Educating Clients About Cyber Security Should Be Part of Your Role As an RIA

As a Registered Investment Advisor, your role is to help your clients make the best decisions for their finances. Of course, this primarily takes the form of financial advice and portfolio management, but you should also consider it part of your job to help protect your clients from the dangers involved in conducting financial business online. Most clients of RIAs are retirees who may lack much of the technical savvy of younger generations, and so need your help to understand cyber threats and how to stay safe. Here are a few things you can do as an RIA to protect your clients.

Create a Safe Internal System
Protect your internal system from hackers by always using encrypted portals for logins and for emails. Implement some strict guidelines for the creation of safe passwords – which should be changed regularly – and use security questions or pins to protect sensitive data. Beyond that, consult with an expert on cybersecurity to make sure there are no holes in your system. As we can see from high-profile data hacks, even large corporations are vulnerable to cyber criminals who always seem to be one step ahead. It pays to be ultra-prepared.

Establish Some Best Practices
There are plenty of guidelines and frameworks in existence to help businesses large and small protect themselves from attack and recover quickly if they are a victim of cyber crime, and lots of information out there for regular people to do the same. Do your research and establish some best practices you and your clients should follow if one of you gets hacked, and perhaps even consider creating a campaign designed to educate your clients about cybersecurity. Again, getting help from an expert will ensure you’re giving the right advice.

Make Sure Your Clients Are Aware of Common Scams
Scammers know that most retirees are not tech-savvy, and target the elderly because of that. Your clients need to be aware of common scams such as fake IRS emails, requests for personal banking information, and PayPal scams. You can educate your clients during one-on-one consultations or by developing online resources.

Cybersecurity is probably not your main preoccupation as an RIA, but you should know that cyber crime is a growing concern. As more clients become aware of these risks, there will be a greater demand for investment advisors who have already established best practices to keep their clients safe and who take the time to educate their clients.

 Carlos Coutin is Financial Services Technology Strategist at Envision Consulting, He is passionate about RIAs and entrepreneurship, something that led him in his quest to advise people like him, who want to make the best possible tech decisions without stress and with intelligence. Visit his website at You can email Carlos at: and follow him on Twitter @carlos_coutin.

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