3 takeaways from the Advicent Innovation Summit New York 2017

May 22, 2017 by Kyle Johnson

A speaker addresses attendees at a summit.

about the author:

Kyle Johnson

Revenue operations lead

Kyle provides revenue and sales analysis for all Advicent go-to-market teams. These analytics optimize Advicent pipeline forecasting, marketing strategies, and leveraged media channels to improve efficiency of sales operations. Kyle is interested in combining his three passions: tech, data analytics, and marketing, to drive success.

Late last week, Advicent held our sixth Innovation Summit in New York. The Advicent Innovation Summit brings together large financial advice institutions, independent financial advisors, FinTech consultants, thought leaders, and FinTech press. This year’s event was an amazing success due to our most content-rich speaker lineup ever. The summit featured speakers from InvestmentNews, Advicent, top FinTech consultants, IBM Watson Financial, and Collective. Here are three key takeaways from #AISNY17.

Advisors are purchasing software to improve workflows to free up professionals’ time to focus on other core activities.

Mark Bruno, associate publisher at Investment News, presented Investment News’ latest survey results from financial advisors. The presentation was full of amazing statistics showing trends in how financial advisors purchase technology. One of the trends highlighted in Mark’s presentation was the increase in advisors purchasing software to “improve workflows to free up professionals’ time to focus on other core activities.” From the previous survey in 2015, advisors’ consideration of purchasing technology in order to improve workflows has increased from 3 percent to 30 percent.

As Mark pointed out, “workflows” has certainly reached buzzword status with financial advisors; so, what is a workflow? A workflow is an internal office process that enables advisors and back office employees to work with the most efficiency to make productivity gains.

Advicent has certainly capitalized on this trend by providing customers with unparalleled, enterprise-ready workflow capabilities in our products. As part of our Compliance Blueprint, Advicent provides compliance workflows to help firms comply with the newest regulations. Even with the uncertainly surrounding the DOL rule, Advicent has found that our partners are gaining productivity through the implementation of workflows.

With the advent of robo-advisors and other disruptive innovations, it is important for incumbents to understand their competitive advantage when sustaining innovation.

Paolo Sironi, global thought leader at IBM Watson Financial Services, discussed how FinTech incumbents can beat the new disruptive technologies soaring into finance. Sironi’s inspiring presentation highlighted the difference between “disruptive innovation and sustaining innovation.” Disruptive innovations are cheaper solutions with lower quality than the current incumbents’ offerings. Sironi’s example of the disruptive introduction of the iPod sums up the difference between disruptive and sustaining innovation.

In 2000, Sironi purchased a new sound system for his home, he spent an impressive amount of money on his sound system as he wanted the highest quality. He ended up buying an expensive fiber optic cable to connect the speakers and the amp together for very little marginal gain in quality; however, the overall quality of his speaker setup was amazing.

In 2001, Apple introduced the iPod and it was immediately clear to everyone that the iPod was a great idea. It was simple, slick, and cheaper than your current sound system. But is the iPod better music? No! Disruptive innovation is a downshift in paradigm compared to the incumbent offerings.

Sustaining innovation is about a path for growth from your current advantage. In financial services, incumbents have the advantage of customer data. Leveraging the data to “know your client” allows the incumbent to beat the disruptor by providing top of the line quality that is unmatched by the disruptor.

Advicent recently introduced major updates to our client portal solution, including account aggregation and fact finding processes. These features allow an advisor to know their client. Account aggregation gives advisors the ability to know their client by knowing their financial habits, allowing advisors to gain held-away assets. Fact finding allows advisors to know a client’s assets and liabilities, the core of any financial plan.

Innovate or die. Build a culture in your company that rewards innovation.

Bianchi, CEO of Collective, gave the keynote speech on how she has inspired and been inspired to bring change throughout her professional and personal life. At a higher level, Bianchi talked about how to change a company’s culture: the biggest opponent of innovation.

While Bianchi’s presentation featured many impressive stories, her last point on creating a movement was incredibly inspirational. Bianchi brought up the example of leadership lessons from dancing guy (I encourage you to watch this video).

A leader must have the guts to dance alone and look absurd. By not caring about what others think, he or she empowers those around him to do the same, following this individual in their movement. What it takes, is a first follower to build the movement. The followers emulate the leader, empowering those around them, growing the movement exponentially.

Previously, Bianchi worked with Advicent’s George Fischer at E*Trade. Fischer, senior vice president of product & technology, joined Advicent at the end of October. When Bianchi described that the leader of a movement must have the courage to stand in the face of those who say “nay,” she was describing Fischer.

Fischer has been instrumental in changing the culture of Advicent, bringing about rapid change to our company as a whole. He holds the organization to the highest standard, expecting every decision to be driven by accurate and empirical knowledge of every aspect of our market. He has inspired and energized our organization in many ways, which he displayed in his presentation at the Advicent Innovation Summit.

The Advicent Innovation Summit in New York was our most content-rich Summit to date, featuring thought leaders from around the FinTech industry. Advicent looks to provide a high level of thought leadership at our events in order to provide all attendees, prospects or partners, with the highest level of value.

Great discussions were had and industry-changing ideas were shared at the Summit. Mark Bruno showed us why advisors are purchasing software. Paolo Sironi articulated how incumbents can beat the disruptive innovators. Kerry Bianchi showed us the importance of innovation and what it takes to build a culture based on it. We hope that you are able to apply some of the takeaways from the Advicent Innovation Summit to your practice.

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