Securities America headquarters in La Vista, Nebraska

Independent broker-dealer Securities America says it has rolled out a texting option for its financial advisors and office staff.

“Texting is becoming the public’s communication channel of choice,” said Gregory J. Smith, the firm’s senior vice president of supervision, in a statement. “We’re excited our advisors can now text their client for quick, casual communication, rather than go through the lengthy process of email or phoning. Texting will help keep the advisors top of mind with their clients.”

Securities America says the texting capability took close to two years of planning and testing.

“We’ve known for some time that texting would become an important channel of client communication for our advisors,” explained Smith. “We concluded our internal research in October 2017. We then had a group of our advisors test the program, which they finished in December. The response was overwhelmingly positive.”

The IBD, which has roughly 2,200 affiliated advisors, is owned by Ladenburg Thalmann, which is also the parent company of Triad Advisors, Investacorp, KMS Financial Services and Securities Service Network.

Securities America announced the texting breakthrough about one week after Merrill Lynch, which has about 15,000 financial advisors, announced its texting launch. Both firms are using CellTrust technology for their respective programs.

Dan Grote, an advisor with Latitude Financial Group in Denver, took part in the testing phase of the texting program. He says that clients expect advisors to use the latest forms of technology to communicate with them.

“But most investors don’t understand the regulations that advisors work with,” Grote explained in a statement. “They expect to be able to communicate with us the same way they do with their spouse, friend and other professionals — … especially the next generation clients.”

Securities America advisors work with the CellTrust SL2 app. It captures the messages and stores them in the IBD’s archiving platform.

“If you’re an advisor trying to work with millennials, Gen Y or X, you’ll find a strong preference for text communications. Even baby boomers prefer to send a short, one-line text regarding trivial matters,” Grote said. “’Running late’ or ‘great article you posted today. I’d like to chat about it.’”

The firm adds that research has shown response rates are higher and response times are lower with text messages than with email. 

“We’re committed to providing our advisors with the technology they need to build deep and lasting relationships with their clients. We knew they would need to put texting into their toolbox,” explained Smith. “Today, they have it.”