Over the past several years, we have seen technology disrupt many businesses from Transportation to Fine dining. Now, some savvy financial planners and advisors are using technology as an asset to better serve their clients. Remember, most people are reluctant to embrace change but those who do, tend to thrive while those who don’t, get left behind. It’s just how the world works. Today’s financial planning industry is being driven by clients and investors who are tech-savvy, demand transparency, and are willing to embrace change much quicker than previous generations.
Meet The FlexGen Advisor:
To meet the needs of investors, a new generation of financial advisors – dubbed the “FlexGen advisor” – are embracing flexible processes and technology to better meet the evolving needs of clients. New industry findings provided exclusively to me from the 2018 Fidelity Financial Advisor Community — FlexGen Study, a survey of 458 advisors co-developed with eMoney, show that today’s financial advisor can either challenge conventions and adopt flexible processes, or risk falling behind.
eMoney is a planning-led wealth management platform with nearly $2 trillion in assets on the platform from 3 million investors. I spoke with Ed O’Brien, CEO of eMoney, who explained that financial advisors are now approaching wealth management as a much more collaborative process with their clients, choosing to focus on goals-based planning that both challenges convention and is forward thinking. O’Brien believes that above all else, clients value peace of mind. With that in mind, here are three things you should know about today’s financial advisor that may surprise you:
Tech Is An Investment, Not An Expense
In today’s world, advisors who embrace technology have the upper hand because it gives them an edge when they advise their clients. Advisors who invest in technology are able to use it as an opportunity to better serve their clients, increase client retention and increase their earning power. Technology allows for more collaboration with clients and creates a clearer path for goals-based planning that is essential to younger investors. According to O’Brien, “The modern advisor – the ‘FlexGen advisor’ – that embraces technology outperforms your traditional wealth manager – growing their number of clients by 5% more than typical advisors, and their assets under management by 9-10% more.”
Another big trend in the financial planning and advisory world is to focus on future generations and not just the client that is on the other side of the table. Financial advisors are changing their business models to incorporate the needs of clients across multiple generations. While their remains a need for many traditional forms of advising, the ability to span multiple generations will ultimately lead to new opportunities for growth and business development.
Rejecting “One Size Fits All”
Traditionally, financial planning has been done through a relatively narrow lens – a first time client meets in an advisor’s office, where they sit for hours and discuss income, assets, spending habits, and more – culminating in a document with your “retirement number” and a check-in from your advisor every 6-12 months. This model is dated and does not keep up with today’s interconnected world. Modern investors have access to more information than any other generation in history and they know how to use it. That’s why adaptable business models allow for advisors to cater to the needs of diverse groups like women, millennials and minorities. Advisors are doing everything they can to deviate from a ‘one size fits all’ approach – developing interactive or visual reports for clients, using video conferencing, sending updates via social media, and even texting those that rely on less traditional forms of communication. These touch points allow for a stronger, more personal relationship that develops trust and increases client retention.
These are just a few ways technology is improving the advisor/planning experience. Just like anything in life some will use it and some will not. The key is to make sure you are getting the level of service that works for you and that your needs are being met. If not, you know what to do.