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Financial advisors know that their race is a marathon, not a sprint. While patience is a common practice when looking at investment performance, the same approach should not apply to business operations, particularly technology. To remain competitive, adopting new technologies is imperative. In today’s wealth management industry, the imperative is greater than ever for two reasons - ever-changing technology and consumer and demographic changes. Advisors can’t rest on their laurels with legacy or outdated technology, as current clients, and especially the rising generation of clients, not only expect but demand digital tools as a strong component of their financial advice relationship.

By 2020 Millennials, classified as those born after 1980 and before 2004, will become the largest demographic in America with one out of three adults in the United States identifying as a member of Generation Y. This new generation is independent thinking, skeptical, tech savvy and highly mobile. Today’s Millennial investors are reaching life milestones, such as acquiring mortgages and starting families, so they typically do not fit the “ideal client profile” for most advisors. But we should add “yet” to that statement as they are ripe to become future clients, poised to control over $28 trillion in assets by 2020. (For more, see: Money Habits of the Millennials.)

This provides financial advisors with an incredible opportunity to cater to this growing population and convince Millennials that a focus on investments should be a top priority. Technology is the key for advisors to do this successfully, both to cater to the demographic and to keep their cost of service down.

According to a 2016 study by global consulting firm Cap Gemini2, 68% of high-net-worth investors expect their future wealth management relationship to be digital. Furthermore, nearly three-quarters of investors under the age of 40 say they are comfortable working with a virtual financial advisor.

Once advisors are able to convince Millennials of the importance of investing and of financial education, they must listen to their Millennial investors and work to cater to their preferences. In order to attract the attention and sustain the confidence of the Millennial investor, advisors must be transparent and technologically savvy.

Millennials expect financial providers to disclose information to them in an accessible format, and today, accessibility means mobile. Gone are the days of paper reports, as the tech-savvy generation expects updates in real time and the ability to access information across multiple channels. Here are four ways firms can show they understand today’s technology requirements from these rising investors:

1. Make Information Available on Multiple Devices

Your firm’s technology must be capable of delivering your clients’ financial data anytime, anywhere, to any device. Furthermore, meetings need not be in person. Today’s clients value quick touch-bases via web meetings. (For more from the SS&C Learning Institute see: Choosing the Right Software for a New Wealth Management Firm.)

2. Provide a Complete Picture of Your Client’s Assets

You should be able to report on all your clients’ assets, managed outside your firm. Let clients know you see the bigger picture, and that you’re focused on their success.

3. Tell Your Story With Dynamic Visuals

Tell your story using elegant, graphical and configurable dashboards and dynamic reports.

4. Be the Center of Your Client’s Investing Universe

Use your clients’ preferred channels of communication to remind them of the value you provide. Advisors today are on social channels and many are adopting text as a means of communicating.

Successful advisors are using service providers with a strong technology platform to ensure they stay ahead of the curve with mobile, client portals, digital communication channels and more.

More than ever, firms need to embrace technology solutions that help drive collaboration between advisors and their clients. According to Celent5, the following trends are only just getting started in the industry:

  • Advisory platform configurations that enable advisor and end investor to work together seamlessly.
  • Mobile and tablet platforms that provide a “desktop-on-the-go” and anytime transparency for clients.
  • Automated investment platforms for the end user and advisor.
  • Omnichannel digital advisory platforms that allow wealth managers to quickly and efficiently update content across channels.

Furthermore, industry study after industry study highlight that advisors who adopt leading-edge digital technologies have higher satisfaction, higher revenue and higher productivity.

What’s not to like? Ignoring technology’s rapid evolution and the requirements of Millennial investors is at one’s own peril. (For more from the SS&C Learning Institute see: How Fintech Is Disrupting Wealth Management.)

This article was written by Steve Leivent, Senior Vice President, Advisory, SS&C Advent. The SS&C learning institute provides online courseware on over 200 subjects of interest to financial services professionals and students. You can learn more here about the SS&C Learning Institute’s curricula for companies, universities, and individuals.

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