Atria Wealth Solutions’ broker/dealer subsidiaries are the latest group of financial professionals to get access to compliant business text solutions, the firm announced on Thursday. Integrated into the firm’s advisor dashboard, business texting is available to more than 1,300 advisors at CUSO Financial Services, L.P., Sorrento Pacific Financial and Cadaret, Grant & Co., with the remaining 700 or so advisors at other subsidiaries expected to receive the service by year-end.
Advisors access the text messaging tool via their desktops and send text messages by way of an interface that looks like an instant messaging portal. Clients receive the messages on their phones, after opting into the service. Business texting is baked into the platform, called Unio, which also provides advisors with CRM, reporting and customizable workflow capabilities.
For Brandon Handy, an advisor based in Salt Lake City with CUSO Financial Services, having a business text messaging solution is the equivalent of a yellow pages listing a generation ago. “If you're in business and you're not able to be connected with social media or texting and faster forms of communication with your clients, then you're not in business—or you won't be for long,” he said. He was part of Atria’s pilot group of approximately 250 advisors and has had access to the service for roughly 18 months.
Handy’s advising efficiency and client communication has improved since receiving business texting, he said. Not in good order (NIGO) errors, which used to take weeks to clear up, in some cases, now can be addressed in minutes.
Handy sends a text notifying the client of an incoming email, which in turn will spell out the fix for the NIGO. The client, on the lookout for the email, is able to approve the solution more quickly and Handy can then proceed with processing the changes on his end. “What used to take four weeks now takes four minutes,” he said.
Alerting clients to incoming emails isn’t the only convenience of business texting. Handy uses the service to wish his clients a happy birthday or to drop a pin for a meeting location.
His initial concerns about being too available via texting were ameliorated by some of the guardrails in place. Off-hours text messages sent to advisors are pushed through to the desktop interface. That means Handy doesn’t have to worry about a high-need client pinging him at 2 a.m. Instead, the message will convert to an email, waiting at the top of his inbox in the morning.
Atria runs analysis on text message interactions, measuring the frequency of interactions. Taken in conjunction with other client communication, such as emails, calls and in-person meetings, advisors receive feedback on whether they are meeting a minimum threshold of interactions, called the “Standard of Care.”
With its business text solution, supported by Twilio and backed up to Atria Wealth Solutions’ own data storage facility, advisors at the firm now have similar text capabilities to their counterparts at Merrill Lynch, which launched text messaging in 2018, and Kestra, which provided their advisors with the service last year. CRM software provider Redtail launched an advisor-focused text messaging service in 2017, MyRepChat is an independent compliant texting application that has integrations with multiple archiving and CRM solutions, and Hearsay is another vendor that has offered text messaging services, via its Relate service launched in 2018.