Bernie Clark welcomed the attendees of Schwab Impact in Washington Monday morning by encouraging advisors to “start thinking about the next generation of clients,” which he also called “the now generation,” saying that “they’ll be harder to engage and will interact with you in different ways.”
Citing research from its just-released semiannual Independent Advisor Outlook Study (IAOS) of 800 RIAs, Clark said advisors expect that generation to employ “multiple advisors” and to “expect smart, intuitive, evolving technology” from those advisors. There will be increased competition for RIAs which, while “strong,” will also “validate the RIA model.”
That research found that advisors also expect competition will come from two new developments: large, regional RIA firms and online advice providers.
He also cited the latest IAOS study to point out that only 19% of advisors are under 40, and that advisors themselves recognize the “need for a more diverse workforce.”
As for Schwab’s technology initiatives, Clark said Schwab Performance Technologies has released in pilot form a white-labeled, mobile app for advisors’ clients called Schwab OpenView Mobile. Neesha Hathi, Schwab’s senior vice president for advisor technology solutions, noted in a breakout session later Monday morning that mobile technology was necessary to reach both the current crop of clients and the next generation, with some estimates suggesting that 80% of web browsing will be done on mobile devices by 2025.
OpenView Mobile will be more broadly rolled out, Hathi said, in the first quarter of 2014. It will provide clients with access to their Schwab accounts, along with other information that the advisor will be able to pick and choose depending on the clients’ needs and capabilities, all under the advisory firm’s name, not Schwab’s. It will be available for for both Apple and Android operating systems.