Between the credit crunch and the relentless pace of technological innovation, the last few years have taught us that advisors are only as captive to their circumstances as they choose to be—and everyone needs to be able to roll with the punches.
At this point, advisors have almost complete control over every aspect of their business. They can replace the investment platform, switch custodians or broker-dealer affiliations, or swap out all their technology from the ground up.
Sometimes it’s the advisor who decides it’s time to make a change, and that’s terrific. More often, the motivating factors are unfortunately beyond the advisor’s control. Once-friendly vendors get acquired by hostile competitors. Legacy software packages stop getting the support they need or stop working entirely. Even the promotion of a key service rep can turn a great relationship into a problem that needs to be fixed as fast as possible.
Either way, change is universal and inevitable. Given that proposition, the best thing advisors can do is make sure their business is as flexible as possible, so when change comes, the process runs smoothly and any disruption is minimized.
Pack Your Data “Suitcase”
The core of your business, of course, is your clients and the files that represent your relationships with them.
Those files contain vast amounts of information, and that information is fragmented into competing proprietary formats and platforms, some of which might be around in a year or two, some of which won’t. When your data is tied to one of those formats, those accounts are effectively at the mercy of the vendor who maintains them. The more formats, the more vendors, which means more opportunities for something to go wrong and fewer degrees of freedom for you.
Wouldn’t it be great if your data could travel independently of all the clearing and custody platforms, reporting applications, asset management tools on which those files currently reside?