Advisor Retention and Technology
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Today I attended a vendor client conference and moderated a panel on WM technology. One of the topics that came up was competition for high value advisors. One of the most surprising take-aways from the panel was that all agreed that technology was the single most important aspect to retaining advisors (more important than payouts!) When asked about what components were most important to advisors, consensus formed around "anything that gets the advisor closer to the client." Thus, financial planning tools, proposal generation tools, CRM tools in themselves were not the priority -- it was the client facing aspect to these tools that were most important. Of course, certain components have an easier time facing the end client; financial planning and proposal generation tools allow advisors to create reports, conduct What-If scenarios, etc. Mobility was viewed as not yet a "need to have" for advisors, but there were strong opinions that client onboarding tools, scenario modeling, and product catalogues would be the three most important tools for a mobile app. This feedback was helpful in validating Celent's emphasis on the front office of late; it also shows that firms like Merrill Lynch, MSSB, and LPL, firms that have been investing heavily in advisor technology, are on track in terms of priorities.