Last Updated on November 24, 2020 by Carlo Navarro
Modern wealth management is a hyper-competitive profession that regularly presents new challenges for financial advisors. Adapting to the ongoing evolution of our industry is the key to long-term profitability, but many firms are still significantly behind the curve.
A few days ago, we published an article about the demise of the BlackBerry. It was an apt metaphor for a disturbing trend in financial services. “I give my clients everything they need.” is a statement we hear far too often. In most cases, it’s simply not true.
With the proliferation of digitally automated platforms and robo-advisors, wealth managers must make changes and “get with the times” if they want to differentiate and remain competitive. In this article, we’ll go over some of the ways you can do that.
Leverage Technology to Serve the Whole Client
When we first launched Blueleaf in 2011, account aggregation was a newer technology and a cost-prohibitive addition to client reporting. If it was offered at all, aggregation was limited to just a few clients. Most advisors didn’t see the need and could not justify the expense.
Blueleaf changed all that. By offering the aggregation of held away accounts using a per client billing model rather than billing for every account, we opened the door for advisors to see a holistic view of all client accounts cost-effectively. It was a novel idea ten years ago. Today, it’s an industry best practice.
Our development of consolidated reporting seems prophetic when viewed in hindsight, but it wasn’t clairvoyance that inspired us. Common sense dictated that a shift in industry thinking was forthcoming. Firms without a holistic offering were already beginning to struggle at the time.
Check out a blog post we wrote:
Wealth Advisors Have a BlackBerry Problem…and Digital is Making it Worse
Competing in Wealth Management Today
Let’s pause for a moment and view the world that we live in today.
Other wealth management firms are no longer your only source of competition. Robo-advisors and digitally automated platforms in the mix. Betterment. Personal Capital. Acorns. Robinhood. Fundrise. They’re all consuming market share and more importantly mindshare in the financial services space.
Why do potential clients turn to these apps instead of hiring a financial advisor? They are easy, automated, and cheap. Advisors can overcome the price objection with a clear value proposition, but not without an improved user experience and automated reporting.
Staying Price and Cost Competitive
We’ve talked before about how price competition doesn’t make any sense in wealth management. But as pricing expectations change and industry pricing falls, advisory firms must stay “in the ballpark” to be considered by prospects and keep clients around.
Blueleaf is a digital wealth management platform that’s built to assist advisors, not compete with them. By utilizing a digital platform, wealth management firms can cut costs and save time that can be better spent on client relationships and prospecting.
The automation delivered by a digital platform frees advisors up to focus on areas where they can add value, namely by offering personalized, unique insights and advice. Coupling your whole client advice with whole client information like consolidated statements powered by seamless data aggregation is what produces happy clients today.
It’s also a formula for competing in today’s wealth management landscape. Machines can offer a lot to clients, but they can’t personalize the experience. That’s where human advisors have a clear advantage.
Differentiation Has Never Been More Important
There was once a time when advisors could simply “hang out their shingle” to bring in new local clients. That was before the internet. Today’s “shingles” are websites, social media pages, and digital chat rooms. Even the word “local” has been redefined to be more niche-oriented.
According to Investopedia, the wealth management industry holds nearly $75 trillion in total assets. There are over 300,000 financial advisors out there. Those firms are each competing for their slice of the proverbial pie. To get yours, differentiation is critical.
When it comes to competing in today’s market, differentiation matters on a much larger scale. The digitization of wealth management and new remote client service models mean that your competition isn’t just in your town or your state, it’s every enabled firm in the country. Wealth management firms that win clients in this environment are those that have a unique value proposition and a direct appeal through niche marketing.
Keep an Eye Out for “How To” Articles
In my time as Head Coach at Blueleaf, I engaged in hundreds of conversations with financial advisors. One of their primary areas of concern, since our inception, has been the threat of digitally enabled competitors. Digitization does change the competitive landscape but there are even more opportunities than threats for those who choose to evolve.
The Blueleaf platform has been designed to solve the problems expressed to us during those conversations.
Keep an eye out for a series of “How To” articles that we have coming up. Our team has heard your input and we put our heads together to find the right solutions. I’ll lay out exactly how to implement them over the next few weeks. Subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss it.
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