“Advisors used to be able to avoid the penalties associated with being late adopters of technology; however, that is no longer the case,” said Joel Bruckenstein, industry technology guru and publisher of the T3 series of newsletters and conferences.
Bruckenstein was leading a special technology session at the Shareholders Service Group (SSG) conference last week in sunny San Diego that consisted of 16 leading advisor technology companies providing a series of “TED” talks on the latest industry trends, opportunities and innovation headed the industry’s way.
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“Consumers today expect their financial services provider to deliver the latest technology, and if you as an advisor are not, the chances of you surviving are not looking good,” Bruckenstein warned the 300 attendees.
The good news, according to Bruckenstein, is that advisors are stepping up their investments into new technology to stay current. Citing the results of a recent SSG survey, the No. 1 category for new investments by advisors this year is in technology.
Teeing up the technology TED talks, Bruckenstein gave his best advice on how to evaluate the many new products, platforms and vendors focusing on developing the key tools, solutions and resources to help advisors run a better business.
“Before any technology purchase, you need to have a strategy for what you are ultimately trying to accomplish,” he said. Key questions to ask vendors, according to Bruckenstein, are what level of integration the new system will have with your existing technology as well as with your custodian. “You should determine what integration actually means,” he advised. “A simple file download or single sign-on is not integration these days. True integration is when data is seamlessly passed back and forth and can update records in connected systems.”
Bruckenstein also urged advisors to do a security review of their new system and to not rely purely on demos. “To truly evaluate a system, you need to get ‘hands on’ experience in order to get a good understanding for its capabilities and how you will use it your business.”
Following Bruckenstein’s opening remarks, 16 leading vendors presented rapid-fire TED-style talks on a wide range of advisor technology and industry issues. In a twist to most conference technology sessions, Dan Skiles, president of SSG, designed the session to be more thought provoking and inspirational, rather than just a series of demos. This format was well received by attendees as the tech executives provided key insight from their point of views as technology developers on how the industry is changing and how technology will change the way advisors deliver advice in the future.