Top 5 Questions Financial Advisors Should Ask Themselves
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.
At the pace technology moves today, advisors can’t afford to get behind the times. Similarly to how we review a financial plan for a client on an annual basis, making sure their objectives still align with their plan, I recommend shutting your door once a year and really taking a close look at your technology plan to ensure you’re still on the best path to success.
New generations of investors, whose expectations and preferences are shaped by new technologies, have brought new standards to the industry in terms of how advice and investment products are being delivered. When wealth management technology is used to power modern growth, it has a potential boom for investors and advisors alike. When reviewing your technology plan, ask yourself these 5 questions:
1. How well is your technology serving you?
When you first invested in your current technology programs, they likely served a clear purpose and you did your research to choose the systems that worked best for you at the time. Is that still the case? Does your tech align with your current business needs?
2. Is it serving your clients how you intended?
Advisors heavily rely on technology to help us serve our clients, from our CRM to our planning software and client portals. How do these stack up today versus when you first started using them? Are your clients still benefiting from your technology?
3. Are your employees using it effectively?
This one often falls through the cracks. Tech systems often update and upgrade their programs for the benefit of their customers. Along with those changes comes necessary training from time to time. Are your employees taking the most advantage of what’s available to them?
4. Who is championing your systems?
I have long advocated for a tech champion in the office – someone who really understand your programs and is passionate about making the best and most use out of them. This person is often the unofficial trainer of the program, as well. Have there been any changes in employment? Between turnover and backlogged IT support, you don’t want to lose momentum on programs that make a big impact on your day-to-day business.
5. Does your tech align with your roadmap?
Asses your upcoming projects and goals and see how they align with your current tools. Are there gaps that could prove costly and time-consuming with your technology today?
If any of your responses to those questions give you pause, it’s likely a good time to adjust or make changes to your tech plan. Carefully choose a path to new technology to avoid mistakes and overcome problems.
Price certainly plays a role in how you want to approach any technology upgrades or changes, and as a helpful tool, I recommend reading Brad Frey’s A Guide to Wealth Management Technology Costs: How to be a Savvy Buyer. It’s an informative piece with information on pricing models and how you can get the most out of your investment.
Performing an annual review of your technology plan can offer you peace of mind that your business is on track and, if needed, give you opportunities to adjust your roadmap to align with your future goals.
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About Greg Friedman, MS, CFP®
Greg Friedman is the CEO of Private Ocean, an innovative West Coast wealth management firm, and the founder of Junxure. In 2007, Charles Schwab honored him with its prestigious IMPACT Award® for "Best in Tech." In 2008, Financial Planning Magazine included Greg in its elite list of financial "Movers and Shakers". Greg was also recognized in InvestmentNews' 2017 Class of Icons and Innovators.