Who are the key stakeholders in determining the technology a firm utilizes, and what impact do the tools an advisor uses have on end client engagement?
These questions were at the heart of the panel discussion “Technology, Financial Services and the New Gatekeepers” held Monday at the T3 conference in Las Vegas, with a panel including Jeffrey Concepcion, founder and CEO of super OSJ Stratos Wealth Partners, and Steven Wallman, founder and CEO of Foliofn, best known for services including Folio Investing and the SRI Conference.
As advisory firms grapple with disruptive technologies such as robo-advice platforms, not knowing whether to embrace or differentiate from a growing array of self-service tools flooding the marketplace, Concepcion suggested that successful firms will become “bionic advisors,” leveraging innovative technologies where needed, especially for the increasingly millennial audience that won’t be bothered with the time it takes to interact with a live advisor.
The choice of technology solution — whether for CRM, planning, or practice management — is often fraught with peril. Panel moderator Matt Lynch, managing partner of the consulting firm Strategy & Resources, said that as a rule, six months after a tech rollout at an advisor firm, the new technology has a negative Net Promoter Score (NPS), meaning most users dislike the new tools.
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Firm like Stratos are adopting the “new gatekeeper” role, developing a staff of experts whose role is assisting in matching technology providers to advisory firms, with the goal of enabling better decision-making when it comes to applied technology throughout the practice. This enhances technology adoption in several dimensions, including facilitating build-or-buy decisions and providing guidance in modifying commercial off-the-shelf software to meet an advisor’s needs without building a solution from scratch.