Advisors Embracing Technology, Yet Integrating Systems, Workflow Among the Challenges

Advisors Embracing Technology, Yet Integrating Systems, Workflow Among the Challenges

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The explosion of fintech solutions and support tools for financial advisors in recent years, along with clients’ hunger for an online, tech-integrated experience, are contributing to a wide-open landscape for those advisors proactively embracing technology as well as those simply seeking to adjust.

The good news is that a majority of advisors clearly see that client preferences and the client experience make it imperative that they offer digital platforms for most aspects of clients’ transactional needs. According to WealthManagement.com’s 2018 Advisor Technology Snapshot, 56% of advisors said their firm provides a client-facing online portal with up-to-date progress on their financial goals. Another 28% of advisors surveyed in late January say they plan on providing one in the next three years.

According to a recent Morningstar advisor survey, one of the biggest obstacles advisory practices face is the “multitude” of technology solutions they rely on to handle their back office. As technology vendors expand their offerings, many firms find themselves using a patchwork of legacy systems. These are often “woven” together with newer offerings that have incremental improvement, yet become difficult to maintain and upgrade over time, Morningstar says.

In the Morningstar survey, 90% of respondents reported using four to seven primary platforms in their practice, and the remaining 10% said they used eight to 10 platforms. So many tools may be creating an administrative burden, even as the nature of the advisor/client relationship relies on secure, timely, accurate and high-quality data.

Consider that the most time-consuming activities for those advisors surveyed by Morningstar were:

  • Building a financial plan: from three hours to more than a day
  • Communicating to clients after a market event: from three hours to more than a day
  • Completing quarter-end reporting: from three days to more than two weeks

It was a similar story for those advisors surveyed by WealthManagement.com. The top technology “pain points” they identified included: not integrated, too complicated/not intuitive, too costly, and too time consuming to maintain. Still, advisors expect to slightly increase their tech spending in 2018 to 11% of operating budgets, up from 10% in 2017.

So how do advisors want technology to support their practices? Forty-one percent in the WealthManagement.com survey said they would be most driven to upgrade their systems should that upgrade make their workflow more efficient.

The three top responses advisors cited in the Morningstar survey as the most important in what they want technology to achieve for their practices were:

  • To increase responsiveness to clients;
  • To better connect tech solutions to make daily work easier; and
  • To automate certain tasks, so more time can be spent helping clients pursue their financial goals.

If your practice would benefit from a single point of contact for all operational needs and technology solutions, then contact your Shurwest Director of Advisor Relations at 800-440-1088.

Let us show you how our back-office support can reduce the time you and your staff spend managing operational issues. And our technology solutions are geared toward reducing expense, supporting your due-diligence requirements, and streamlining and expediting your client service.

Sources:

WealthManagement.com. “2018 Advisor Technology Snapshot,” Feb. 21, 2018. http://www.wealthmanagement.com/technology/2018-advisor-technology-snapshot (accessed March 13, 2018).

Morningstar, Inc. “Financial Advisor Technology: How Does Your Firm Compare?” Feb. 23, 2018. http://www.morningstar.com/blog/2018/02/23/technology-overload.html (accessed March 13, 2018).

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