The gap between independent RIAs who are keeping up with evolving technologies and those who aren’t is widening. And that’s stunting growth for advisors who aren’t acting proactively to keep on top of a rapidly evolving marketplace.
At least that’s what Fidelity finds in a new study published Tuesday looking at industry trends in high-tech adoption. As part of its research into firms using the latest electronic tools – including everything from interactive website software to advanced CRM programs and integrated back-office systems – the custodian has developed a list of tech-savvy “eAdvisors.”
By upping his tech game, New York-based advisor David Edwards says he’s seen asset growth at his indie RIA jump more than 360% in the past six years. “The single biggest transition for me was going from doing everything myself to using technology to empower my staff to operate without me,” says the president of Heron Financial Group, which manages $295 million.
With a team of five support staffers, he’s making "a 100% commitment” to delegating responsibilities through greater use of a Redtail CRM suite.
For example, the veteran FA says he can now take notes on client orders and send them directly to his operations manager. After transactions are complete, Edwards and his crew automatically have a paper trail documenting their moves. So does the investor.
“I’m easily saving 10 hours a week by more effectively integrating this type of technology across our entire operations,” Edwards says. “And that’s giving me more time to talk to clients.”
Another productivity enhancer he’s implementing is greater use of his main financial planning software, eMoney, to aggregate data for new clients who might hold their assets at different brokerages. “We used to spend anywhere from two to four hours just entering various portfolio data – much of which could be obsolete a month later,” Edwards says.
Clients are telling him they really appreciate such a high-tech system. “What they’re judging us against these days,” Edwards says, “are the online experiences they’ve become used to at interactive service providers like Uber and Amazon.”