Virtually Unbreakable: Building the Wealth Management Firm of the Future

4 MIN READ

What was once deemed disruption in wealth management has now become the new normal. As the world’s population continues to work and play in the digital realm, the demand for remote advisory firms is increasing. Like it or not, virtual interaction is our future.

Enabling virtual client service is not just table stakes in the digital era. It can help remove borders from wealth management firms and facilitate expansion. Implementing the proper technology and processes to address this will make your firm “virtually unbreakable.”

Competitive Boundaries have been Removed

A digital wealth management firm has a clear advantage over its more traditional counterparts because it is not bound by geographical borders or limited by cost-prohibitive travel expenses. Virtual advisors can do business anywhere. Clients don’t need to leave their homes.

From a marketing perspective, this gives advisory firms the ability to focus on more defined niche markets and expand their targeting. Local practices have the opportunity to become national and global players. With virtual client service, either is possible.

With limited overhead, no travel expenses, and greater availability, virtual advisors should be able to expand their client base significantly in the coming years. The need for remote services is there. It’s up to individual firms to make the changes to address it.

Remote Infrastructure is a Recruiting Advantage

Implementing a solid infrastructure that enables remote client service is a great way to attract talent to your firm. Newer (and younger) advisors are embracing the move. They see it as wealth management finally catching up to the rest of the world.  

According to an Independent Advisor Outlook Study released at the 2020 Schwab Impact Conference, 37% of advisors believe that leveraging technology infrastructure to work remotely was the biggest business opportunity of the year. The report also revealed the following:

·  71% of advisory firms invested in new technology in 2020

·  46% invested in new technology specifically for remote work

·  61% adopted new technology at a faster rate during Covid-19

Talented recruits in financial services are generally tech-savvy and looking for the right tools and infrastructure to thrive in a virtual environment. Upgrading your firm’s technology and implementing remote client service will draw more of these individuals to your firm.  

Check out a blog post we wrote:

Embracing the Digital-First Mindset and the Possibility of Limitless Expansion

Video Creates a Greater Sense of Trust

In January 2020, Forbes released the results of a survey titled “The Visual Advantage.” Out of the 300 senior executives polled, 95% of them agreed that “video creates a greater sense of trust.” That was two months before the pandemic caused any business shutdowns.

When asked to comment on the survey, Craig Cintron, head of IT Consulting at TD Ameritrade, replied, “That is really good news for advisors. Clients still want to see you and having a video option to do so helps you to serve them and deepen the relationship.”

Covid-19 may have accelerated the migration to virtual advising, but the digital evolution in wealth management was well underway long before that. Video conferencing has been around for a long time. The transition to a virtual business model would not be possible without it.

Trust is the most critical component in the advisor/client relationship. Without it, nothing else works. That’s why the client must be able to see their advisor, not simply read emails that can be easily misinterpreted. Video is the answer to that dilemma.   

Remote Efficiency Leads to Faster Scalability

Being able to quickly onboard, communicate virtually, and service clients remotely gives advisory firms the ability to scale faster. Add in automated online reporting. The time saved by implementing all of these creates new bandwidth for prospecting and closing.

It’s simple mathematics. There are only so many hours in the day. By trimming down the man-hours spent on business processes, wealth management firms free up time to work on new client acquisition. You might even get a few hours to play golf once in a while.

This is how advisory firms will compete in the digital realm. Becoming a remote-first, “virtual” advisor arms you with the tools you need to efficiently serve clients while setting the firm up to quickly scale and grow. That’s better for both advisors and clients.

The Blueleaf Roadmap to Becoming Virtually Unbreakable

Over the next few weeks, our team here at Blueleaf will be publishing a digital roadmap for wealth management firms looking to transition to virtual advising. Two of the key pieces to this are our Remote First eBook and Managers Guide to running a remote advisory practice.

The world has changed. There’s no going back to doing business the way we always have in the past. The path to building a wealth management firm for the future is a virtual one. Check back with us regularly and subscribe to our blog for the latest on how best to do that.

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Kevin D. Flynn is a former Head Coach at Blueleaf, founder of AdvisorScale Financial Writing, and Managing Editor at October Golf Magazine.
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