Asked the number-one way they use technology to better serve their clients, successful advisors were more likely than all other advisors to say it frees up time to focus on one-on-one relationships (35% vs 28%). This was closely followed by protecting clients against market risk (33% vs 26%) and providing clients with more personalized holistic planning (29% vs 25%). When upgrading their tech-stack, successful advisors were more likely to focus on client-facing technology such as interactive websites/client portals (47% vs 38%) and mobile websites/mobile apps (45% vs 40%).

Successful advisors use technology to transform every aspect of the customer experience, from the front-end to the back office, opening the door to new categories of clients, offering new products and solutions—and gaining an edge over the competition.

3. Platforms can power your practice. Tech platforms have become a way of life. Companies like Uber and Airbnb have grown exponentially by meeting consumers’ needs with greater speed and greater value. Tech platforms are also essential to an advisor’s practice, integrating diverse tools and services into a single workstation. You can build client portfolios; trade and rebalance stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs; aggregate data from multiple sources; manage risk and tax-optimization; generate client proposals and performance reports—all within one cohesive online ecosystem.  

With volatility already on the rise in 2019, successful advisors were more likely than all other advisors to say that tools for risk management, risk monitoring and portfolio stress testing were the number-one type of technology they would integrate into their practice in the next 12 months (47% vs 38%). According to Advisor Authority, successful advisors were also more likely to help clients manage risk with fixed and fixed index annuities. But few insurance carriers offer seamless integration into top platforms, limiting advisors’ ability to aggregate and manage “held-away” accounts such as insurance and annuities side-by-side with other accounts for comprehensive risk management and more holistic planning.

In the current environment, the demand for risk management tools and integrated platform solutions for insurance and annuities may rise as clients seek protection from volatile markets.

Succeed By Meeting Complex Needs
Hailing a driver, booking a vacation house—some would even say allocating a portfolio—may be considered a commodity that can be solved by a platform at a very low cost. But even in an age dominated by the ease and convenience of an app for everything, creating a personalized, holistic financial plan, to solve for clients’ complex wants and needs, is not easily automated—and is anything but a commodity.

How will you make AI your ally, use technology to create a unique customer experience or power your practice with technology platforms to meet clients’ complex needs in this challenging market?

Craig Hawley is head of Nationwide’s Annuity Distribution.

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