Tuesday Willingale is an account executive at Advicent, the financial planning technology provider of choice for nearly 100,000 financial professionals.
Technology is commonplace across the financial services industry and is seen as the best way to create and deliver financial advice. Some advisors, however, may feel that technology is replacing the human aspect of the client-advisor experience. While it is true that our industry is becoming more dependent on tech, technology is here to enhance relationships, not replace them.
Studies show that alongside the rapid increases made in FinTech innovation over recent years, clients continue to place a high value in the relationships they have with their advisors. According to Capgemini’s World Wealth Report (WWR) released in 2019, 86 percent of high-net-worth clients expressed a strong desire for their wealth manager to personally “understand my financial situations, needs and goals.” Additionally, Capgemini’s findings in their WWR from 2018 found that 55.5 percent of advisors do not feel very well connected with their manager.
These findings are key as clients are reducing the number of firms they work with (down from 2.6 in 2014 to 2.2 in 2018), thus creating opportunities for firms to win more assets under management (AUM).
Knowing that only about half of HNW clients feel well connected to their advisors, how can technology make a difference?
First and foremost, financial planning software exponentially improves productivity and efficiency. When an advisor is non-client facing, such as in the central planning model, these benefits are abundant, but what about when the advisor is client-facing?
More engaging client meetings
The answer is that by adopting a tool that helps cut down on previously mundane, time-consuming tasks, advisors have much more time to spend in front of their clients or prospecting new ones. Capgemini’s 2019 WWR found that 20 percent of a wealth manager’s time today is spent purely on administrative tasks. When introducing tools that enable rapid account aggregation and client portal functionality to accelerate the onboarding and up-keep processes, advisors can reclaim a sizable chunk of their valuable time. This can open doors to discovering additional client needs such as estate planning, business planning, and in the spirit of the holidays – charitable giving.
Further, advisors should look for unique planning tools that can transform client meetings into a much more collaborative and engaging discussion. Tools such as the NaviPlan Presentation Module enable advisors to provide clean, modern-looking presentations created from an easy-to-use platform.
Technology has fundamentally changed the financial advice industry. What's next?
Preparing for the road ahead
As we have mentioned before, financial planning is less about predicting the future and more about preparing for the unpredictability of life. As many clients look down the road, it can be difficult to see what will happen in five, 10, or 20 years in the future. Part of the job of an advisor is to provide a sense of assurance to their clients while being realistic and strategic to prepare for the many financial possibilities.
For instance, say a client has twins when only planning for one child – that can throw a wrench into their financial future. The same logic applies to a number of scenarios such as a client receiving less Social Security benefits, or unexpected layoffs. Using the NaviPlan scenario manager, advisors can walk their clients through a myriad of scenarios that would change their financial future. Adjustments can be made in real-time allowing the advisor to have a much more meaningful dialogue with their clients.
Instead of total automation of the financial planning process, FinTech is here to help alleviate common advisor pain points and more quickly enable what advisors do best: provide quality financial advice.
For more information on how NaviPlan is built for every firm’s planning strategy, click here.