More and more independent registered investment advisors are adapting their businesses to fit an increasingly mobile and tech-savvy world, according to results of a survey of registrants at Schwab Advisor Services’ SOLUTIONS workshops this past summer.
Neesha Hathi, senior vice president of Schwab Advisor Services, stopped by ThinkAdvisor’s New York office to discuss survey results and the impact technology can have on an advisor’s business and the client experience.
More than half (53%) of RIA staff now view technology as a front-office function.
“For many years, I think most RIAs thought of it as a back-office function,” Hathi said. “They realize now they need to create this much more interactive experience with their investor because that’s what [investors] are seeing in every other aspect of their life, and if they don’t create that experience then they’re going to be seen as dated or old school.”
Schwab’s SOLUTIONS workshops were one-day, technology-focused events offered in 12 cities in July and August. The survey is a result of responses from more than 1,000 RIA firm staffers across all participating cities.
“It’s pretty profound that we’re finally getting over half of them saying it’s a front-office function because, you know, they used to think of it as a portfolio management system [or] ‘it will help me run my office,’” Hathi said. “They’re not thinking of the interaction with the client.”
With mobile technology gaining prominence, survey results showed that more than two-thirds of participants said they either already feel mobile technology’s impact at their firm or that they expect to within the next three years.