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The Financial Advisor’s Challenge: Balancing Relationships and Efficiency

As a former financial advisor, one thing in particular stood out to me at this year’s SIFMA Private Client Conference: No one was talking about investing.
At the heart of the panels, roundtables and discussions I participated in, it was clear that real advisor value was being driven through client intimacy. Whereas 20 years ago, the core responsibility for an advisor was selling mutual funds and bonds, now they set up trusts, consult on real estate portfolios and business transactions, and provide advice on elder care. What rang true across the conference participants was the need to embrace scalable digital tools that enable advisors the capacity to provide all these differentiated, value-add services.

The Longevity Revolution

By 2030, one in five Americans will be in retirement age. As our population gets older, costs associated with longevity can drastically alter a client’s wealth profile, potentially making them susceptible to financial abuse. In response, advisors are now being asked to specialize in complex areas such as elder care, generational wealth transfer, and advising across multiple marriages, according to one of the panel sessions, “The Longevity Revolution: Is Your Firm Invested?”
In order to meet these growing demands, execs from SIFMA, Raymond James Trust, Hilliard Lyons, Wells Fargo Advisors and Northern Trust agreed that advisors must automate where they can to maintain capacity.
To avoid any suggestion of financial abuse of the elderly, there must be a reasonable effort to obtain the name of a trusted contact person. Building artificial intelligence-driven prompts that remind advisors to send a pre-built “trusted contact form” during these situations is precisely the type of workflow that industry-focused technology providers, like Hearsay, look to drive.

Empowering the Advisory Field

As advisors rise to these growing challenges, they also must balance demands from the home office. This year’s conference included a number of regional and complex managers from around the country, many of whom were eager to empower their advisors with the tools they need to be successful.
For this group, a few common pain points emerged:

  • How to recruit and retain top talent
  • How to activate home office programs at scale
  • How to manage compliance risk in their territories

There is a clear appetite for advisor productivity tools and technology that free up advisors’ time so they can focus on what really matters: creating the most value for their clients.

How are Top Advisors Embracing Digital?

With personalized communications tablestakes these days, where are the areas that are ripe for digital transformation?
During her keynote, Hearsay’s founder and CEO, Clara Shih, shared findings from conversations and on-site visits that our team held with thousands of advisors across the country. From those discussions, it was clear that top-performing advisors had four things in common:

  • Automate and delegate 1-to-many: Advisors that “autopilot” their top-of-funnel demand generation – by taking advantage of tools that dynamically post relevant content to business social media profiles and websites – saw meaningful efficiency gains.
  • Facilitate high-value 1-to-1: For conversations that require a deft personal touch, advisors that embrace a variety of digital channels, including social media, text, advisor websites and email, can engage with speed during critical money-in-motion moments.
  • Make compliance built-in: It is critical to integrate new technologies into existing supervision workflows to maximize advisor uptake and avoid unnecessary redundancy.
  • Capture data for actionable analytics: Digital tools that connect to a firm’s CRM or system of record not only increase the quantity and quality of data available, but drive advisor productivity by saving them from nearly one hour a day of manual data entry.

It was illuminating to hear leaders in the private client space say that managing portfolios is not where the most value is created for clients. Instead, it is the experiences that a financial advisor makes possible that will prove the difference. Ultimately, technology will play a critical role in transforming the business and how advisors are able to connect clients to what they want.

William Warren

William Warren is part of Hearsay's product marketing team, focusing on bringing a financial services perspective to our advisor-client engagement platform.

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