As Envestnet wound down its Advisor Summit in Austin on Thursday, key executives shared their vision of what the office of the future is set to look like, and how that office can drive client engagement and business growth for advisors.
“This is a game changer,” said Bill Crager, head of Envestnet wealth solutions, before a crowd of 100 or more attendees in the exhibit hall.
What makes a game changer, according to wealth-tech consultant Gavin Spitzner, is the way it directly engages clients.
“It’s like what [blogger and advisor] Michael Kitces said in his talk here [on Wednesday]. It’s the Build-a-Bear model,” Spitzner explained.
“You can charge … more and get the client to do more of the work, if you give them more experience and interaction … like playing with sliders or trackbars, for instance, talking with their family members and having more complex legacy discussions,” he added.
To show what such interactive tools can do, wealth-tech innovator Edmond Walters demonstrated Apprise Labs’ latest retirement, cash flow and estate planning software on a large Dell touchscreen.
“This means presentations with no more paper,” Walters explained. “No one [else] can do this.”
(Envestnet and its just-acquired partner MoneyGuide/PIETech helped form the innovative venture in January.)
With a bit of data entry, “A husband and wife can — in 30 seconds — see their income sources … over a 12-month period. All the details are there. It’s pretty amazing,” Walters said.
The tech executive reminded the audience that clients “want an engaging experience” and not one involving paperwork. Clients “want to see how good you are” as an advisor at walking them through real-life issues, he added, “not at talking about products.”
“Advisors can talk with clients about downsizing their homes, selling a business, etc. Then clients can [immediately] see the impact of such decisions on the screen. … These are the tools of the future,” Walters added.
Kevin Hughes, chief growth officer of MoneyGuide, then showed the crowd the firm’s myBlocks platform. “Most Americans do not have a financial or retirement plan,” he said. “This is how to engage with them … on a screen that is familiar to them.”
The myBlock touchscreen has topics like Social Security and college loans that dynamically illustrate what income streams or payments will look like over the next five, 10 or more years and how clients can adjust these flows.