Practice - Technology
Tech Trends for 2013
by: Donald Jay Korn
Friday, January 25, 2013

The three major technology trends of recent years are likely to continue advancing in 2013, according to industry technology expert Joel Bruckenstein.

Bruckenstein said that advances are likely in integration, the cloud, and mobile technology. “In addition,” he said, “financial advisors should keep an eye on developments concerning Windows 8 and Microsoft Office 2013, which may have major implications for many advisors.”

Bruckenstein is co-producer (with David Drucker) of the eighth Annual T3 Technology Tools for Today conference to be held at the Hilton Miami Downtown in February. At the conference, these trends and other topics will be covered.

“For many years,” Bruckenstein said, “advisors have been hoping to receive the benefits of integration, which could lead to a seamless desktop. That hasn’t happened yet, but we’re getting closer.” Efforts by custodians and greater cooperation among vendors is helping to bring about a world where advisors do less manual data entry and thus have more time to spend with clients.

The cloud, according to Bruckenstein, is where data can be stored remotely, rather than in someone’s own office. “For advisors,” he said, “a lot of data already is in the cloud. They may be at an advisor’s custodian or broker-dealer.” Among the advantages of remote data storage (greater security, easier outsourcing of maintenance for hardware and software), Bruckenstein points to better disaster recovery, which has come to the fore after recent events such as Hurricane Sandy. Besides custodians and broker-dealers, a number of third parties are offering cloud services to advisors, including some that will be at the T3 conference.

The second and third major trends are related, Bruckenstein pointed out. “A lot of mobile data is cloud-based,” he said. “As consumers become more comfortable with ideas such as storing photos on their iPads, they are becoming more comfortable with the cloud. For advisors, that leads to more comfort using the cloud on the business side.” Responding to a question, Bruckenstein said that advisors’ and clients’ increasing familiarity with video calls to loved ones is similarly likely to lead to more video conferences between advisors and their clients.

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In addition to coverage of such topics, the T3 conference also will include a new subject: estate planning for digital assets. “Someone could die tomorrow with family photos on Facebook, say, or a book that has been written,” Bruckenstein said. “Who owns these assets? It can be a major problem, with little law on the subject. Advisors should be counseling clients in this area.” For this conference, Bruckenstein has found a knowledgeable speaker: Shawn Snyder of Snyder & Snyder, a law firm in Davie, Fla.

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