This time on the Pulse:

Orion exec says Coronavirus will underline the value of business technology; CFP Board nixes consumers’ ability to search for advisors by how they’re paid; Baird’s wealth unit backs away from Alaska’s Iditarod dog-sled race.


Before we get started, let’s give some thought to the benefits of remaining calm. For one thing, I think we can agree that tranquillity is more pleasant, and usually more productive, than panic. We’ll return to this theme in just a few minutes.



Coronavirus Heightens the Need for Client-Centric Tech

Though the coronavirus’ impact on the economy is tough to call at this stage, some players are making educated guesses. 

On March 5, the Federal Reserve signaled its hunch the widening epidemic could dent the US economy. It trimmed the fed funds target rate by 50 basis points to a range between 1.00% and 1.25%. 

Then, prompted in part by the Fed’s reaction to the health crisis, Wells Fargo cut its outlook for the securities brokerage business. The bank says firms should expect to see per-share earnings shrink by 12% for 2020, and an average share-price decline for brokerages in the neighborhood of 22%.

Another possible effect of the coronavirus is a function not of its ability to spread, nor of its severity, but of its endurance. That’s according to Kyle Hiatt, chief revenue officer at Orion, a technology and asset-management provider to financial advisors. 

In Hiatt’s view, the crisis could pose significant challenges to client-centric businesses — and show these enterprises whether their technology is up to scratch.

“One of the great virtues of modern, cloud-based adviser tech is the ability to continue running a business in the event of an emergency,” Hiatt writes as a guest columnist for InvestmentNews. 

But, adds Hiatt, this conception is typically related to one-off natural disasters — “like fires and floods that might threaten localized data, or slow foot traffic because clients are physically unable to reach the office.”

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