Integration, Security and Digital Experience

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Financial advisers were projected to spend approximately $98,000 on technology in 2017, according to the InvestmentNews 2017 Adviser Technology Study, co-sponsored by Laserfiche and TD Ameritrade Institutional.

To make the most of your technology investment, purchase technology that does three things: (1) integrates with other technology; (2) keeps your clients’ information safe; and (3) provides a great digital experience.

Kenneth Corbin wrote in the Financial Planning article, “The Keys to Choosing Compliance Technology,” that ensuring all the technology you pay for communicates with each other helps you get the most of your spend.

“Integration is going to be huge for me knowing that I don’t have to set up any integrations myself,” Lisa Graham, product manager at eMoney, told Financial Planning. “By integrating those systems, you really alleviate a lot of that manual burden.”

Vetting third-party technology vendors to ensure they’re doing their due diligence when it comes to protecting your clients’ data is essential to keeping information safe. But other things planners can do when it comes to cybersecurity are to communicate to your clients how you keep their information secure and help them learn some skills for how to do the same.

“Wealth management is as much about information protection as it is about asset management and financial planning,” Wes Stillman wrote in the Financial Planning article, “Cybersecurity Breaches: When Doing Nothing Won’t Cut It.”

Educating clients on how to keep their information safe is helpful. Tell clients what you’ll ask for via email. Encourage them to confirm your email was sent by you if they feel it’s suspicious. And communicate that the way you access their information is safe while asking them how they access information on their end. If they don’t access their information over safe networks, use the opportunity to provide them with tips for best practices.

Investing in a great digital experience is of utmost importance. InvestmentNews reported in its 2017 study that people want to be connected digitally.

“Whether they offer their own digital solution or partner with others to provide one within the context of their firm, advisers must be prepared to meet the demand for automated, lower-cost, and less people-intensive approaches to providing financial advice,” the study reported. “What advisers want to do, whether it’s digital or analog, they want to be able to provide account aggregation, performance reporting, all-in fees transparency, and deliver it 24/7,”

Lee Gordon, CEO of Mesirow Wealth Advisors told Financial Planning. “All the applications are there, but tying them together, making them an elegant, user-friendly experience for the client—that’s the missing piece.”

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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 Follow her on Twitter at @AnaT_Edits.

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