Financial advisors once feared that technological advancements would erase the need for their services. But forward-looking advisors are fighting back by tapping into the power of technology to further humanize the client experience and stand out from the crowd.
Technology is a critical piece of the puzzle for any advisory business. Portfolio management solutions will likely always outperform an advisor’s ability to predict the market, while risk management tools help advisors better communicate about their investments. In fact, according to Charles Schwab’s Investing & Technology Survey, 63% of investors believe technology will entirely manage their portfolios in the next 10 years.
Today’s wealthtech solutions cater to this by helping advisors free up time from portfolio management and performance reporting. These solutions are commoditizing advisors’ traditional value proposition; shifting where they show their clients their expertise, knowledge and prowess in navigating the complex financial environment. This game is over. The internet, mobile apps, and DIY portfolio management solutions give investors greater control, enabling them to optimize their money management alone.
As such, advisors who retain a value proposition based on financial performance will have a short shelf-life. Even if you are as good as Michael Burry in predicting the markets, the machines were built to outperform in this arena. They can process much more information instantaneously than a human will ever be able to. So why should advisors even focus on beating the machines? We shouldn’t. Let’s hand it over to them and complement their algorithms with what humans can offer by the truck load: The ability to empathize and understand our clients.
One Door Closes, Another Opens
According to Schwab, investors feel human financial professionals do it best when giving financial advice, providing customer support, and understanding an investor’s entire financial situation. Yet, very little technology has been built to support the client experience and even less to engage those who are not numbers orientated and who tend to focus more on life outcomes.
These non-financially minded clients will never care about performance. They want to see what you spoke about come to life. Where we show we understand what they value in life and extrapolate their values into the goals and strategies required for them to live their best life. Then keep them on track to live the life they’ve always dreamed of, while offering peace of mind that their money is being managed to empower them to achieve their life aspirations.
Humanity-Led Advice Will Endure, It Is Time Technology Supported It
Money is deeply personal. While tech can give advisors data on every individual within that client account, only the advisor can implement self-awareness and empathy to tap into a greater ability to drive full engagement within a family. A computer can’t ensure that the spouse or aging parent’s voice and desires are heard. These are the moments during which an advisor proves their value. Where the client sees you as their hero, protecting them from market volatility and aiding them in traversing life’s turning points.
It’s also why many of us joined this industry. To help as many people as possible shape and sustain extraordinary lives. But along the way, we—as an industry—have been distracted by technology that adds little additional value to the client. It has also kept us firmly in our seats as “the number people,” not the coach and guide we aim to be.
It’s time we pivoted our value proposition from financial enrichment to life enrichment, placing greater value on the strategic advice we deliver. Advisors need technology that will enable our industry in charging forward, focusing on helping our clients and their families lead the lives they dreamt of, rather than taking a percentage of their wealth. Wealth that clients may want to spend on their family, friends, community or legacy instead of letting a lawyer distribute what they have accumulated over the course of their lifetime.
We need the technology to support advisors in facilitating, capturing, and bringing to life these conversations in a way that better resonates with all their clients, not just those that are financially minded. Technology that’s designed to lead with heart and empathy and put compassionate conversations and a deep understanding of clients’ needs at the core of their practices. With financial performance taking a back seat as one tool in your toolbelt that supports a client in achieving their goals.
Advice has always been about showing the heart and empathy. This is what differentiates us from the machines. It’s time for technology to catch up and support us in delivering a memorable, measurable, and repeatable client experience.
Santiago Burridge is CEO and Founder of Lumiant, an advice and client engagement platform that empowers advisors to connect with families around their values and money goals.