Technology continues to mold and shape our world at an ever-increasing speed. Smartphones, tablets and iPads are now common household items, and more and more goods and services are becoming accessible worldwide via cloud-based platforms. The financial industry is no exception to this, and the digital revolution is rapidly transforming the way that financial advisors are able to run their practices and service their clients. Some of the latest tech trends that advisors need to stay on top of in order to remain competitive include:

  • Mobility: A growing number of clients want to be able to view and access their money from anywhere. Cloud-based account platforms can facilitate this and allow clients to manage their assets via computer, tablet or smartphone. Skype and video chat programs also allow advisors to have face-to-face discussions remotely and conveniently. These services will greatly appeal to younger clients who are comfortable with technology. They will also make life easier for advisors, who will be able to enter client data directly into their digital portal from their clients’ homes or other meeting areas. (For more, see: Top Tools Every Financial Advisor Needs.)
  • Integration: Advisors today need to have platforms that allow them to effectively combine all facets of their jobs into a single integrated workstation, as well as total connectivity between email, social media, client records and other databases so that information that is entered in any one place is automatically carried over throughout the entire system. This type of integration can allow advisors to produce customized portfolio analysis and link it to relevant news and other data with minimal time and effort. The individualized service that it provides can also help to bolster client satisfaction and loyalty. (For more, see: How to Be a Top Financial Advisor.)
  • Social Media: Advisors today almost have no choice but to develop and maintain a strong social media presence. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other similar sites can provide advisors with an excellent avenue for marketing and cultivating an online following as well as learn key details about their clients’ personal and professional lives. Of course, advisors need to make sure that everything that they post is cleared with their compliance departments and adheres to all regulatory guidelines. FINRA released a set of regulations for social media in 2013, and registered representatives need to familiarize themselves with them before creating an online profile. (For more, see: How Financial Advisors are Leveraging Social Media and Web Site Tips for Financial Advisors.)
  • Outsourcing: Many advisors are increasingly becoming forced to concentrate their practices in specialized areas such as stock options or estate planning in order to keep their competitive edge. But in order to do this effectively, many tasks, such as marketing, advertising or office decoration may need to be delegated to others who are more talented in these areas. Crowdsourcing has also become a new form of outsourcing for some advisors, and its popularity is likely to increase in the future as it boasts a much lower cost than hiring experts in some cases.
  • Cybersecurity: This trend lines up with both mobility and outsourcing as a key component of a successful modern advisory practice. It is vitally important to maintain adequate protection of client data in an age of hacking and identity theft, and failure to do so can result in astronomical liability and nightmarish consequences for both advisors and their clients. Advisors who are not highly proficient with technology are wise to hire an expert in this area in particular. (For related reading, see: Financial Advisors are Feeling Cyber-insecure and Educating Your Clients About Cybersecurity.)
  • Robo-Advisors: There are now many sophisticated computer programs that can manage client assets and perform such services as automatic portfolio rebalancing or effecting securities transactions that follow a specific plan. Although these programs are not capable of completely replacing human advisors, they can help to free advisors from having to manually perform many mundane tasks related to money management on a daily basis. (For more, see: How Financial Advisors Can Adjust to Robo-Advisors and Robo-Advisors and a Human Touch: Better Together?)

    The Bottom Line

    Mobility, security, freedom and integration are the new objectives that most modern financial advisory firms are shooting for in the digital age. Although the task of guarding client data will likely be a never-ending technological battle, it is a necessary one for those who intend to grow their practices and provide relevant services to their clients. (For more, see: Trends Challenging Financial Advisors and SEO Tips for Financial Advisors.)