Survey Reveals a New Investment Priority for RIAs

Over the past year, RIAs have shifted their focus on where they would spend their next dollar, a recent survey suggests. Technology has emerged as the leader in the 2016 Scottrade® Advisor Services survey of RIA’s. Twenty-seven percent of advisors said they would invest in technology if they had an extra dollar, followed by “growth” (24 percent) and “client service” (21 percent). In the 2015 survey, growth was the top consideration (38 percent).  

“Ultimately, advisors are expecting technology to improve their business results by reducing costs, improving service quality, increasing profitability, and generally making life easier for everyone,” said Brian Stimpfl, senior vice president and head of Scottrade® Advisor Services.

That’s not say that there aren’t concerns about the use of technology. Nearly half of the advisors surveyed said that “staying up to date” with the rapidly changing tech environment is the biggest challenge—with high cost (43 percent) and integration (42 percent) falling closely behind. While most may think of technology as a more efficient tool to achieve something, there are drawbacks to adopting something new. “The adoption and use of technology is growing, and though that’s often a blessing it can also be a curse,” said Stimpfl. “For many financial advisors and their teams, technological change is outpacing their ability to adopt, learn and use it. Today’s technology is so powerful and complex that it also requires the advisor to change their old processes.”

On the bright side, advisors can customize the way they implement technology to fit the needs of the business. Prioritizing what makes sense for your firm might be to your advantage. Maybe your focus is on CRM or lead generation, or perhaps your rebalancing tool needs an upgrade.

Scottrade® Advisor Services helps advisors make the best choices in technology for their businesses in a variety of ways. RIAs can explore the Scottrade® Advisor Services Strategic Resource Center to connect with organizations that specialize in technology, compliance, research, education and marketing. Many of these resources offer discounts to advisors who custody assets with Scottrade. (Scottrade provides this resource for informational purposes and does not specifically endorse any of the businesses within the directory. Scottrade also does not pass judgement as to whether those services are appropriate for specific business needs. Be advised this is not a full and comprehensive list of businesses that offer these types of products or services and that advisors are responsible for doing adequate research before making any purchases.)

Advisors are also free to attend webinars hosted by third-party providers included in the Resource Center. Each month the Advisor Advocate includes information about upcoming webinars. Advisors should also check their inboxes for reminder messages. These webinars can be a great way to familiarize yourself with a firm’s products and ask questions to determine if a product is the right fit for your firm.   

About the 2016 Scottrade® Advisor Services RIA Study

The 2016 Scottrade® Advisor Services RIA Study was conducted July 25 – Aug. 9, 2016, in collaboration with Harris Poll, an independent third-party research firm not affiliated with Scottrade Financial Services, Inc., its business units or subsidiaries. The 303 Registered Investment Advisors were aged 18 and older and were employed at firms managing at least $10 million in assets under management.

This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For more on the 2016 Scottrade® Advisor Services RIA Study, visit the Scottrade® Advisor Services RIA Study site at


The information and content provided is for informational and/or educational purposes only. The information presented or discussed is not, and should not be considered, a recommendation or an offer of, or solicitation of an offer by, Scottrade or its affiliates to buy, sell or hold any security or other financial product, or an endorsement or affirmation of any specific investment strategy.