Technology has become integral in the modern registered investment advisor (RIA) industry. The industry is evolving with new competition and ever-growing challenges, including robo-advisors and an increasing demand for virtual client collaboration.
Today, the majority of an RIA’s clients belong to older generations. According to a recent estimate, older generations will pass on about $60 trillion to younger generations in the next 20 years.
RIAs can easily capitalize on this transfer. They must adopt advanced technological tools to align their businesses with the interests of the young investors. This way, they can also include millennials and Gen Z in the business, offer quality services, build strong client relationships, and ensure sustainability in the market.
All this can easily be done via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) wealth management platform such as Qdeck. Let’s dig deeper into the reasons why.
What Challenges Do RIAs Face With the Prevalence of AI in Robo-Advisors?
Fintech has evolved with machine learning, AI, and blockchain technology. Robo-advisors now help financial advisors in performing different business operations. This includes conducting online surveys, giving financial advice, managing portfolios, and more.
But to use AI, RIAs must have advanced data science, mathematics, and computer science skills. Unfortunately, few businesses are willing to invest in employee development. As a result, the first challenge many RIAs face is a lack of the skills required to operate robo-advisors and other AI-enabled machines.
Another challenge is the lack of trust RIAs have in robo-advisors. AI functions based on algorithms that most humans don’t understand. When people don’t know how a decision is made, they are less likely to trust it. This leads to concerns among many RIAs about the credibility of the AI’s decision or advice.
What Are Some Technology-Related Challenges for RIAs?
Technology is continually changing alongside RIA service models. RIAs now need advanced technological tools to generate insights for client portfolios. They also have to develop customized reports on market dynamics and portfolio movements while improving their client engagement.
However, many RIAs are still unable to engage the next generation of investors, which mainly consists of millennials and Gen Z. Since the average client age for most RIAs is more than 60 years old, many of these professionals don’t know how they will keep thriving in the market in the upcoming years.
An RIA needs to engage with the younger generations. In the coming decades, a huge amount of money will soon be transferred to millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z. These will be the dominant generations until 2050.
Yet many RIAs struggle to use technology in their day-to-day tasks. That’s especially the case with baby boomer RIAs who have been doing it for 10-plus years. They often think, “If I have been managing my business without technology all these years, I can do it in the future too.”
What they don’t realize is that an RIA’s business is now completely different. Their needs and clients’ expectations have outgrown the current system’s capabilities.
Another challenge is weak integration among the RIA’s systems, which can lead to inefficiencies within the business even when the RIA does have the right technology.
How Can the Right Technology Help RIAs Perform Better?
The right technology can help RIAs keep up with the changing market while enhancing their efficiency. The right tools can automate their office work, giving them more time to focus on establishing client relationships.
Previously, RIAs used to outsource office work, which cost them a lot. A report found that 67% of RIAs outsourced their back office, 54% outsourced their marketing and practice management, and 58% outsourced their investment and asset management functions.
Now, they leverage technological solutions to automate most of their business functions, thereby cutting costs and time spent.
Qdeck assessed RIA technology usage in the year 2020. The results showed that financial advisors used portfolio and performance reporting the most, with an aggregate of 98%. Client relationship management (CRM) came in the second position with 94%, followed by portfolio modeling, rebalancing, and trading and billing at 92%.
Here is a breakdown of the other office technology solutions according to their usage:
|Online Client Portal||91%|
Let’s see how these technological solutions make life easier for RIAs.
SaaS Wealth Management Platform
Advising clients, making decisions, and doing the paperwork can be exhausting. SaaS solutions like Qdeck help RIAs manage back-office operations like record keeping and invoicing. They also enable RIAs to analyze and build portfolios in less time.
When such a wealth management platform is integrated into the system, it can mitigate errors and ensure higher efficiency. Qdeck can assist wealth managers, allocators, and chief investment officers (CIOs).
Qdeck supports all types of wealth managers and financial advisors and helps them perform quicker and more accurately. With the platform:
- Wealth managers can manage their operations by leveraging CRM, portfolio research, and back-office automation tools.
- They can cut costs using the model library to access financial strategies and direct indexing.
- They can launch robo-advisors that perform direct-to-retail functions.
Allocators can also benefit from Qdeck’s full-fledged financial functionality. These professionals can:
- Analyze strategies and interact with new managers or investors
- Optimize financial portfolios
- Pull data directly from partners and develop and deliver reports to internal stakeholders and clients
CIOs have to deal with a high level of investment responsibilities. Thus, they need a wealth management platform more than anyone else. Qdeck helps CIOs:
- Combine accounts of custodians and brokerages and establish a connection between them — this gives them a clear, one-glance view of all the accounts
- Research and analyze fund performance
- Access real-time data on custodians and brokerages
- Leverage advanced analytics to make informed financial divisions
Technology is not an alternative to in-person client meetings and communication. But the right platforms support an RIA’s client outreach and collaboration efforts.
One example is a CRM system, which helps RIAs track valuable client information to plan their marketing strategies. The proactive approach a CRM system enables helps RIAs keep their clients happy.
When the technology performs back-office operations, RIAs have more time to interact with their clientele. Having a personal touch with clients is essential for an RIA. After all, a big reason people leave their financial advisor is a lack of communication.
If RIAs don’t offer improved communication, they may lose clients to robo-advisors and other competitors.
A financial planning system (FPS) helps RIAs forecast different scenarios based on the client’s financial situation and goals. This technology allows RIAs to generate and share reports with their clients via an online portal or a PDF file.
An FPS pulls automated account data feeds and “held-away” assets from typical custodians. This removes the need for the RIA or client to enter account values manually. It also helps the RIA keep an eye on the clients’ held-away assets.
Many platforms now come with portfolio management and reporting integrations, which help RIAs view the client’s financial plan in a third-party system without re-entering the client’s data.
Portfolio Management and Reporting System
Portfolio management and reporting (PM/Rep) solutions can display asset allocation levels, billing information, and performance details. RIAs can customize reports with performance history compared with benchmarks based on different time periods.
Some PM/Rep solutions also allow RIAs to upload trades directly to the custodian platform. They may also enable financial advisors to compare the client’s portfolio against their target asset allocation.
RIAs can also use PM/Rep solutions to make performance calculations. But first, they can ensure that all accounts are reconciled. They can also automate the client billing process and get it done more efficiently.
Document Storage System
RIAs deal with large quantities of paperwork every day. Unfortunately, most financial advisors struggle to store sensitive documents safely. One mistake can compromise a client’s confidentiality.
A document storage (DOC) system provides cloud-based file storage while assisting RIAs in file sharing and version control. It can also help ensure compliance with document retention requirements.
Qdeck Digital Framework: The Present and Future of the Financial Landscape
Technology is here to shape the present and future of the financial markets. Businesses that take advantage of new technological solutions become more efficient with higher chances of growth. Nowadays, RIAs have many technology-enabled platforms that can automate their operations.
For example, SaaS wealth management software, like Qdeck, handles all back-office processes. The platform can be ideal for all types of RIAs, allocators, and CIOs. With Qdeck, these professionals can leverage their CRM system to build long-term client relationships, analyze and optimize real-time data and fund performance, and automate their entire workflow for faster and more accurate results.
Qdeck makes work easier for RIAs, allowing them to connect with millennial, Gen Z, and Gen X investors. People from these age groups are the future of the financial landscape. So RIAs must adopt the right digital business framework to stay in business over the long term.
It’s high time that RIAs use a technological solution, like Qdeck, to master the current and the future landscape.