While taking a wait-and-see approach to social media, three advisors at Fidelity’s InsideTrack event in Washington Tuesday said they were, however, honing their internal and external technology strategies.
During a session with tech guru Bill Winterberg as moderator, three advisors noted that while their firms were “strong” adopters of technology, they wouldn’t classify their firms as being on the cutting edge.
Cynthia LaRue, chief operating officer of SOL Capital Management, said her firm was definitely an “aggressive” adopter of technology. “We’ve gone through a number of [technology] stages rapidly,” with a focus on “maximizing the ROI” of technology,” she said. “Now we are optimizing and integrating platforms to achieve a much more seamless approach, internally and externally.”
Like LaRue, Jordan Smyth, managing director of Edgemoor Investment Advisors, and Peter Jespersen, portfolio manager with Solamere Advisors, are focusing most of their tech efforts on customer relationship management (CRM), portfolio management and financial planning software.
Fidelity’s 2013 RIA Benchmarking Study found that most advisory firms were dissatisfied with their CRM and that the highest performing firms appeared to take a pragmatic approach to technology, “reporting strong, but not cutting-edge” technology environments.
As Mathias Hitchcock, vice president of practice management and consulting for Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, noted during a separate session on harnessing technology effectively, the benchmarking study found that only 12% of high-performing firms said they invested “aggressively” in technology and that their technology environment was “cutting edge.” Instead, he said, 74% of high-performing firms described their technology environment as “strong.”
Said Hitchcock: “You don’t need to have a cutting-edge tech environment to be a high performer.”
When asked what prevents their firms from leveraging technology, Hitchcock said Fidelity’s benchmarking survey found firms cited a “lack of people to support the technology” as well as “lack of skills and training” around technology.