The broker-dealer industry is going through a less-than-wonderful transition to a more automated and tech-connected world, according to many experts and insiders at TechLeaders 2013, a B-2-B conference. The annual conference, held each spring in the greater Dallas area, drew about 150 professionals. The event highlighted the multiple challenges faced by independent advisors and their broker-dealers in the face of rapidly changing technology, regulations and investor demands.
For one, there are generational issues at play. Take social media. “As valuable as social media is for client relations and for keeping up with clients’ families and milestones, it probably won’t be fully embraced by financial advisors for another 20 years,” said Peter Montoya, the event’s executive producer, in an interview. “It’s an age issue, and as the younger advisors age, you will see its use grow.”
For some broker-dealers, social media seems to be little more than a headache. “Why do we have to make ‘em do it?” asked one IT executive during a roundtable discussion. The answer, judging from a variety of responses in the crowd, seems to be that there is little choice. Montoya agrees.
“At the heart of this business are the client relationships,” said the Newport Beach, Calif.-based expert. “Some advisors say that, when they are selling their businesses, they are selling their client assets. But it really comes down to their relationships.
The use of social media can help strengthen relationships with long-term clients, he notes. Plus, it can help advisors find prospects and build business with new clients. “The model is not about cold calling anymore,” Montoya explained. “Now, it is social media. Again, it’s all about relationships.”