Trends and Advice for 2015: Sue Glover

By Susan Glover, President, Susan Glover & Associates, LLC on Wednesday, January 21st, 2015


Looking back, what were your thoughts on technology for the year?  Three areas are:

Fear of cloud technology is easing as advisors are more comfortable with replacing their server-based solutions with cloud-based technology. Advisors are better educated on the benefits and risks of moving to the cloud. Technology tools that provide added-value to clients are gaining traction – especially those that provide financial modeling and “what-if” analysis on portfolios such as stress testing and risk management. Financial modeling tools have been around for a long time in the financial services industry and advisors are now realizing how these tools can be used to assist clients in understanding and managing their portfolios. 2014 also saw an increasing number of technology choices available to advisors. However, the level of understanding of those choices and differences between products is still an issue. Many advisors still have a difficult time evaluating and deciding on the right technology. Reasons include advisors that have difficulty defining their needs and vendors that don’t explicitly differentiate their products from their competitors (advisors hear the same sales-pitch.)

Looking forward, what do you see as the emerging technology trends for 2015?  With an understanding that “robo-advisors” are here to stay, advisors will place more emphasis on using the firm’s own technology to better serve the whole client base. Advisors will look at their own technology structure and better integrate technology into their practice management and client services areas. This includes moving beyond the basic functionalities provided by core technologies - CRM, financial planning, portfolio reporting, and re-balancing. Technology is there to provide clients with an exceptional client service experience – it just needs to be put to good use.

How should advisors use technology to best position their firm?  Technology alone will not put you at a competitive advantage. Everyone uses technology. If you use the same software as other advisors and deliver the same client reports as other advisors, then you are not using technology to differentiate yourself – you are using technology to keep up with your peers.   How you use technology and what you do with the data and information will differentiate your firm. Analyzing client behavior is just as important as analyzing client reports. Examples include trends in unusual transactions, client portal usage, and upcoming retirements. This will enable you to develop strategies which may lead to enhanced client relationships.  Don’t stop at clients. You should also use your technology to analyze data in all areas of your business including the success of your latest marketing strategy, portfolio risk management, and the firm’s strategic planning and budgeting process.
 
Sue Glover is President of Susan Glover & Associates, a consulting firm that ensures advisory firms have the information they need to make the best decisions for their clients and their own firm. With over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, she assists advisors in evaluating, selecting implementing, and using technology. Visit her website at www.susangloverassociates.com. You can email her at sue@susangloverassociates.com.



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