“As someone who operates a wealth management firm in the independent space, when it comes to technology, I feel it’s all sort of racing to average.”
–Toussaint Bailey, CEO, Enso Wealth
How can financial advisors break out of the race to an average technology stack and avoid creating a bland client experience? Is it possible for technology to take the place of empathy and can a virtual technology conference become a catalyst to improve diversity in financial services? Financial advisor technology is turning into a race to average.
This was a group discussion among the moderators for the upcoming AdviceTech.LIVE conference:
- Toussaint Bailey, CEO + Principal, Enso Wealth, Petaluma, CA
- Rene Nourse, Founder & CEO, Urban Wealth Management, Los Angeles, CA
- Margarita Cheng, CEO, Blue Ocean Global Wealth, Washington, DC
- Megan Carpenter, CEO & Co-Founder, FiComm Partners, NYC & LA
- Adam Holt, CEO, Asset-Map, Philadelphia, PA
Now hit the Play button!
This episode of Wealth Management Today is brought to you by the AdviceTech.LIVE conference. AdviceTech.LIVE is about bringing together the best of advisor-facing technologies and their leaders to share with the financial professional community the vision of where our industry is headed. It’s an attempt to lift advisor awareness into the capabilities and the questions that need to be answered for today and tomorrow – all in one virtual experience.
For financial professionals who want to have personal demonstrations of each of the technologies represented, there are no barriers – come experience for yourself what the leaders in AdviceTech are building. Join us in supporting the industry in its attempt to be more accessible and inclusive by participating in our collective initiatives for diversity and inclusion.
- Asset-Map [04:04]
- Blue Ocean Global Wealth [03:45]
- Enso Wealth [03:22]
- FiComm Partners [03:54]
- Riskalyze [38:10]
- Urban Wealth Management [03:35]
Topics Covered in this Episode
- Overview and Genesis of AdviceTech.LIVE [04:30]
- What is Your “Why”? [07:10]
- The Race to Average [11:42]
- When Pick a Vendor, You Marry Their Roadmap [17:15]
- AI Will Not Replace Empathy [25:15]
- Don’t Try to be Best of Breed Everywhere [30:00]
- Tips for Building an Internal Roadmap [33:45]
- Using Financial Advisor Technology to Support the Broader Community [35:00]
- Adoption is the New Innovation [41:40]
- What are Moderators Expecting From Their Panels? [42:45]
- #ItzOnWealthTech Ep. 62: Can Just Invest Deliver on Their Vision of ESG 2.0?
- 50 Portfolio Management Software Solutions For Advisors Can’t All Survive
- A Decade of Digital Transformation in Just 90 Days
Craig: So we’re here to talk about the AdviceTech.LIVE Conference, which is in two weeks, August 27th. And the moderators, we came up with this idea for this panel. This pre-event panel, based on, an idea Adam had to do a post event panel where we talk about what we thought about how the event went. So we thought, why not talk a little bit beforehand? So Adam, can you give us a quick overview of the event and how it got started?
Adam: Yeah, thanks so much for having us. This is an awesome event. And of course, like most ideas that take over our lives it was a vision of creating a conference in this crazy environment today that was really sponsored by peers. I really felt like the advicetech community, technology firms that serve advisors had an opportunity to put together a virtual event because I think one of the biggest concerns we get from financial advisors is they have to make financial advisor technology decisions and there are so many choices. They don’t know where to start. They’ve got legacy tech, they’ve got new tech out there. They’re hearing about some new fangled stuff that’s going to be great, but they don’t know how to start. And so the vision Craig, was to figure out a way to put most of the major platforms out there, fully accessible at the same time on the same day.
So an advisor could go and be present and learn about the top 20 firms that are out there, and put their ideas to rest about what each of them is doing. But I think what became of this is that when we all got together and said, Hey, let’s all do something together with no major agenda other than to really help the community. We said, what else can we do? And so it’s how we evolve into searching for a common goal that we can all get behind. And what we found is that the CFP board’s center for financial planning had a diversity and inclusion initiative that had an opportunity that we could be part of. And it was an unbelievable way for us to say, You know what, let’s get involved and let’s give 50% of all the ticket sales to this event. Let’s crowdsource this project and get people involved and not necessarily make it about the money, make it about the purpose, make it about impact. At the end of the day, I think the project has come together as an accessibility project, accessible to tech, accessibility people, supporting women and people of color coming into the business, and I think we’re really excited and proud to share this with everybody.
What is Your “Why”?
Craig: Thanks Adam. And that’s something that we, I felt was very different about this event. That it’s a big donation to a great cause. Most events are aren’t run that way, they’re run for the profit of the firm running it, or if it’s a vendor running it to bring their clients in. But I thought that was a great reason to help support it besides the fact that it’s important information to share with people. So I want to talk about this panel, this group of moderators, and how you came to support this event. And as Toussaint brought up, what’s your individual “why”, so why you felt it special, why you felt it’s important. So I want to start with Rene. Can you tell me, what’s your individual “why” for, for joining us today?
Rene: Well, this certainly has been a challenging year and it’s making all of us aware that there has to be a new normal. Now, when we started in the year 2000, we were moving into a technology field. And some people are on financial advisor technology, some are not, using it as part of their business, their practice, their family life, their personal lives. Now this is mandatory. People need to keep this and have this as part of their life, their business, their practice. And I thought this was a fabulous idea to be able to point out the importance and the significance of using financial advisor technology now. And the other side of this is that there is in addition to the pandemic, we all know about the issues around racism that has been with us for not only decades but centuries. And so now this is an opportune time for us to look at how can we use technology in our practices and our businesses to support our broader communities. So I think Adam, your idea of hosting this and having this at this time was so, so important. So looking forward to what the feedback is that we’re going to get from a number of the registrants.
Craig: Yeah. I’m also very interested in what the, what the feedback is. And thanks for bringing that up Rene, how do we use technology to support the broader community? That’s something that sort of gets overlooked. I’ve been in technology for all of my life and I’ve always seen people just push technology out without really thinking about what the point is to have more technology. But having a goal for it as part of supporting the broader community is something more tech firms should think about. Moving on to Marguerita. Can you tell us about your individual “why”, why you signed up for this event and what makes it special to you?
Marguerita: Well, I love what Adam said about access. Access is about helping advisors and the advisory community access these vendors and partners, I should say, and having the partners access the financial advice community. I think that financial advisor technology will not solely replace connections and conversations. I think there’s something missing in the work we do, and that is empathy. Right now with the double pandemics that we are experiencing as a nation it’s really important that we take a look at the resources we have to augment the work we’re doing. In other words, financial advisor technology is not a nice to have, it is a must have in diversity and inclusion and representation and equity are not a nice to have. They are business imperatives. I look at when I entered the industry and I know that more people will be entering the industry differently, and I know more people will probably be of color. And so therefore it is so important to support those who are wanting to enter our profession, whether that’s women, people of color, people returning from military service. So congratulations Adam for your vision, and I’m so excited to be part of this.
The Race to Average
Craig: Thanks, Marguerita. Toussaint, can you please share your “why”, why you got started, why you joined this event and why is it important to you?
Toussaint: Primary, the “why” was to learn how to use a webcam, I was a struggling here in the beginning of this. In all seriousness, when Adam shared with me the dual larger why’s, both of them could not have resonated more. So, first that larger, and kind of more innovative “why” of taking the proceeds from a conference like this and making real meaningful change and investment in initiatives that we talk a lot about. We support a lot in words, but the action doesn’t always match what the words are, when it comes to support for diversity and inclusion, particularly in financial services. So the first clear and concrete sort of contribution to that effort in the first conversation was something that really pulled me in.
And then for me, as someone who operates a wealth management firm, I think in the independent space, when it comes to financial advisor technology, I feel it’s all sort of racing to average. It’s a relatively young space and you look to industry leaders, at times to what you should be doing, or as the standard. And that leaves people with this sort of average in bland feeling financial advisor technology stack and bland feeling client experience. So the ability to access, look at a broad array of technologies in a broad number of buckets and sort of customize over the course of a day and really ask the tough questions and build one’s own experience, or measure one’s own experience, really appeals to me because as someone who’s intent on building something special, it’s the opportunity to sort of be intentional about that. Both of those why’s really were meaningful to me.
Craig: Meg you’re up. Can you talk about your individual why’s, why you joined this event? What makes it special to you?
Megan: Absolutely. I am going to borrow that Toussaint, race to average. That’s really good. I have long felt that there is an opportunity within the wealth management community to provide a better experience through our events. I feel as though we have so many events, there’s so much content, and a lot of the content has become very predictable and really promotional. I think that events are an amazing way to connect, right? I think that that networking and community component is really the most powerful reason that advisors attend the number of events that they do over the course of the year, as well as us as industry service providers. But I’ve just really long felt that there’s a better way. And so Adam, when you called me and you started talking immediately about this opportunity to help advisors understand what they’re buying when they’re buying financial advisor technology, which is, they’re not really just buying the features of the tech, they’re buying into a business that has a product roadmap, that has a team that’s going to support advisors.
And Adam, I heard from you, this really sincere passion around wanting to sort of pull back the curtain and allow advisors to see into these tech businesses in ways that they haven’t necessarily been able to. From a communication perspective, a lot of times the most successful way to approach communicating with people to develop relationships is to be really vulnerable. I think we’ve lost the sense of vulnerability in our space, and it’s become so much about feature and benefit, and a lot of times that vulnerability can really be found when there’s sort of a tension. And so having the tension of competitors and peers on a panel, talking about their vision and drawing comparison and contrasts to those visions, the product roadmaps, their beliefs for where the market is headed. I was just really, really drawn to. So I was like, yeah, sign me up.
Then when I heard about the really sincere commitment to the community, to giving back and to not being afraid to talk about something that is so important to us, which is how our industry is dealing with systemic racism, how we are promoting diversity and inclusion in ways that go beyond just lip service to initiatives, but by doing a 50/50 profit share that’s unheard of. Maybe there are other events that have done this. I haven’t heard of them. And so that was just to me, absolutely this is a no brainer for those really those two reasons it’s sort of the format of the event, as well as the outcome that extends far beyond the event.
When Pick a Vendor, You Marry Their Roadmap
Craig: That’s awesome. We already heard from Adam, so we’ve gone round Robin. I want to just touch on a couple of things that came up. So Meg, you’re talking about how Adam mentioned pulling back the curtain and when you’re signing up with a vendor you’re signing up for a roadmap. What we often talk about at my company is that it’s a marriage. You’re really getting in with someone who you’re going to be working with for a long time. The minimum technology usage is I think three years, five years is more of an average, or even 10 years. So you’re committing to working with a team and with the financial advisor technology for the next 5-10 years. And don’t often think of that, they think of it, Well, I like what they have now. They don’t think where they’re going. So do you see that interacting with some of your clients as well? How they see the roadmap of a vendor?
Megan: Yes. We represent both sides, so we work with registered investment advisory firms and financial advisors, and then we also work with the industry service providers. So we sort of sit in that cross section and I have an interesting perspective there, but I do think there is, a sense of, I don’t know if uncertainty is the right word, but I don’t know that there’s an acknowledgement that Craig, like you said, it’s usually a 3-5 year life cycle and if you’re signing up for something today, you’re probably signing up for the next 3-5 years and that really is impactful on your business. We also know and what we hear from advisory firms is that transitioning between systems and tools, transitioning between custodians tech vendors, etc, it’s very costly.
There is a significant cost to the business to make those changes. And so what often happens is you have people just staying with the incumbent because it’s the path of least resistance even though their business needs aren’t being met. So yes, we absolutely see that on the advisory side. Then I think what we’re seeing on the tech side is this really strong desire to demonstrate to advisors how you as a tech business are really there to promote the advisor’s business and what that means, not just today, but in the future. So what my hope is for AdviceTech.LIVE is to really be able to bring those desires, wants and needs together to have an honest conversation. It’s not just about the features and benefits to the advisor, it’s not just about what you need today, but let’s really think about business and think about business strategy, business utility, how this affects all areas of your business and let you make the decision. I think that it was Kitces that wrote in one of his articles that it’s not the tech vendors that have the best tech that win, it’s oftentimes the tech vendors who spend the most on marketing. And to me, all that does is it’s a disservice to advisors. So if we can help advisors make better decisions to inform the future success of their business, I think that that will be a huge win.
Craig: I wanted to go over to Toussaint, I liked that term too, racing to average, I’m stealing that. Can you talk a little bit more about what you mean by a bland feeling tech stack, a bland feeling user experience?
Toussaint: Yes, but I liked something you said, and I wanted to underscore first, both yours and Megan’s point about the marriage of tech. I think for me a mistake early on was looking at tech as a point in time decision and looking at the stack as it sat before me, or looking at the product as it sat before me. And I think all of the advisors on the call can call to mind a time when there’s been a pivot in a tech product that you’ve with or by a vendor that you’ve engaged with that’s been less than comfortable or less than ideal for the direction that we’re taking our businesses. So I just want to underscore that whole idea of seeing this as a marriage I think that’s powerful. But, in terms of that race to average, I think it has a lot to do with the youth of the industry and the independent space, the youth of the independent space and not having well developed, well thought out standards for what a tech experience should look and feel like. And so there’s not the nuance of what a tech experience should look and feel like to each particular firm. So you start to look at who’s been successful in one sense and apply that across what you should be doing for your own firm, if you’re a growing firm. So you end up with tech that looks very much like the tech for a $50 billion firm, at a $1 billion firm, and that’s not necessarily the match. And you also end up with a tech stack that doesn’t reflect what a firm’s core value proposition is. It’s a tech stack that may reflect what another firm’s core value proposition is, or it’s a tech stack that may reflect an attempt to be best in breed everywhere. Best is a relative term. And what I’ve found and what we’ve done early on and had to kind of grow out of, is chasing that whole idea of being “best in breed”, everywhere in finding out what’s best for us. I’m excited about the panel that I’m leading, because it’s a CRM panel and I’m a relationship first person at a relationship first firm, and that really plays out and was affected to a large extent by CRM. So the decisions that we’re making in CRM and the product suite that surrounds our CRM are drastically different from what the next firm may be making. If they’re considering themselves investment consultants or the next firm may be making if they’re considering themselves planning first, rather than relationship. So I’m very passionate about kind of customizing what best in breed means for each particular firm.
Craig: I can tell you’re passionate. That comes through. Rene, you’re nodding your head a lot about what to Toussaint said.
Rene: Well, I definitely agree about the marriage piece, but successful marriages also mean that there’s a lot of sharing of ideas and thoughts. And if there’s a disagreement on it, it doesn’t mean that you don’t want to be with that person anymore. You just kind of figure out how to navigate around it. And I think one of the successful strategies of these FinTech firms is to be able to reach out to their client base, their customer base, to say, what kind of changes or updates do you think we need to add to our platforms? And if there’s an advisory council for them, that’s great. You know, once you get onto a platform, it’s very difficult to transition over to another tech platform. We just recently changed over from a long time CRM to another one and it took months and it took a long time for the rest of my team to understand how do we navigate around this? We used to do it this way. We have these kinds of categories. Now it’s completely different. So you really want to make sure that what your themes are in your business, in your practice, is consistent. And that the FinTech firm is reaching out to you to make sure, are we doing what you need us to do? Are we on top of, not just right now, but what the future is going to look like here? Because I think for this decade, this year, this was the start not just of a year, but of a decade. This is going to be a big shift in how we are going to be connecting with our communities. Millennials, they’re not going to be multimillion dollar huge wealth. We’re going to be accepting more people of color who don’t have multimillion dollar wealth. There’s got to be a shift and a change in how our tech platforms are going to be working. And as long as these firms are reaching out and getting feedback from their clients, customers, I think that they will be heads above everybody else.
AI Will Not Replace Empathy
Craig: I agree. And we keep talking about transitions and I run a consulting firm, so we help a lot of companies, advisory firms do transitions and everyone has said it. It’s not easy. It’s very tough. It takes a long time. It always takes longer than expected and costs more than expected. So, you’re right about that, and that’s another thing about making a choice. Some firms make a choice off the cuff, or let’s just pick something and go, without thinking about as you said, how long you gonna be using it, how involved are you going to be with it, and how hard will it be to change? I wanted to go off to something, Rita, that you said about financial advisor technology can’t replace conversations or empathy. I hear that a lot on our side talking about how not every advisor has the same empathy and it’s tough to communicate that. And now with everyone being digital and being remote, it’s even harder. How do you see financial advisor technology helping to be more empathetic or encouraging conversations?
Marguerita: There is a racial wealth gap, but there’s also an empathy gap. And in my mind, they are related. So I love what Toussaint was saying, you have to make sure the financial advisor technology you have reflects how, not just the values, but how you want to be portrayed in the marketplace. So for example, if you’ve made a commitment to help HENRY’s (high earners not rich yet’s), you may not need, and your clients for that matter, may not value the most sophisticated rebalancing software. But what may be helpful is robust financial planning, or alerts, and that’s when you can use AI. But I think there are some conversations on Twitter, “AI is going to replace advisors”, I don’t think that AI can replace conversations and connections because at the end of the day, I think that one of the biggest mistakes we make is just focusing on the portfolio. We do need AUM, but at the end of the day, if we’re not looking at the people, so their community, their philosophy, and helping take the time to understand that, we are losing an opportunity. And it does take more time, but I’m telling you nothing can replace empathy. I would not be where I am without my empathy.
Craig: Indeed. And a lot of people do business with someone else because they like them and they have a good feeling about it. They don’t really even know why they just feel good about it. So you can’t replace that with AI. I’ve heard a lot about how AI is going to replace advisors as well, and one thing I tell people is it’s not replacing advisors, but it’s pushing them up the value chain. It’s forcing them to do things they weren’t doing before, where I had an advisor and all he really did was build models of ETFs. He didn’t really do a lot more than that, a little bit of a little financial planning, but not too much. But if now that you can get that from a robo for 30 basis points, it’s going to force advisors to do more and more. Are you seeing the same thing?
Marguerita: I’m seeing the same thing. I just told this to a prospect the other day and he messaged me. He’s like Rita, I felt like I was really rash with you. I’m like, no, don’t worry about it. We feel these questions all the time, but I understand what you’re talking about. Portfolio management is very important, but that might not be the only thing that your client is interested in. They might be interested in saving for college, saving for retirement, caring for extended family. And so this is why empathy is really important, particularly when you’re serving people of more diverse backgrounds. If someone is not able to save, please don’t make assumptions or judgment that they’re reckless with their money. There could be things beyond their control. It’s not an excuse, but it’s an explanation. You know, for example, in some cultures, it is actually considered selfish to save for yourself first, before helping someone with their education. So as advisors, we have a responsibility to understand our client’s unique, personal and financial circumstances and financial advisor technology can help us be more efficient and effective in the delivery of advice.
Don’t Try to be Best of Breed Everywhere
Craig: That’s a great point. And understanding that it takes time. It’s not something you can get from a screen. You really need to understand people and get to know them to understand at that level. I wanted to go back to, I keep coming back to what you said, Toussaint, don’t try to be best of breed everywhere. How has that changed the way you run your practice?
Toussaint: The future has been pulled toward us, right? So what we used to think of Millennial engagement or Gen Z engagement with technology is now how everyone has been forced to engage with technology. So financial advisor technology has become a more significant touch point than it ever was, and I don’t think that trend is going anywhere anytime soon. That technology then has to reflect the kind of empathy that Rita’s talking about, or the kind of inclusion that Rene is talking about, or Meg is talking about. So, so for us, that means we initially had this mindset where we’re a young business, 2017. We initially had this mindset that we have to build up everything. And then once we build up everything, we’re going to get functional, then we’ll get fancy. Let’s get functional at everything. So let’s get the best of breed at everything, and then we’ll think about the unique stuff that will really reflect our value proposition and really deliver it to our clients.
We have started to go in reverse with that thinking and say, we’ll check all the boxes. Our financial advisor technology will be solid everywhere, but we’re not going to try to be the best everywhere before our technology starts to reflect this. So there’s more significant investments in financial advisor technology that show us touching clients. There’s more significant investments in technology that help with relationships. There’s more time spent on client facing technology, client portals, what’s sitting there, there’s more conversations about that. There’s more adoption conversations around those things. And we’re okay sort of phasing in incremental improvements in other areas of technology, whether that’s portfolio analytics, technology at what will phase that up as it goes, whether that’s other pieces of our technology stack, advisor pieces, phasing pieces of our technology stack, we have our own internal roadmap as our technology journey looks is very relationship focused because we have this cultural waterfall where loving and trusting relationships are at the very top. And so we’ve had this “aha” that our technology spending decisions, our technology time allocations, and our roadmap should reflect a priority for loving and trusting relationships.
Craig: That’s something you don’t hear a lot of business people talk about, right? I don’t know many other businesses that talk about loving and trusting in their business proposition. They may talk about it in their personal, but talking about it in their personal lives –
Toussaint: In the same way you talk about trust.
Craig: Yeah. Trust is different.
Toussaint: You jumped out there with loving and trusting and it does hit your ears in a certain way when you’re in the context of financial services in the financial industry. But we wanted to be courageous with what we believe. We want trusting relationships. I think everybody wants those, but we wanted to have the courage to say love.
Craig: That is courageous. I’m highlighting things, as everyone talks I highlight stuff I want to go back to, and everything you say is highlighted Toussaint. I’m having trouble picking out the stuff I want to talk to you about.
Toussaint: I’ll have to hang out with you more often.
Craig: Definitely! Your internal roadmap. We work with also both sides, we work with FinTech vendors as well as advisory firms, similar to the way the Meg does, although Meg’s firm is marketing, branding communication and we’re technology consulting. But having your own internal roadmap is something a lot of firms don’t think about. Where they’re going and thinking into the future, more on the technology side and how the technology lines up with where your company is going, how have you done that? What’s a tip you can give for other advisory firms about building an internal roadmap?
Tips for Building an Internal Roadmap
Toussaint: First thing I’d give them is a list of What Not To Do, because we stumbled there. We stumbled on the decision to build it that way. We’re not immune to what I think a lot of advisors who are starting their own businesses have, which is shiny object syndrome. We started out thinking everything sounds good when you’re just dealing with inbound financial advisor technology providers and they all have the latest and best and greatest. So we had tech partners coming to our partners meetings and our leadership group meetings, with the best and newest at every meeting. And so our roadmap is essentially a Not Right Now or Never list. It reflects a set of choices about what we’re doing, but it also captures all the stuff that we’re not doing right now.
And if I could give any guidance for what should be on a roadmap, I would say having clarity about what you’re not, is focusing. It is freeing. And there’s a strategic strength to having a Not Right Now or Maybe Never list. I think that’s the most important component of our roadmap. It’s really easy to table stuff when you have three or four priorities for a year and everything else goes on this inventory that you might get to it. And some of that is kind of timelined and sequenced, but some of it’s not, some of it’s just like, That sounds like a great idea. Let’s put it in the bucket. That sounds like a great idea.
Craig: You call that the parking lot with clients, but in the parking lot, we get to it. Rene back to you. So you mentioned technology is now mandatory and using technology to support the broader community. Can you share a couple of tips with other advisory firms about things you’ve learned, building your tech stack and changing your CRMs and other things you’ve learned along the way?
Using Technology to Support the Broader Community
Rene: I think that for many of the programs out there right now, and I’m going to be moderating the financial planning panel, so one of the things that I’m really going to be interested in hearing is do they recognize that this is a new stage that we’re in? What kinds of changes or updates would any other than plan to make to their platforms? Now, one of the key things that I had mentioned before is, and this is true with firms, and I think it’s also true with a number of financial advisor technology platforms, is that even in their ads, they’re focusing on people who have $1 million, $2 million, $3 million or more in net worth. When I show that sometimes to my younger clients they say, well, maybe I’m not the best person to be on this platform because do I have to have that amount of money?
No, you don’t. I’m sorry that that’s the way that it looks. You can have $2. We’re financial planners. And I think that that has got to be a key part of establishing a relationship. It is important as Rita mentioned, we have to have AUM, AUM is a good foundation for our business is a core practices. But if you’re coming from a financial planning perspective, that’s a long range relationship. They’re just not going to exit because how you handled that person’s investments wasn’t as great as what the general market is. So I think that there needs to be a much stronger push. That’s been very helpful with us. My average client has been with me 15-20 years because we’re focusing on the financial planning first and really doing a deeper dive into that. So the CRMs where we can keep great notes about what are their favorites, what are the things they like to do on their financial planning platform to be able to provide them with some insight and track what they’re doing and to be able to show them, let’s say with Asset-Map, here’s a one pager that shows what you have.
Here’s some updates and some things that you need to consider. We use Riskalyze where we are tracking and following our clients like that. So this has got to be more relationship based in order to keep a strong client relationship longterm and not just focusing on one area. So I really be interested to see what the financial planning panels say about how they’re planning to make some shifts and some changes in their platforms in order to address some of these key issues.
Craig: Thanks for bringing that up Rene. I had it on my list of things to ask people, ask everyone about their panels. You beat me to it. Like you’re looking over my shoulder and you also helped me, I wanted to get Adam back in the conversation and you gave me a good segue. So you mentioned Asset-Map. So Adam, can you talk about how Asset-Map helps advisors build a more relationship based business model, where it’s based more on the relationship with the client versus just their investments?
Adoption is the New Innovation
Adam: Well, it’s interesting. I love what everybody’s said. Gosh, I’ve written down so much and I think I’m going to steal everybody’s stuff. But what you realize, I think is that there’s a theme. For me, I’m a recovering financial planner myself, right? I’m still a CFP, but been in the business for 20 years. And I think we’re in a strange situation, I say strange at Asset-Map because we’re the only tech platform we know of that we’re not about the tech, we’re about the relationship. We’re about just the revelation of what’s going on in your life and the intentionality behind whether it makes any sense. Cause there’s something about when you visually show the facts, you can’t hide from them, right? The financial closet on the bed, this is clear it doesn’t fit. This shouldn’t be here. This is awesome. Let’s do more of that.
So I think for us, we really care about elevating that empathetic conversation. We actually do put the trusted and loved parties at the top of every page, because they’re the most relevant, right? So, I think for us and where we want to take the industry, especially as we tend to get put in the financial planning industry, is to recognize that we as a community need to elevate the conversation to two important words. And I hope these really ring true for everybody purpose and intent, purpose and intent. Why are we doing what we’re doing? Does it make sense? Does it align with where we want to go? Regardless of wealth, regardless of complexity, does it communicate to my family the values that are important to me? Am I aligning the types of instruments I’m putting in place to support them and that, and that vision?
And I know that that feels touchy-feely, and a lot of financial advisors don’t always relate to that, but their consumers do. They just don’t know how to ask for that experience. So I really would kind of say to you, just as advisors are trying to figure out what tech to piece into their repertoire of tools, to really think the exact same way, which is the think with purpose and intent, what am I really gonna use? What’s really gonna make a difference in my customer experience or my backend processes for a true ROI, and am I going to use it?
Because I heard a phrase a while ago that I stole from somebody who said that adoption is the new innovation. If I actually use the tech, that’s innovative because so much tech sits on the side with dust on it, just like clients’ IRAs or 401ks at their old firms sitting with dust on it, their life insurance policy, no one’s looked at it for 40 years. So the point is I think we have to push ourselves to find ways to actually use the tech we’re putting money into.
Craig: That’s an excellent point, Adam. And we see that in the firms we work with, a lot of enterprises, even the largest broker dealers in the country with 5,000 advisors, we’ll only see 20% uptake in financial advisor technology that they don’t force them to use. Say well, you have to use this portfolio management system to trade. Okay, but everything that’s optional has a very low adoption, although that may have changed as Renee mentioned, everyone’s being forced to use tech. It’s becoming mandatory.
We’re running out of time. I wanted to get back to Meg, can you talk about what you’re looking for from the marketing panel? I’m gonna put you on the spot, you’re running the marketing panel, a bunch of great marketing firms, marketing automation firms, real quick, two minutes on what you expect to hear from that panel.
What Are Moderators Expecting From Their Panels?
Megan: Sure. And I’m going to actually answer that in the context of a theme that I’m really excited to hear from all of us in this last 40 minutes or so, which is this concept of alignment around your truth. So I think for advisors that are listening to this podcast or watching on YouTube, follow the work that Rene is doing. Follow the work that Rita is doing. Follow the work that Toussaint is doing, because they are very clear. They are clear in why they do what they do and who they do it for. Everything in their business, including their financial advisor technology, aligns around that truth. That’s the power of modern marketing. And that’s what I get, clearly, so excited about. So for my panel, what I really want to hear is a couple of things. One, where do these businesses see the future of marketing and specifically how that’s going to impact advisor businesses, but how are their products, how are their tools going to help advisors really find that alignment?
It’s not just about the features and benefits. It’s really about how these marketing platforms are helping advisors to be the best that they can be, and I believe that it’s going to be around how they can help to align around their “why” and their “who”. So I want to hear from my panel around how they’re going to help do that, with their roadmap looks like, but really, what do they believe? What did they think? How did they approach building their business? Because that whatever they believe is going to directly impact the type of product or tech tool that they’re offering to advisors.
Craig: That’s a great point, Meg. So on my podcast, one thing I do like to ask is what they believe in and why they got into the business, and why they started their firm. And you hear a lot of interesting stuff that you don’t normally hear from vendors where they’re always talking about features and benefits as we mentioned earlier. So I’m interested to hear your panel as I am interested to hear everyone’s panel here. So just a really quick recap. Meg is on the marketing panel, Toussaint is on doing the CRM panel, Rene is moderating the financial planning panel, Marguerita is moderating the practice multipliers panel, and I am moderating the portfolio management panel. There’s a lot going on. This is gonna be a fantastic event, and I’ll give the whole pitch at the end of today’s episode. And we’re out of time. I want to thank everyone on the panel, Toussaint, Rene, Marguerita, Megan, Adam, thanks so much. This is gonna be a great event and, appreciate your time. I look forward to seeing you all at the AdviceTech.LIVE Conference on August 27th. Thanks everyone.