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Four trends for financial advisors to watch


Financial advisors are being spread increasingly thin in the face of economic pressures, an uncertain market and heightened investor anxieties, challenging them to accomplish more with fewer resources. Adding to this strain, the technology landscape remains highly fragmented and there continues to be frustrations around the lack of seamless integrations in the technology ecosystem.

However, despite these hurdles, there are also many opportunities to embrace, such as taking advantage of new technologies and effectively reaching and engaging with a new generation of modern investors. Here are four trends advisors should take note of this year.

More approachable financial advice.

In light of the increase in digital engagement options and the maturation of younger investors, there are greater efforts to make financial advice more approachable and relatable. Advisors are evolving, providing support to clients in areas beyond traditional investing, such as guidance around insurance options and caring for aging parents. They are also more widely embracing digital interaction tools, which makes communication more flexible and efficient.

Advisors who invest in modern, digital technologies and are willing to adapt their strategies will be set to grow client relationships and attract younger demographics. Such efforts will be especially crucial in anticipation of the impending Great Wealth Transfer.

Increased control over data.

By gaining a deeper understanding of their data, advisors can improve client service, enhance reporting, and make smarter, more strategic business and technology decisions. Historically, some providers have made it difficult for advisors to freely access and use their data. However, tolerance for such limitations is waning. More advisors are now seeking open platforms that provide greater access and control of data via APIs.

Stronger integration of tech and culture as M&A activity continues.

As merger and acquisition (M&A) activity remains steady, there is an increased emphasis on more tightly integrating not just technology and processes, but also firm cultures and values. The once separate firms must embrace consistent strategies around business practices and the investor experience for M&A to truly be successful. Alignment and cohesion across the organization, starting at the top, must be a priority.

An uptick in outsourcing (beyond cost-saving measures).

Outsourcing can help firms increase operational efficiencies and reduce costs, saving more time and resources for cultivating a differentiated investor experience. Not all outsourcing strategies are created equal, however. To be effective, RIAs must be able to identify and prioritize what sets their firm apart, or their North Star. This clarity allows firms to determine which noncritical functions can be delegated to a trusted outsourcing partner, while internal efforts can be allocated toward that core competency.

Despite external challenges, advisors have an opportunity to boost efficiencies and deepen client engagement. The combination of these trends is causing advisors to revisit their technology and client service strategies. Leveraging modern, digitally optimized tools, more strategically using data and rethinking the role of outsourcing can empower advisors to serve more investors and grow. Such intentional adjustments help to optimize resources, strengthen client loyalty and widen access to financial advice.

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Jennifer Valdez, president of Americas, intelliflo

Jennifer Valdez is president of Americas for intelliflo. intelliflo widens access to financial advice through leading technology which powers the financial advisory experience.

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