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You Need a Proactive Regulatory Approach to Advisor Texting – Here's Why

Webinar Summary

“It’s only a matter of time before regulators go after companies that are outside of compliance.” This is one of the key takeaways from Mitch Avnet, of Compliance Risk Concepts, from our joint November 7th webinar ‘Designing a Proactive Regulatory Approach to Advisor Texting.’
While the above quote may be one of the most provocative, Avnet discusses several important aspects for compliance and supervision professionals to consider regarding text messaging for business.
Avnet notes that financial advisors are typically very client service oriented people. Because of this tendency, text messaging continues to be a very effective communications channel for advisors. Often, texting is the most effective way to confirm or schedule meetings, send birthday greetings, or just stay top of mind with their clients.
As text messaging continues to become more and more common in the industry, compliance and supervision teams have responded by having advisors regularly certify that they are not using text messaging that violate firm policies. While this certification is a good step, it’s not sufficient to mitigate the risk to your firm. As stated above, sooner or later, regulators will go after companies that are outside of compliance. Avnet goes on to say, “Firms can either design and enforce policies and procedures now, or they can expect to pay later.”
A proactive regulatory approach is recommended by Avnet as the best way to neutralize the risks of text messaging for financial advisors. Luckily, there are several compliant texting solutions on the market, including Hearsay Relate, to help compliance and supervision teams monitor text messaging without adding to their workload.
Another key point that Avnet mentions is the reasonableness standard for advisor texting. As new technologies become available that help compliance and supervision teams capture, retain, and monitor text messaging, regulators will begin to enforce regulations that apply to business text messaging.
Again, Avnet strongly believes in designing a proactive approach to these inevitable regulations as the best way to ensure that the risks associated with business text messaging are reduced. Teams should also begin by extending their electronic communications policies to include text messaging and begin monitoring and surveilling this emerging communication channel for financial advisors.
To learn more about designing a proactive regulatory approach to advisor texting, please click here to access the webinar recording.

Dreamforce 2017: Customization at Center of Fourth Industrial Revolution

This week, companies from nearly every sector of the economy descended on our hometown of San Francisco for Dreamforce 2017, the annual tech extravaganza hosted by Salesforce. Over the course of four packed days and in 3,200+ sessions, 170,000+ attendees learned how digital consumers are forcing brands to evolve their engagement models, and what efficiencies cloud applications can unlock … all while having some fun with their colleagues.
Hearsay’s founder and CEO, Clara Shih, spoke at the conference along with headliners that included former First Lady Michelle Obama; IBM chairman, president and CEO Ginni Rometty; Citi Global Consumer Banking CEO Stephen Bird; and Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff.

Hearsay founder and CEO, Clara Shih, speaking at Dreamforce 2017

Throughout the conference, several themes emerged based on sessions I attended. One of the primary discussions was around how we are in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the rapid digitization of information. There are now more than 5,000 marketing technology point solutions today, and the proliferation of available options has added complexity for any industry hoping to survive this Revolution, including financial services.

Putting the “Custom” in Customer Experience

Due to the regulated environment they operate within, financial services firms are struggling to adopt these technology solutions. However, if firms are able to put their customers at the center of their sales and marketing efforts, there are huge opportunities available. By creating customer-centric client journeys, firms can create real value for their customers that helps drive long-term client relationships – a critically important KPI for financial services companies.
One way companies like Citi are helping to navigate these pitfalls is through the use of cloud technologies. According to Stephen Bird, Citi has found that by integrating all of their internal data across their call centers, social media data, and other customer data, it is in a much stronger position to find innovative ways to build stronger customer relationships. These integrations are helping power customized advice for their customers based on life stage and goal-setting.

A Dreamforce session presented by New York Life discussed how the firm has forged strategic alliances, including a multi-product Advisor Cloud partnership with Hearsay, to address its needs.

Another interesting insight that I learned is that financial firms have realized that their customers are expecting user experiences that are similar to Google, Amazon and Starbucks rather than other financial firms. This shift in client expectations highlights why solutions like Hearsay are particularly attractive to many advisors. By enabling client communications across multiple channels at scale, advisors are able to deliver truly differentiated and personalized client experiences.

The Future of Finserv: Robo + Human

A few years ago, many in the financial services industry were nervous about the rise of “robo-advisors.” Based on Dreamforce this year, it appears many companies are starting to embrace this technological trend as additive to the human touch. In order to scale across their entire books of business, advisors will need to leverage automation to help build these relationships. Those that do not adopt these types of technologies will be left behind.
I came away from Dreamforce 2017 very excited about the possibilities that these technologies can unlock for financial services. By enabling client-centric moments that matter, financial services firms will be well positioned to win in this new environment.