As 2017 draws to a close, it’s only natural that we begin thinking about what changes 2018 may bring to our industry.
Whenever I’m asked for predictions, I reflexively think of the Niels Bohr quip, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” That semi-joking caveat aside, my initial instinct about 2018 is that we’re going to see a much greater emphasis on implementation and execution, along with a commensurate dip in focus on innovation. New tools and solutions will enter the marketplace as they always do, but our interactions with advisors as of late point to an upcoming period where they will concern themselves more with fully realized usage of existing tools to address some of the challenges they’ve put off dealing with to this point.
Increased Focus on Cybersecurity
With the apparent delay of the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule until July 2019 (at the earliest), it looks like a lot of firms will focus more on dealing with cybersecurity issues in 2018. As one of the biggest threats to advisory firms, it’s only natural that advisors begin turning their attention in this direction, particularly with the freeing up of resources previously slated to deal with fiduciary rule compliance. Whether that means “taking the necessary precautions to minimize your office’s vulnerability to attempted cyberattacks” or talking with each of your technology vendors to ensure you’re comfortable with the level of security with which they treat your data, the recent data breach of Equifax only heightens the relevance of cybersecurity initiatives, such as the one just announced by cleverDome, moving forward.
Expanded Communication Solutions
The focus on client communication is not going away. An overriding concern for many in the not-too-distant past was the threat of robo-advisors and how they would chip away at client and prospect pools for living, breathing advisors. That fear turned out to be more hype than substance, but, rather than any inherent deficiencies of robo-platforms, that may be more due to:
a) the human tendency to value relationships with other human beings rather than turning it all over to the machines (for now) and
b) the incorporation of technologies with robo-like features to handle some of the simpler interactions with clients.