Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion during Pershing’s annual INSITE conference on how advisors can leverage internal and external data to make more informed decisions. Here are some of the key takeaways and best practices the panel shared to help advisors serve clients, grow their business and improve efficiency.
One of the first trends we discussed was how easy data reporting now is for all advisors and employees of a firm compared with just a couple of years ago. Hopefully, gone are the days where your firm would have a specific “data expert” whose primary role was to create and run reports, and deliver the results to the interested parties. Sometimes it would take days or weeks to get your request completed. With today’s technology, each person in your firm should be able to create and access a library of data reports and tools specific to their role without having to rely on other staff resources.
However, firms should encourage employees to share their report results with other employees. You might be surprised by the information and insights gained from data reports created by other departments. Similar to the back-up camera in your car, you don’t know how helpful it is until you use it for the first time — and then you can’t live without it!
Overall client engagement is another key takeaway as it relates to the evolution of data reporting. First, think about all the reporting that you currently deliver to your clients. How much of this information was driven by your firm’s ideas versus direct client requests? If your answer is that client reports are based more on your firm’s direction, then there is a great opportunity to make your data reporting experience more interactive for your clients.
In addition, as your firm grows and more of your clients move through various life stages, you have an opportunity to use real results in your data reporting. For example, instead of using trend data for how new retirees spend money in their first years after leaving the workforce, consider aggregating and sharing the data showing what your firm has experienced specifically with clients in this category. It is also important to think about non-traditional areas that your firm can track and report back to your clients. Areas to consider could include health care and travel expenses; these are just examples of data points you could track with the help of an account aggregation tool.