The pace of change in the financial services industry has been accelerated because of the pandemic. Work from home and physical distancing are challenging advisors to find new ways to prospect, uncover needs and build deeper client relationships. To continue to achieve sustainable growth in their businesses, advisors will need to adopt new approaches and leverage the right technologies.
The financial services industry was already undergoing radical change
The industry has continued to evolve over the past decades. Discount brokerages emerged along with independent advisors as big-name investment firms like E.F. Hutton, Smith Barney and Lehman Brothers vanished. And more recently, Schwab completed its acquisition of TD Ameritrade and Morgan Stanley announced plans to buy Eaton Vance just days after they finalized the acquisition of discount brokerage E-Trade.
As the pandemic unfolded in early 2020, advisors quickly pivoted to a work from home environment while continuing to serve the needs of their clients. As a result of the historic shift, advisors will need to continue to devote more resources to technology and better operational processes to digitally enable their business.
Advisors need to pivot—to keep the pipeline full
During this extraordinary time, advisors will still need to find assertive ways to grow their business – bring in new clients and keep their pipeline flowing. Many of the traditional marketing tactics they had relied on need to be dramatically re-imagined or are no longer options at all. Events that relied on face-to-face interactions to generate referrals and introductions, for example, are now only possible in a very different, on-line digital scenario.
Advisors will need smarter, simpler, and more effective marketing that helps them deepen relationships with clients and stay connected with their prospects. However, it can be difficult to know what works.
Advancements in technology and new service model choices are making the opportunities for small advisors even better. According to the annual Evolution Revolution Report[ii], “Digital advice platforms are expanding the market for advice”.
Elevating the advisor game
In February of this year, in an article named 3 Ways Technology Can Optimize the Wholesaler Role, Shawn Gillespie writes, “Financial advisors have outgrown the old school product push mentality and taken on the new mantel of client consultant—offering high-quality advice on how their clients can best meet a wide range of life and financial goals.” [ii]
Advisors are seeking extensive wealth planning capabilities that go beyond simple client assessment and onboarding with a complete, fully-automated investor experience, including electronic signature functionality, financial and insurance planning tools, client data aggregation functionality and much more.
The right technology platform is critical for any advisor who wants to develop trusted relationships, provide timely reporting, in-depth analysis to boost decision-making and support instinctive digital experiences for their clients. These solutions must enable every step of the wealth planning sales process. It is critical these turnkey sales, compliance and engagement toolsets integrate seamlessly with existing systems to streamline and optimize workflows.
Grow your Business
Growing your business will require wealth planning tools that help (1) elevate the client – advisor relationship, (2) help advisors find more time for clients by automating tasks and (3) open new channels of convenient and secure communication. These tools will enable advisors to create persuasive investment proposals with guided portfolio recommendations and perform investment and portfolio analytics.
Elevating the client – advisor relationship involves building a culture of trust and influencing clients and prospects to believe in what you provide. When an advisor doesn’t know where or how to focus their time and attention their business can become stagnant and create challenges. And embracing the client experience is an important function of building and sustaining growth. This includes mobile-friendly platforms that leverage robo-technology to deliver a secure consistent online experience to investors.
The future looks bright. The advisory community continues to experience strong job growth and new intuitive tools and technology will enable advisors to better serve their clients. And those who find creative ways to grow their business, bring in new clients and keep their pipeline flowing will be the trusted advisors their clients value for years to come.