How much would you spend on a technology that would save you 10 minutes a day? That’s almost an hour per week and about one full week per year. What about technology that could add one new client per month? How about one that could keep you from losing one client every year?

Investing in technology is critical for a financial advisor’s success, both in productivity and client service. But which technologies are worth the investment? Here are my top technologies for financial advisors in 2017. (For more, see: The Biggest Tech Mistakes Financial Advisors Make.)

1. Secure Password Storage

Do you waste valuable time searching for passwords or login info on a daily basis? If you’re not already using a secure password storage software, I implore you to adopt a technology like LastPass to automatically store your passwords today.

LastPass is a password manager that attaches to your web browser. Once you log into your Lastpass account each day, your passwords for each site are automatically entered. You can store credit card and banking info, as well as generate secure passwords for new accounts and save them automatically. LastPass will save you minutes each day and hours each month, not to mention plenty of hassle and frustration. Their premium version is just $1 per month, so you can’t afford not to adopt this time saver today.

2. A Good CRM

Of course, you need a good CRM (customer relationship management) system to keep track of client and prospects. CRMs save you time and help you close more leads. What’s more, CRMs for financial advisors like RedTail are adding new features all the time to make their products better.

This year, Redtail is launching real-time secure text messaging for advisors to communicate with clients and staff. WealthBox now integrates with Riskalyze, Microsoft Office and eMoney Advisor to make life easy and efficient.

3. Financial Planning Software

Offering financial planning software is key for client retention and can help save you time because clients can better access and manage their own accounts. These tools help you offer more than investment management and focus on comprehensive financial planning, by allowing clients access to:

  • Budgeting tools
  • Spending analysis
  • Goal-based savings plans
  • Secure document storage
  • Scenario planning and decision making tools

Tools like eMoney and MoneyGuidePro both offer client login to view investment performance, reports, estate planning tools, “what if” planning and more. Which is right for you? Check out this comparison to learn more. (For related reading, see: Tech Trends Financial Advisors Must Stay Ahead of.)

4. DOL Fiduciary Rule Compliance Tools

As the Department of Labor (DOL) rule comes down the pipeline, IARs and RIAs will need to be sure their advice is in compliance with the new fiduciary standard. This means taking into account the fees charged on your clients’ investments and documenting that you’re acting in your clients’ best interests. Several companies have launched fee benchmarking software in recent months to help advisors evaluate the fees on their investments against industry averages.

Other advisor technologies companies are offering software to help create investment policy statements, build investment watch lists, assist with client monitoring reports and provide other essential fiduciary-related activities. You’ll want to check with your broker-dealer on their approved solutions, but IRA Fiduciary Optimizer is one good example.

5. A Robo Platform

When a client or prospect approaches you with an account lower than your minimum, what do you do? Smart advisors have a seamless, automated solution for opening, onboarding and managing these accounts using a robo platform like Betterment for Advisors. This tool guides your clients through a personalized account set up, features automatic trading, rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting, and lets clients set up their own automatic deposits and withdrawals.

6. An Online Calendar Scheduler

If you’ve ever set up a phone call with me, you know I’m fond of my virtual meeting scheduler. It saves me from going back and forth by email to find a time that works for everyone. It also allows prospects to get on my calendar quickly or during non-business hours, before their sense of urgency wanes.

For the advisors I work with, an online appointment scheduler helps them streamline their scheduling process, convert more leads and get more done during meetings. If you haven’t set up an online calendar, take 15 minutes to change your life today.

7. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the free, industry standard solution to view the traffic to your website. It connects to your website to monitor not only the traffic to your site, but also valuable data linked to those numbers, such as visitor behavior. Tracking your analytics will answer these questions:

  • How much traffic did your website get last month?
  • Which pages received the most traffic?
  • Which of your blog posts were the most popular?
  • How much of your traffic came from social media?
  • Where should you spend more marketing dollars?

Investing in the Right Technology

If your time is worth $200 per hour, you should be willing to invest up to $200 per month to save just 15 minutes per week. Under investing in technology can lead to a frustrating, unproductive business model. Embracing technologies that integrate with one another can allow you to get more work done from your home, your office and on the road.

Be choosy and demanding about the technologies you use in your firm and don’t be afraid to make changes when better alternatives come along. If you get stuck, hire a technology consultant to help you implement and master the best technologies for advisors to stay ahead of the curve. (For more, see: Top Tools Every Financial Advisor Needs.)

 

Claire Akin runs Indigo Marketing Agency, a marketing firm serving top independent financial advisors.

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