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Schwab: Advisors Were Ready for 2020

While tech adoption accelerated in 2020, in most cases advisors were prepared for the new decade's curveballs.

A majority of independent advisor firms are accelerating tech adoption in 2020, and many, more than some might think, were fairly well prepared when the coronavirus pandemic hit, according to a technology survey released by Charles Schwab. The financial services firm surveyed more than 1,300 independent advisors in August and found that the unpredictability of the coronavirus pandemic was matched, in some ways, by the agility of financial advisors. 

While 71% of surveyed advisors are investing in new tech in 2020, a slim majority of advisors already had the technology they needed to work remotely. “The data highlights the importance of agile strategic planning when it comes to technology spending, implementation and adoption,” the report stated. In fact, the opportunity to work remotely was one of the biggest business opportunities this year for 37% of advisors surveyed. 

As executives from across the industry have noted, repeatedly, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated tech adoption at a wild pace. Advisors, too, brought new tech into their practices at a faster rate than they had before, with 61% of surveyed advisors saying they increased the speed with which they utilized new tech. The new tools and features seem to be well placed: Less than half of firms surveyed said the tech increased operational complexity—and of those firms finding themselves in a more complex environment, just 3% said they were “struggling” to stay on top of their new workflows.

“Advisors are dealing with many hurdles as a result of the global pandemic and they are leaning into technology more than ever,” concluded Andrew Salesky, SVP of digital advisor solutions at Schwab. “The virtual environment, coupled with a rich array of available technology choices, puts advisors in a unique position to build the technology stack that works best for their clients and their business.”

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