Seen as the premier source of insights on all things digital in the advisor space, Clara Shih is CEO and a founder of Hearsay Systems, which lets advisors and their firms use social media, websites, email and text messaging in efficient and compliant ways.
A Starbucks director since 2011, Shih has worked for Google, Salesforce and Microsoft. In addition to creating the first business application on Facebook, the Stanford and Oxford graduate has written several books, the latest of which is “The Social Business Imperative: Adapting Your Business Model to the Always-Connected Customer.”
(Related: FINRA Issues Social Media Q&A)
“We are standing at the crossroads,” said Shih at a recent social media event for financial services professionals. “We can complain that [technology] gives us more to do, but there are also opportunities ahead. The point is to stay relevant as firms look at the next generations [and take steps] to ensure that robo-advisors don’t take over.”
How can advisors make themselves stand out in a crowded and increasingly automated field? They must be accessible online – aka “be Googleable,” she says.
Social media can help advisors both attract and retain clients. “Nearly 2 billion people are active on Facebook, and high-net-worth investors spend more time on social media than others,” she said. “The more wealth individuals have, the more time they spend on social media. There is a positive correlation.”
In addition, data can be an advisor’s best friend, according to Hearsay, which processes some 100 million interactions involving 150,000 advisors and others and sorts this information to predict the highest-risk items. Its latest rollout, for instance, is a compliance platform that uses machine learning to prioritize the highest-risk offenses for supervision teams to track.
Speaking in mid-May at the kickoff for the yearly Hearsay Summit in San Francisco, Shih explained: “The iPhone was unveiled almost exactly 10 years ago. It’s hard to remember pre-smartphone times.”