Technology Solutions for Investment Management

L-R: David Edwards, Heron wealth; Jennifer Weber, weber Asset manaagement; andrew altfest, altfest personal wealth; mike heburn, level financial advisors; jeff sears, nine dynamics

L-R: David Edwards, Heron wealth; Jennifer Weber, weber Asset manaagement; andrew altfest, altfest personal wealth; mike heburn, level financial advisors; jeff sears, nine dynamics

David Edwards joined a panel discussion “Technology Solutions for Investment Management” this past Thursday February 7th at the IC Summit for RIAs in New York City.  Heron Wealth is recognized for leading the wealth advisory profession in adopting technology to enhance the client experience.

  • What has been the most valuable technology investment at your firm in the last 5 years? At Heron:

    • The adoption of eMoney for financial planning, and Redtail CRM to manage all aspects of a client’s financial life.

  • What are the top three “words of caution” or advice on “technology risk management”, that you can give as others to assess their options to develop or deploy new technology solutions at their firm?  At Heron:

    • Technology leads from the top.  If the CEO won’t use the Client Relationship Management (CRM) system, no one will use the CRM

    • Never automate a stupid procedure (e-Signature is a stupid procedure)

    • Limit major tech upgrades to one per year – assume that team members will experience a 50% increase in workload during the conversion and parallel testing processes.

    • Upgrading adviser technology is like swapping out the cylinders in your car’s motor while the engine is running.  Diagram systems at your firm and the data flows and processes that connect these systems. This diagram show what must be done to ensure smooth turnovers.

  • What do you view as the most urgent required technology investment at your firm in the near term?

    • How to make client on-boarding and routine operations an Amazon/Tesla/Netflix experience.  At present, clients must laboriously fill out paper or PDF forms, which are error prone and frequently delayed. e-Signature is not the answer.  Betterment and Fidelity.com have shown the way with paperless processes.

    • Why can’t wealth advisers have the same for their clients?

  • State of Robo advisors today. Interested to know who utilizes some form of Robo-advisory technology/services in their daily operations.

    • Robos are not the threat to advisers that was hyped several years ago.  At a modern wealth advisory, the investment process is about 20% of what we do for clients.  80% of the work is financial planning, tax planning, estate planning and “behavioral coaching.”  The ability of the FinTech industry to replace human advisers is significantly hampered by 1970’s era data structures.  Amazon, American Express, Facebook can apply AI to sleuth out relationships because the data is billions of high quality records.  No custodian or vendor today can match that data in the the wealth advisory space.