Ignore, accept or excel. Whatever choice you make, wealth management software company CircleBlack* says financial technology is here to stay. In this article written for the Advisor Advocate, CircleBlack urges financial advisors to recognize the potential benefits and take action.
Technology is already a critical component of everyday life for many people, and signs point to it only becoming even more important. Right now, according to Pew Research, almost 80% of Americans own a smartphone and half of the public owns a tablet computer. By 2020, it is estimated there will be 50 billion devices connected to the internet. Today, people can go shopping from the couch, text from their watches and tell their ovens to turn on while sitting in their cars. At CircleBlack, we feel the financial industry has been slow to respond to demand, both in providing platforms for investors to engage with their wealth and in turning technology into something that advisors can use to their advantage.
When faced with integrating new technology into their practices, some advisors worry about the cost of change and may even tell themselves that their clients are just not that interested in having access to information about their wealth in a modern, mobile way. In fact, technology can help build stronger client relationships, make wealth management practices more efficient and in many cases help grow revenues for advisors.
With lawmakers and regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Labor (DOL) often adjusting regulations, the world of financial advice is not the same as it was 10 or even 5 years ago. The challenge for the industry is to build platforms that help advisors meet both the spirit and the letter of the law in the ever-changing regulatory environment while making their practices more efficient and profitable.
Account aggregation, performance reporting and targeted content are all helpful features of the ideal platform. But advisors may be best served when one integrated hub is able to link various technology providers so that all the tools can work together. An integrated platform can allow an advisor’s customer relationship management (CRM) system to communicate with the financial planning system and the financial planning system to work in unison with the advisor’s risk analytic system. All advisors have to do is decide which technology providers best support their business models and market positioning. The platform does the rest, including making sure that the data from one technology provider moves seamlessly and transparently to other technology providers – without advisors having to do anything for that to happen.
While this type of integration is bound to make the advisor’s life easier, the best platforms do even more than that. When doing their technology research, advisors should look for the type of client portal and 5-star app that clients have come to expect from other industries. You want clients to be able to see all of the account information for the funds you manage. In addition, clients should have the ability to add their held-away accounts and choose to share them with you. By giving the client this control, the client may be likely to share more of their financial information with you, allowing you to strengthen your relationship with them.
The best platforms are also designed to provide relevant content that reinforces an advisor’s value proposition. An advisor can deliver nearly real-time performance reports that show both managed and held-away accounts. Finally, a well-designed platform can create the opportunity to earn incremental revenue advising clients on their employer-provided retirement accounts like 401(k)s. The right platform can allow advisors to charge for that advice without ever taking custody.
Schedule a CircleBlack Demo
CircleBlack is excited to demonstrate its integrated platform at a time convenient for you. You are invited to schedule a CircleBlack demo by clicking this link*.
You can explore the Scottrade® Strategic Resource Center to connect with CircleBlack and other organizations that specialize in technology, compliance, research, education and marketing. Many of these resources offer discounts to financial 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.)