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3 Ways to Become a ‘Techno-Advisor’

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Forget robo-advisors. A new term may soon take over the industry: “Techno-Advsior.”

“Typically you see an advisor who is that high-touch, low-tech financial advisor, and that’s really where you a majority of advisors sit today,” said John Anderson, head of Practice Management Solutions at SEI Advisor Network, during a Web seminar. “On the further end of the spectrum you see the robo-advisor; that’s the pure algorithmic, no-human-interaction, completely online, completely user technology.”

SEI Advisor Network, which provides outsourced services and other wealth management solutions to more than 6,100 advisors who have $48.9 billion under management, defines a techno-advisor as a “new breed of professional who uses technology intelligently to deepen client relationships.”

“One of the most critical things for an advisor to do: Outsource almost everything you can do, except for that client relationship,” said John Anderson, head of Practice Management Solutions at SEI Advisor Network, during a Web seminar.

A Web seminar from SEI Advisor Network, titled “Finding Your Inner Techno-Advisor,” focused on three ways advisors can use technology for scaling purposes.

“Your clients are not shying away from technology today,” Anderson said. “They’re using technology, they’re engaging technology and they’re wanting advisors to actually participate in that technology as well.”

Video Conferencing

1. Video Conferencing

SEI found that there are several advisors already using video conferencing tools. In fact, 54.5% of advisors in the SEI survey report using video conferencing “only with specific clients who prefer to meet online.”

Raef Lee, head of New Services and Strategic Partnership at SEI Advisor Network, thinks this number has increased in recent years.

“Video conferencing has been around in our industry for the last six or seven years; however we’ve been seeing advisors really step this up in the last couple years,” Lee said during the webinar. “And why is that? They’re doing it because clients are now asking them for this. Clients are asking their advisors to communicate to them in different ways. Also, advisors are getting comfortable with this technology. It’s been around awhile and it’s getting easier and easier to use.”

However there are still a large number of advisors not using this technology. According to an SEI survey, about 31% of advisors do not use video conferencing tools. In fact, nearly 12% report having never heard of video conferencing software and about 18% of advisors say “I will never use video conferencing software as I want a more personal client interaction.”

But they may want to rethink that.

Based on SEI Consumer research, many clients would be comfortable discussing a range of financial matters in an online meeting with their advisor.

The top three topics that affluent U.S. households are the most comfortable with include: goal planning (40% of millionaires and 36% of mass affluent), investment performance (55% of millionaires and 47% of mass affluent) and investment proposals (43% of millionaires and 31% of mass affluent).

More on this topic

Online Scheduling

2. Online Scheduling

According to Lee, online scheduling is still new technology to advisors. SEI finds that nearly 70% of advisors don’t use scheduling software.

The software can have its advantages, like saving time for everyone by cutting out the back-and-forth emails and phone calls.

“It allows your clients to initiate and book your appointments with you online, with a minimum number of emails and phone calls to do it,” Lee said.

Affluent households are already adapting to online scheduling technology.

An SEI survey looked at the percentage of U.S. affluent households who prefer to book and confirm meetings online and found that 38% of mass affluent households and 41% of millionaire households like booking meetings online and 37% and 49% respectively like confirming meetings online.

Digital Estate Planning

3. Digital Estate Planning

“If someone dies, the last thing a family wants to do in the grieving of someone who’s passed away is mess around trying to find accounts and usernames and passwords,” Lee said during the webinar.

Clients interact online through social media, email accounts, blogs and websites owned, and photo- or video-sharing sites – not to mention bank, brokerage, retirement plan, credit card, loan and insurance accounts with online access.

Digital asset management ensures one secure place for information about an individual’s digital life.

“This is a service that can give you a much better insight into your client,” Lee said. “There are software that allows you or the advisor to manage this. This allows you to have a sense of how digital or technical your client is.”

— Check out Don’t Let Clients Take Their Passwords to the Grave on ThinkAdvisor.