Today, financial advisors operate in a far more competitive landscape than in years past. Robo-advisors and other technology-driven changes are impacting the traditional practices of advisors, creating urgency to adopt the latest industry innovations.

Here are three factors that are contributing to the industry’s shifting landscape and how enterprise content management (ECM) systems helps financial advisors adapt to them.

Robo-advisors

The term, “robo-advisor” refers to algorithmic technology that is helping investors—particularly beginning investors with smaller portfolios—cost-effectively make more informed financial decisions.

One of the ways traditional advisors can compete with robo-advisors is through software integration. When they integrate primary applications like a customer relationship management (CRM) and ECM system, advisors can quickly collect business-critical data and gain insight into their organization’s processes. In fact, a previous InvestmentNews study found that firms with integrated primary applications had higher revenues, profits and assets under management than those with limited technology investments.

As robo-advisors enter the wealth management space, advisors must re-think their approach to technology in order to increase productivity and remain competitive.

RIA Growth Curve

The number of registered investment advisors (RIAs) has grown steadily in recent years and is expected to reach 28% of market share by 2018. This figure has grown from just 11.9% in 2013. In fact, research group Cerulli Associates recently identified RIAs as the fastest growing segment of the financial advisor market.

With many new practices entering the industry, it is crucial for advisors to focus on establishing competitive differentiators. ECM systems gives advisors a comparative advantage by streamlining business processes that can take their competitors longer to complete. For example, some ECM systems can:

  • Auto-populate electronic forms, reducing the processing time and errors of manual data entry
  • Automate compliance review and approval processes, allowing advisors to quickly book new trades
  • Email electronic forms to account holders for e-signatures, saving significant document turnaround time

Compliance

With a renewed focus on compliance from regulators, advisors can expect more frequent and in-depth audits than ever before. Top advisors are using ECM systems to prepare their firms for strict compliance regulations.

When advisors automate business processes like new account opening, blotter submissions and trade approvals, some ECM systems record an audit history of every action that takes place. This allows RIAs to easily discover documents requested during an audit.

Advisors can also use ECM systems to manage client records by automatically assigning retention and destruction dates based on their records management requirements. Girard Securities—a San Diego-based RIA—uses Laserfiche ECM to improve productivity and compliance around its blotter process:

https://laserfiche1.wistia.com/medias/xe2l9pv7sr?embedType=api&videoFoam=true&videoWidth=600

The combination of robo-advisors, new competitors and stricter compliance makes for a tipping point in the wealth management industry. The advisors that come out on top will be defined by how they streamline their operations with technology.

For more information on how to provide quick, efficient investment services using an ECM system, watch this recorded webinar Automation: The Final Frontier for Broker-Dealers.

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