Half of Advisors Now Use Tablet Devices: Schwab’s Hathi

Technology today is cheap, accessible and made specifically for RIAs, Hathi says

“What I want to do is explain how technology is currently impacting consumers,” Neesha Hathi, senior vice president of advisor technology solutions with Charles Schwab and Co. laid out in a tall order at the outset of an interview with AdvisorOne on Thursday at MarketCounsel’s Member Summit 2012 in Las Vegas.

Neesha HathiTechnology today is cheap, accessible, nimble and designed specifically for RIAs, Hathi (left) said. This represents an incredible opportunity for advisors, but they must focus in on three areas: the CRM, the cloud and mobility.

The metaphor she used was the human body, with the CRM as the brain, the cloud as the muscle and mobility as the personality.

“The CRM is the information management,” she explains further. “The cloud is the enabling technology, which means it can be used in different ways, and mobility is changing how the advisor can interact with clients.”

The mobility that’s now available through the use of social media and other tools has “raised the expectation levels for clients as to what they expect from advisors.”

“We spend a great deal of our time helping advisors to realize a ‘know me’ experience for their clients,” Hathi added. “What I mean is that the user experience should be all about the client, and not the advisor. With all they must deal with on a day-to-day basis, advisors rightly ask, ‘How do I do this?’”

She then cited a number of eye-opening statistics to illustrate how advisors are using technology, and how technology is changing the way they do business.

  • More smartphones than personal computers were shipped last year.
  • 50% of advisors in the United States use a tablet device, and 86% of them use an iPad.
  • 93% of online adults who have a financial advisor have a social networking account.
  • 25% of online adults have an interest in using their mobile device “as the main channel for their personal financial life.”
  • The number of small businesses that use cloud computing will triple over the next three years.

“Technology affects advisors in more than just the obvious ways,” she said. “For instance, how will firms attract younger talent? Most young people will just expect firms to utilize tablets. So the effects are all-encompassing.”

The continued movement toward a paperless industry was another trend Hathi cited.

“Just a few years ago, advisors would throw up roadblocks to going paperless by saying their clients still wanted paper statements. Today, they tell their clients they are going paperless, and to let them know if they still want hard copies. That opt-out versus opt-in has been huge for the movement to paperless.”

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