Trends in 2015 All Advisors Should Know

By Jud Mackrill, Orion Advisor Services on Thursday, January 8th, 2015

1.  Looking back, what were your thoughts on portfolio accounting software for this year?
Portfolio accounting software moved forward in 2014 in putting a larger emphasis on the user experience and design. This portion of the industry has typically been focused on the function of software and not on its form, but as business becomes increasingly aware that good design yields better experience, portfolio accounting software providers have followed suit.
Orion updated the interaction of users with its software by moving away from a desktop application built around menu-based navigation and instead launched an app driven interface that is intimately familiar to anyone who has used a smartphone, which is almost everyone in business now. The focus on design lends itself to streamlined training and more usability, two elements that are not only an emphasis for portfolio accounting, but all software and business websites.
Giving advisors the ability to connect with their clients online was another point of emphasis in the past year. As more providers began offering branded mobile apps to their clients, it become apparent that providers are recognizing that advisors no longer can expect to rely on face to face communication, and must give their clients more options for interacting with their advisors and their accounts.
2. Looking forward, what do you see as the emerging trends for 2015?
Trends in 2015 will focus on giving advisors the ability to meet their clients’ needs online and build an online advisory channel. As the popularity of “robo advisors” grows and pulls in more assets, advisors will continue to look for ways to tap into its target market, especially younger investors, and building an online arm of their business is the best way to do so. The portfolio accounting system that offers built-in tools to allow advisors to gain market traction through online engagement with clients will be on the front end of emerging trends in the year ahead.
Orion has built up its services for its advisors throughout 2014 to give its advisors the best opportunity to connect with their clients and prospects online. The new Client Portal, redesigned Mobile App, and online new account opening tools released in 2014 form the basis that Orion’s advisors need to create their own online advisory business and automate attaining new assets, much like a “robo advisor” might, and capture assets they might not otherwise have access to acquiring.
3. How should advisors be planning to best position their firms?
Advisors need to make sure that they present themselves as modern, forward-thinking entities in 2015 so they can capture the next generation of wealth as it comes up. The way to do that is to present to clients how they can stay connected through a variety of online channels and access their accounts with easy to use tools.
Advisors need to offer their clients a mobile app and client portal at minimum so they can check all of their managed accounts, at any time. To further differentiate themselves from the competition, advisors are best served as giving clients a variety of means to interact with them; beyond email, text or phone calls, advisors should give their clients the ability to schedule meetings with them through their website or to involve their clients in a more intimate manner using new reporting methods like personalized video statements instead of the tried and true paper statement delivery.
Clients will want to see that their advisors are not only keeping up with modern trends, but accelerating ahead of them. Advisors who can offer new and exciting technologies to clients through their online channels will find themselves in the best place to experience growth possibilities in 2015.
Jud Mackrill oversees design and marketing at Orion Advisor Services @orionadvisor. He is passionate about building powerful tools to enhance the lives of advisors and transform their client experience. In addition, Jud works with advisors to help them build digital strategies to effectively grow their practices. 
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