client preferences, assessing risk tolerance and generating portfolio options that correspond to these needs.
You may want to consider performing due diligence on different options that could benefit your clients and your firm. Ultimately, it’s important to consider the unique needs of each household that you’re serving. What’s great for one client type may not be a good fit for another.
4) Update Your Fee Billing Solution
Even the simplest fee arrangements can benefit from modern fee billing tools. These tools can increase transparency, build trust with clients and save your team valuable time.
Many organizations rely on spreadsheets and manual processes. But there are hidden costs to doing so.
5) Get a Grasp on Your Growth Through Business Analytics
RIAs have had an amazing run. According to a survey conducted by PriceMetrix, firms that increased their fee-based assets by at least 25%, were able to grow their revenue by 47% over 3-years.
But the market won’t always go ‘up and to-the-right.’ As basic as this might sound, many RIAs don’t take the time to analyze their growth. For example: do you know how much of your annual revenue growth last year came from organic growth versus market movement? If you don’t know the percentage off the top of your head, you’re not alone.
Using consolidated business analytics to monitor your assets under management (AUM) can help you identify strengths and weaknesses as a firm – and then make recommendations to your team about how to improve.
Let’s work together
If any of these areas resonated with you, let me know. We can put together a quick plan for your firm on how you can incorporate new modules into your existing tech stack – or choose an entirely new one.
At AdvisorEngine, our wealth management platform helps independent advisors who want to grow and scale by automating your operational pain points and elevating your client experience.
This blog is sponsored by AdvisorEngine Inc. (“AdvisorEngine”) and Junxure, an affiliate of AdvisorEngine. The information, data and opinions in this commentary are as of the publication date, unless otherwise noted, and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation to use AdvisorEngine or deemed to be a specific offer to sell or provide, or a specific invitation to apply for, any financial product, instrument or service that may be mentioned. AdvisorEngine makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or representations. As a technology company, AdvisorEngine provides access to award-winning tools and will be compensated for providing such access. AdvisorEngine does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.
About David Coyle
David Coyle is Senior Vice President and Head of Business Development at AdvisorEngine. He is responsible for all aspects of business development including client relationships and partnership opportunities. David has a unique blend of technology and business knowledge gained from more than 20 years of experience in the financial and wealth management industry.
Prior to joining AdvisorEngine, David worked as part of the wealth management team for Interactive Data Corporation—helping financial services and wealth management firms to provide market data, mobile tools and web tools to customers and financial professionals. David also served in business development and sales roles with BlackBerry, Outercurve Technologies and Northstar System, though he began his career as a private client advisor with Merrill Lynch. David holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Messiah College.