I believe we are witnessing a change in the advisor-client dynamic. We’re moving from an advisor-centric model to one that is consumer-focused, where the consumer is in charge and not bound to search for advice from their local advisor who delivers once size fits all planning, investment advice, and service. The competition is heating up with the strength of ever-growing mega teams on one side and the digital providers on the other.

In Client Surveys – Your First Step in Specialization, we discussed the first step in specialization could start with a “post-pandemic” survey to understand not only how your clients want to interact with you but to refine (or start) your persona. The best way to start understanding how specialization can work for you is to look inward, not outward. Look at what segments of your base you work with best.

In Partnerships – Your Second Step in Specialization, we talked about adding services that are unique to your specialization without adding cost, infrastructure, or overhead. By asking yourself, "What concerns is my persona dealing with,?" you can find ways to add additional long-term value.

Wash, rinse, and repeat

As you can see above, as independent advisors, your only choice is to differentiate to specialize but to really succeed, we need to do it with scale to build a repeatable process.  

Technology is the one thing that makes this all work. Think about it: when the pandemic started, did you remember to bring home the ops manual for your firm? Firms that had automated workflows built into their CRMs didn’t need it because those firms were able to meet the challenges of their new environment. Firms that had truly integrated systems could ensure that the client experience was still top-notch, with nothing falling through the cracks. Integrated data allowed firms to market and service better — to automate the steps to move money on behalf of a client, rebalance an account, or change an allocation. 

Specialized advisors also use integrated technology to anticipate the concerns of their clients with targeted messages in times of market volatility, or a tax law update that would draw questions, or addressing current events in the news.  

Choose your advisor technology carefully

By some estimates, there are more than 300 different advisor technology solutions available. So, how do you choose the right tools or platform? 

Here are series of questions and considerations to help you make the right choice:

  • Determine what your clients need and how technology could benefit them
  • Assess whether the tech platform can unify the advisor and end-client experience
  • Does it integrate external CRMs, financial planning software, flexible and brand-agnostic investment solutions, front office tools, and back-office functions?
  • Does it eliminate the need for multiple, disparate systems?
  • Are there available resources to facilitate onboarding and migration, to minimize disruption to the investor experience?

The new consumer-centric model is about customization, personalization, and transparency, but to build a business, an advisory firm needs to do it with scale. Not just for one client but all your clients. Does your tech stack measure up? 

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