As advisors navigate through the coronavirus crisis and the resulting market volatility, they are grappling with unprecedented changes, but some of the changes — at least those on the technology front — can actually be used to their advantage, according to executives at six fintech firms.
For one thing, “video cannot be overstated” because it is an absolutely “invaluable” tool for advisors, especially now, Robert Sofia, CEO of Snappy Kraken, said Thursday during the webinar “CEO Roundtable: Leading Through Change,” which included CEOs from five fintech companies and Lori Hardwick, chair of Riskalyze.
He suggested that advisors regularly upload a video message for clients to social media and also send out an “email blast,” telling viewers: “Let them hear you every couple of weeks. Let them see you every couple of weeks — or once a month at least by video.”
Corey Westphal of Mobile Assistant said: “Virtual meetings are kind of the new norm.” However, he was quick to add: “I think it’s really important to remember … that just like your clients really react in different ways in your in-person meetings, it’s the same in the virtual environment that you’re in. So some clients, for instance, really rely on data” and visuals can help them during a meeting about their portfolio management.
If you “have a client that really responds well to having you on video, don’t just make phone calls — use the video capability with … conferencing and really engage with your client,” he urged advisors.
However, Adam Holt of Asset-Map warned that video is not always advisable and should be used sparingly. After all, “when you’re trying to communicate with clients in a new way today, you have to recognize that this might be a completely new experience for them,” he pointed out. Video can be “extremely distracting” when talking to clients about technical information, he said.
All advisors, however, must “decide that they are going to have a capacity to deal with their clients remotely — [because] if you don’t,” you are going to have “a hard time competing,” Holt said.
Advantages to Remote Work
Of course, the employees of most advisor firms are probably doing all their work, client-facing or not, remotely right now. That has likely created some challenges for at least some of them.
However, Snappy Kraken has “been remote from day one” — despite the fact that Sofia was skeptical of remote work when his firm was started in 2016, he said.
“My mindset has completely shifted because everybody has their own circadian rhythms,” he said, explaining: “There are times when they are productive and times when they are not.” Forcing people to eat lunch at a specific time, for example, is not natural, he said.
“When you set people up to thrive in an environment that’s natural for them — a workspace they love … then you give them the flexibility to go and take that bike ride in the afternoon … [and] they get reenergized,” he noted, adding: “You get the best out of people and I’ve seen that firsthand.”