Thank you, robo-advisors, for pushing the wealth management industry to take more notice of the power of technology. Robo firms are helping reset client expectations regarding the level of engagement, choice, transparency and convenience that they should expect from their advisory firm. They are also driving significant changes in how successful non-robo advisors are engaging with their clients and operate their firms. Essentially they are forcing traditional wealth management firms and investment advisors to become more efficient and focus more on client empowerment.
Robo-advisors have driven significant innovation in digital client engagement. And clients have responded positively. But that said, client engagement technologies (such as automated client onboarding, self-service and web-based reporting) do not have to be exclusive to robo-advisors. Traditional advisors can leverage these technologies and more – and when they do, they can and will terminate the robo-advisor threat.
Settling for the status quo is no longer an option. Low-tech advisors need a strategy and proven solution partners to transform their practices. Only through the transformation of outdated wealth management technology, processes and investment programs can investment advisors realize the benefits that truly high-tech advisors are realizing – more clients, higher AUM and greater career satisfaction.
According to a recent Fidelity study on advisor technology usage (see The 2014 Fidelity Advisor Insights Study), low-tech advisors don’t stand a chance. They trail technology-enabled advisors in every measureable category from AUM to number of clients, to client satisfaction by a considerable margin.
Having the right set of tools and capabilities with a trained and engaged advisor team sets you up for success. In setting your strategy to evolve to a high-tech advisory firm, start with this list of key capabilities and solutions to get a basic understanding of where you are. Do you have:
- A next-generation client portal
- Straight-through web-based proposal generation and new account opening
- Simple model-based rebalancing and trading tools
- Client-segmented investment offerings that include pre-built portfolio options
- Partnerships with leading-edge digital advice firms to deliver value-added services across the advisor/client lifecycle
Bringing together tools and processes in a truly integrated way results in higher client engagement scores and higher AUM. It creates scalability and profitability in the advisor’s practice. And most importantly it generates opportunities to improve the advisor’s value proposition (and economics!).
As more traditional firms evolve into efficient, high-tech advisory firms, the combined threat from technology-enabled advisors AND robo-advisors will be the ultimate demise for low-tech advisors. So what are you waiting for?