Ron Carson
Ron Carson

Carson Group’s Bet on Digital Experience Pays Off in Double-Digit Growth

The firm’s tweaks to it’s client-facing portal are meant to highlight when and how the advisor has added value to the relationship.

Carson Group has released the newest version of its client-facing website, a portal that includes a “gamified” risk tolerance questionnaire, automated account opening and customizable options for advisor branding. The firm launched the“prospect-to-client” portal in August, but the new version includes a feature meant to highlight the value an advisor brings to the client via a timeline of key financial planning accomplishments and a calculation of how those accomplishments contributed to the client’s financial health. 

“Clients forget about an advisor that helped them make a decision that they otherwise wouldn’t have made and what that meant in savings or wealth that it was able to generate for the family,” said Ron Carson, CEO and founder of Carson Group. “This we find in itself is the planning alpha. Not just the planning alpha that they’re getting, but the ability for the client to be constantly reminded that their advisor is adding value beyond just the investment performance.”

Since the launch of the prospect-to-client tool at the end of August, Carson Group has acquired $119 million in new account assets attributable to the platform, the firm says. Carson expects more than $1 billion in new assets to come through the platform this year.

The newest iteration pulls client information from Orion, eMoney, the firm’s own databases and CRM into one dashboard, rather than logging into separate systems. Clients see their net worth, account balances and performance data. They can connect with their advisor through the dashboard via email, schedule an appointment or hold a video conference. The dashboard also features a to-do list and tasks assigned to them by their advisor, such as completing forms or preparing for a review, as well as their advisor’s tasks. Clients can also track their progress toward meeting financial priorities. 

The dashboard also includes a section to help clients prepare for annual reviews with a series of questions to help the advisor structure the meeting. 

The “Value of Relationships” timeline marks key decisions the client has made with their advisor that don’t show up in a performance report, but are critical to the client’s wealth, such as the sale of a business or an analysis of expected Social Security benefits. 

 

The technology eliminates duplicative data entries; every form a client has to fill out will automatically pull their information from the firm’s database.

“When you give us a piece of information, we will never ask you for it again—ever,” Carson said.

The firm expects to add an automated advice element in the fourth quarter, where clients can choose from a full digital experience, a combination of digital and human, or the traditional advisor.

Overall, in 2017, the firm brought in $1.53 billion in new assets, and $1.25 billion has been contractually committed for this year. The firm’s offices grew assets nearly 40 percent year-over-year, which Carson attributes to the technology, even as the Carson Group slowed down business for six months thanks to both a broker/dealer and a custodian change last year.

“We took six months off and still grew 40 percent because when clients went to our website, they saw what we had to offer; they’re sucked in, and they’re engaged right away,” Carson said.

“There are advisors that are just not doing much of anything, and they’re slowly dying. And there are those handful of advisors that are really growing. For those that have the energy, never have the opportunities to succeed and [service has] been so high.”

TAGS: Technology
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