Empathetic Service Isn’t Enough

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If you were at the FPA Annual Conference in Nashville in early October, you may have noticed some themes recurring throughout the education sessions: embracing robo solutions will soon be required, and artificial intelligence and big data are going to begin to permeate the profession.

In the recent InvestmentNews article “Morningstar CEO Describes Future of Adviser Tech,” Morningstar’s Kunal Kapoor told readers that artificial intelligence and big data will help financial planners do two things: better understand who their clients are and what their biases are, and know how to help those clients more proactively.

Big data, Kapoor said, will help planners prospect to the right clients, eliminating the tedious work of securing referrals and networking. It will also provide insight into impending transitions your clients are facing, like a serious health problem. But planners need to embrace technology, Joel Bruckenstein, publisher of Technology Tools for Today and producer of the T3 Advisor Conference, told FPA Annual Conference attendees.

“Things are changing and they’re changing fast, and if you don’t react you’re going to have problems,” Bruckenstein said. “Our beliefs with regard to technology are antiquated.”

Embracing robo solutions allows financial planners to have a greater reach, Bruckenstein said, enabling them to serve 50 to 100 percent more clients from different generations. This is smart, considering the impending intergenerational wealth transfer.

Also included in the move toward more robo solutions and artificial intelligence, according to Bruckenstein, is a heavier reliance on mobile technology solutions, which is becoming more essential. The demand for 24/7 service will continue to grow.

Also coming is the death of passwords and the rise of facial recognition. Inefficient processes will be eliminated, and anything that can be automated will be automated—including the investment process.

In a Financial Planning article describing a similar outlook, Cetera Financial Group’s Adam Antoniades and Robert J. Moore wrote, “Advisers … should view this as a complement to the services they already provide.”

Bruckenstein said, so long as they can embrace technology along with their empathetic service.

“Just the personal side alone isn’t enough,” Bruckenstein said. “It would be a tragic mistake to think that just a personal relationship with a lousy consumer experience is going to carry you though the future.”

FPA Annual Conference will take place in Chicago from Oct. 3-5 in Chicago, Ill. Register here.

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Ana Trujillo Limón is associate editor of the Journal of Financial Planning and the editor of the FPA Practice Management Blog. Email her at alimon@onefpa.org. Follow her on Twitter at @AnaT_Edits.

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