The new decade is upon us and with it a sea change in how advisors are—and will be—utilizing technology in their practices. Robo-advisors have become mainstream both directly to the public and via privately owned RIAs. Mega-mergers like the Schwab/TD Ameritrade deal have shifted the competitive landscape forever. New regulations continue to abound (and confuse). And fee compression further rears its ugly head. And for all those reasons, advisors more than ever need to utilize effective technology to navigate the constant minefields of running an effective and growing wealth management practice.

Read further to learn what leading experts including Bill Crager of Envestnet, Joe Mrak of Refinitiv and Jon Patullo of TD Ameritrade Insitutional, plus many other fintech luminaries, have to say about how the wealthtech industry will evolve in the coming year.

Bill Crager, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Envestnet

Technology is leveling the playing field for individuals across all wealth levels. While the sector has traditionally catered to individuals looking to achieve long-term aspirations, the business of creating wealth starts in the day-to-day management of savings, spending, protection and credit. We believe building a unified, digital advice ecosystem that enables financial advisors to help more consumers balance long-term goals with short-term needs in an effort to help them achieve financial wellness will be 2020’s most significant disruptor. It will seamlessly integrate solutions across the wealth spectrum, leveraging predictive analytics, automation, and AI—all while recognizing the importance of retaining a human touch.

Joe Mrak, Global Head of Wealth Management, Refinitiv

Technology will continue to impact our industry. As tech-savvy customers demand and expect a seamless, personalized, experience across channels, firms will turn to technology to address these needs. Artificial intelligence, automation, data analytics and predictive behavior tools are part of this tech wave but harnessing the power of data is just the beginning. Firms will need to look at their infrastructure and how they consume and integrate data to be more client centric as well as cut costs. Firms who fully embrace technology will lay a strong foundation to not only grow their business but to also serve tomorrow’s customers.

Jon Patullo, Managing Director of Technology Solutions, TD Ameritrade Institutional 

2020 will be all about advisors realizing greater insights and automation enabled by technology. With artificial intelligence, voice, and data analytics now more established, advisors will see increased utilization of tools that automate routine tasks to make their firm more productive and scalable. AI will become even more ubiquitous, embedded in more tools and platforms that can provide a more customized client experience. TD Ameritrade Institutional has built a scalable, AI-powered Virtual Agent that helps advisors get the right answer when they need it. RIAs will also benefit from the combination of AI with market and firm-level data, which will create powerful and personalized business insights. You can also count on voice-based search to continue its incredible growth pace, with some forecasting voice will generate half of all searches by the end of this year. 

Lonnie Macdonald, Chief Marketing Officer, Vestmark

Advisor and client experience continue to be a priority for wealth management firms, driving many of the key trends we see for 2020. As clients demand more from their advisors—more focus on a holistic relationship, more services from the advisor, more customized and personal solutions—firms will look for additional technology enhancements to create workflow efficiencies to free up advisors’ time, and they will look to implement platforms and tools to help advisors provide higher levels of customization, enhanced service, and superior client experience and outcomes . . . all in a manner that can accommodate the scale of future growth plans.

Keith E. Gregg, Founder/CEO, Chalice Financial Network
We see the future and current trend is more of subscription and retainer fees versus commissions and percentage of assets fees. Advisors are struggling with fee compression and there is no stopping it, hence the need to reconsider their revenue models. At Chalice we aim to assist them and will provide tools and technology that will afford them the opportunity have their clients pay them for time and attention; not unlike one of our strategic partners Legal Shield. Clients pay attorneys a monthly subscription fee for access and advice at fraction of the costs normally associated with high priced attorney in large law firms. In the long run this type of model will generate higher valuations for advisors; very similar to when they transitioned from commissions to fees.

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