Investors are demonstrating an increased appetite for digital financial planning and portfolio management tools. In fact, Accenture research suggests that 77 percent of advisors have noticed an uptick in their clients’ desire for these types of digital solutions, with a majority of advisors expecting this trend to continue to grow in the coming years. However, integrating this type of technology is about more than responding to investor preferences; it provides an opportunity for advisors to position themselves, and their clients, for long-term success by employing the wide range of visually dynamic and customizable capabilities these tools provide. The tools can better equip advisors to engage clients in meaningful conversations about how these decisions are aligned with their financial goals.
More Visual Analytics Can Be Revealing
Digital technologies can, of course, also greatly benefit advisors themselves by letting them tap into the power of visually intuitive analytics during the portfolio creation process. This includes the use of portfolio modeling tools, which allow advisors to manipulate input factors, such as market conditions and investor risk expectations, to visualize potential impact on a portfolio in various market conditions. Moreover, solutions may allow advisors to zoom in and visually benchmark the historical performance of an individual strategy within the portfolio, providing another layer of informative analytic capabilities. Armed with the ability to visualize both narrowly and holistically historical performance and risk attributes of a portfolio, advisors will be well-positioned to make more informed portfolio decisions and select allocations that are best suited in helping investors achieve their long-term financial objectives.
In addition to simply fostering advisor-client engagement, investors benefit from visual models of various portfolio outcomes that allow them to reach deeper insights and thus communicate more effectively with their advisors. Some technology offerings even incorporate this visualization capability into goal planning, allowing advisors to clearly illustrate how factors like savings contributions and spending distributions can impact the investor’s progress toward their ultimate retirement or savings goals. Better-educated clients empowered with more in-depth background, can, in turn, better understand financial decisions as they relate to their desired goals. Through the use of intuitive visual analytics, they’re more likely to engage with their advisor regarding the financial plan and develop a trust for a long-term relationship with that advisor.
Clients Respond to Dashboards and an Education-Based Experience
Advisors should also consider leveraging solutions that allow them to convey these dynamic analytics to clients in the most effective and meaningful way possible through customizable dashboard capabilities. For example, advisors can use these types of technologies to strategically present the specific graphs and models that tell the story of the investor’ progress toward meeting their own unique goals. That way, advisors are able to facilitate constructive conversations, fine-tuned to the investor with the specific material being presented—something that can foster deeper client loyalty.
At the end of the day, research suggests that investors are more likely to engage with a well-tailored and education-based advisory experience than one that’s centered around investment returns alone. In a 2015 whitepaper from CEB Tower Group, 54 percent of almost 600 high-net-worth clients in the survey indicated that an advisory experience based on tailoring and teaching drives loyalty more often than any other offering, including investment returns (26 percent) and service (20 percent). To effectively demonstrate their value and build loyalty with investors, advisors should consider the ways in which dynamic technology can facilitate the advisor-client relationship.
Matt Matrisian is Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at AssetMark, Inc.