Leveraging technology to grow an advisor’s business was the main theme of this year’s event. Each session touched on a mixture of what’s coming next year, which technology applications will take advisors’ practice to the next level, and how advisors can use digital marketing tactics and strategies to attract new clients.
Growing your business with technologySolutions like SS&C Black Diamond, MoneyGuide, Junxure CRM, InvestCloud, and LifeYield were present to show how their software works with (and compliments) Schwab. With over 350 integration providers, investment management innovators, and independent recordkeepers on hand, there was no shortage of technology solutions for advisors to test out.
While many sessions focused specifically on Schwab’s new technology, there were plenty of quick-hit tech sessions, product presentations (from companies with offerings on Schwab investment and technology platforms), and even innovative perspectives from Charles Schwab himself. All these sessions aimed to put the client where they should be; at the heart of every advisor’s business model.
To continue the conversations that came out of this event, we gathered 5 key takeaways that advisors can leverage in their practice today:
1. Be “All-In”The opening comments were centered around Schwab’s motto for the conference, “all in”. Being “all in” is when advisors are willing to give everything for their clients and put 100% effort towards delivering an exceptional client experience. Being “all in" means getting up early, doing the research, doing the follow-up and always being ready to answer the call. To be “all in”, advisors must be completely focused on doing all they can. Can we lower costs? How can we improve performance? Can we reduce our client's tax burden?
Overall, being “all in” excites the best advisors and motivates them to consistently take their practice to the next level. At the end of the day, advisors aren’t just wealth managers, they’re life managers, protecting their client’s assets they spent their entire life accumulating.
2. Technology will change the game over the next 10-15 years, but talent is going to win the game.There’s no question that technology adds a dimension to the client experience that couldn’t exist without it. The right software amplifies an advisor’s differentiators and helps an advisor perform crucial tasks faster than humanly possible. However, a tech platform is only as effective as the person running it. Without a true quarterback, the technology will only take you so far.
3. Clients are demanding more personalized experiencesThe days of a one-size-fits-all approach to advising are over. There are plenty of software applications that make it possible for advisors to track, analyze and communicate with clients in a personalized way, but advisors need to invest in these platforms and make a long-term commitment to truly realize the value. Artificial intelligence and predictive analytics will drive our personalization efforts in the future, but AI is still in its infancy as it applies to our industry. Based on these customer demands, new models that cater to this level of personalized advice are emerging.
4. Advisors are realizing the value of effective marketingWe live in a digital-first environment. Megan Carpenter, CEO of FiComm Partners knows all about this. Her session on content marketing highlighted the key components of an advisor’s marketing strategy that can help move the needle and grow their business.
Each advisor’s content should:
- Attract the right people to your site
- Convert those people into leads
- Nurture leads and help convince them to become clients
- Turn them into promoters of your brand
- What’s your “why”?
- Who is the primary person you’re trying to reach, educate and inform?
- What problem does your business solve?
- What solution does your business offer to solve this problem?
5. The client of the future needs more than a financial coachFuture clients will need a different type of advice. Of course, financial advice will remain a constant, but it’s become table stakes. The day is quickly approaching where advisors will need to act as a general “life coach” and drastically expand their value proposition. The firms that go into the weeds with clients will be the most successful. With the next generations "growing up" later than previous ones, the structure of planning conversations needs to evolve beyond the traditional approach and offer personalized behavioral coaching to every client.
The financial services industry is changing fast
Our industry is at an inflection point, as the adoption of new technology and household-level management is gaining momentum. While advisors move to purchase new software that will help to differentiate their practice, they should not forget to always put the client at the center of the decision. If the new solution helps create a better experience for clients, it passes the most important test.
For more info on what the future of financial advice looks like, read our whitepaper we wrote with Riskalyze on Improving Investor Outcomes through Risk-Smart and Tax-Smart Household Management.