With few other options, advisors and firms are turning to digital strategies to interact with clients and even onboard new advisor teams. Raymond James is using virtual home office visits, “with access to executives, product and service areas,” to entice prospective advisors to transition to the firm, according to an announcement. The home office has already hosted more than 50 virtual visits to its digital home office.
The approach does have its limitations, said Scott Curtis, president of the firm’s private client group, but with choices limited to lemons or lemonade, Raymond James is opting for the latter. “The virtual visits can’t replicate an in-person meeting at Raymond James’ headquarters campus,” he said, “but as we have all adjusted to a new level of comfort with technology solutions, we’re seeing increased interest in resuming due diligence conversations, as advisors have become more comfortable with virtual meetings.”
Using the beginning of the year as a baseline, Raymond James saw usage of its online account access and collaboration tool grow by more than 50% and its mobile app usage increase by 82%, according to information shared by the firm. Traffic on advisor websites is also up, growing 62% since the beginning of 2020.
Raymond James isn’t the only office that’s seen blockbuster digital interest. Advisors associated with TIAA saw a massive increase in year-over-year video call volume in the beginning of 2020. In recent months, the 1,000 or so financial advisors associated with the firm, working remotely across the country, are fielding an average of 600-700 video meetings per day, up from just 30-50 video meetings a year ago, according to Scott Blandford, chief digital officer at the firm.
The whopping jump in videoconferencing boosted what turned out to be a 36% increase in overall digital engagement from the previous year and a 62% increase in customers using the firm’s mobile app, he said. As of the beginning of May, there was a 123% increase, year over year, in clients requesting help with managing investments.
Raymond James did not return a request for comment on its videoconferencing usage. TIAA first introduced its videoconferencing to advisors and clients in 2016, revamping and improving its offering in 2018. All TIAA advisors have access to videoconferencing capabilities; and all TIAA advisors are currently working remotely.