By Igor Jonjic, Fiserv
Wealth management providers have an efficiency problem when it comes to advisor operations. According to recent Fiserv research with Cerulli Associates, financial advisors spend less than 40 percent of their time on the critical activities of prospecting, preparing for and holding client meetings. To make matters worse, many of the industry’s most experienced – and most productive – advisors are approaching retirement.
Limited capacity and falling advisor headcount collectively represent a major obstacle standing in the way of firms’ ability to address increasing investor demand for financial planning and advice.
In the face of this perfect storm, the deployment and adoption of enhanced wealth management technology can enable efficiency, connectivity and the ability to better serve clients in an increasingly digital future.
Streamline the Process
The implementation of well-designed technology can free advisors to spend more time on core client-facing activity. Financial planning represents one of the most significant opportunities for improved efficiency since many advisors report the process to be long and tedious. As such, digital tools that allow interactivity, real-time scenario analysis, and collaboration with clients are essential components for an enhanced financial planning system. Access to both goals-based and comprehensive planning capabilities will also help financial advisors save time, as not every client situation is the same. Expectations & Experiences: Borrowing and Wealth Management, the consumer trends survey from Fiserv, found that 25 percent of consumers say they are investing for a specific goal other than retirement. Having a single system that can support the very simple to the very complex will help streamline the financial planning process, making it easier and less time consuming for advisors.
Connectivity is the Key
With a technological boom in wealth management, there are an abundance of tools and choices in the market. Today, more than 65 percent of advisors report using four or more technology applications in any given day based on a Fiserv survey with WealthManagement.com. With that, it should also come as no surprise that one of the top productivity challenges reported by advisors is limited integration between internal and external systems. Data connectivity is the key to solving this challenge. APIs, which allow access to data without the need for full integration, can enable greater systems flexibility to support an end-to-end technology platform. With a more unified technology experience, advisors can focus on where they add the greatest value - building client relationships - rather than keying in data or completing other repetitive activities.
Embrace a Digital Future
The future of wealth management is here, and the future is digital. Yet, even today many advisory practices with access to powerful technology options don’t fully embrace all their capabilities. A primary cause for this goes back to the integration challenges previously mentioned; however, there are also organizational factors that should be considered. Meaningfully involving advisors as partners throughout a new platform’s development cycle is essential to ensuring maximal adoption. Too often advisors are brought into technology projects during late-stage development—long after significant decisions have been made. Instead, firms should seek out engaged and enthusiastic leaders within their advisor force to provide continuous feedback on the platform’s evolution.
Clients’ most valued aspect of their wealth management experience is personalized advice from a trusted partner. By equipping advisors with technology that fits their needs and those of the clients they serve, firms will be in a better position to compete in today’s digital world and meet the evolving demands of investors.