Technology Upgrade Most Useful to Top Advisors

By Miriam Rozen May 14, 2020

E-signature technology and customer relationship management systems are the top picks among top Financial Times-listed brokers and advisors when asked which tech upgrade has made the most meaningful difference to their practice over the past 12 months.

The top picks were identified by 25% of top brokers and advisors surveyed by FA-IQ sister publication Ignites Research in February and March. Brokers and advisors make it to the respective Financial Times lists based on scores in six criteria: AUM, AUM growth rate, years in existence, advanced industry credentials, online accessibility and compliance records.

“The decision to move our trading, reporting and CRM under one integrated platform through Tamarac has made the most significant impact on our firm,” Mark Willoughby, chief operating officer, principal and wealth manager at the Atlanta office of Modera Wealth Management, which has around $400 million in client assets, tells FA-IQ.

“The system automatically pulls data from multiple integrated systems so we can monitor business development goals, referral sources, funding activity and other information, enabling us to make more intelligent decisions on how to reach company metrics and what opportunities make the most strategic sense,” he adds.

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The e-signature technology, meanwhile, has become even more important since the coronavirus pandemic.

Rick Simonetti

Rick Simonetti, head of Wells Fargo’s private bank unit’s wealth planning division, has — since the pandemic started — had more calls from clients about estate planning, with FAs reporting a 10% increase recently in clients seeking those services. But with stay-at-home orders so prevalent, his team’s FAs no longer handle clients’ estate planning in person, but through video conferences, online analytical tools and other communication apps, Simonetti says.

Simonetti notes that New York lifted a barrier to getting estate planning finalized amid the pandemic.

Normally, New York, like most states, requires notaries to have in-person contact when providing their services to finalize the signing of wills and often other trust-related documents. But under an executive order issued last month, New York governor Andrew Cuomo allowed notaries to use instead “audio-video technology” that allows for “direct interaction” between the notary and signatories. That’s as long as the signers present photo identifications during the video session and “not merely transmit it prior to or after.”

Ignites Research surveyed 455 advisors – 63% of the advisors (288) were members of the top FT 400 brokers and 37% (167) were members of the top FT 300 RIAs. The survey was conducted before the coronavirus outbreak was classified as a pandemic.

Brokers and advisors make it to the respective Financial Times lists based on scores in six criteria: AUM, AUM growth rate, years in existence, advanced industry credentials, online accessibility and compliance records.

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