Inside the 2012 Tech Survey

2012 FP Magazine Tech Survey 2012 FP Magazine Tech Survey

This year’s survey provides insights into advisors’ changing relationship with the technology they use each day. To improve the accuracy of results, single-use links to thousands of readers were implemented making the survey the most scientifically accurate version the magazine has ever done.

1. Greater Willingness to Adopt New Technologies 1. Greater Willingness to Adopt New Technologies

Advisors seem more focused on technology issues than they were a few years ago, and their willingness to adopt relatively new technologies has increased. Only 4% of respondents plan to shrink their technology budget, while 36% expect it to grow.

2. Technology Revenue Allocation 2. Technology Revenue Allocation

Up to 37% of respondents said they would dedicate 1% to 5% of annual revenue to technology and technology training, while 32% said they would dedicate 6% to 10% of annual revenue.

3. Mobile Device Trends 3. Mobile Device Trends

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone among independent RIAs (46%), while the BlackBerry trumps among bank-affiliated advisors and employees of broker-dealers (13%). Surprisingly, 20% of advisors still do not use smartphone for business at all.

4. Tablet Growth 4. Tablet Growth

Half of all advisors now own a tablet – and of those, 81% own an iPad, 15% own an Android, and 7% own a Windows tablet. CPA advisors are twice as likely to purchase a Windows 8 tablet, because of the amount of time spent in MS Excel.

5. Perceived ROI and CRM Software 5. Perceived ROI and CRM Software

36% independent RIAs said they enjoyed an above-average return on their CRM investment, 51% said they got an average ROI, and only 16% complained of below-average results. Among CPAs, however, 28% received below-average ROI. A reason for this might be that 43% of CPAs use Outlook as their CRM, which is not CRM software.

6. Portfolio Management Software 6. Portfolio Management Software

Variations across groups in use of portfolio management software and services were substantial. Morningstar Office did relatively well across all groups, with the exeption of CPAs. Albridge, which ranked second overall, drew almost all of it strength from dually registered advisors and affiliated advisors, having almost no support among independent RIAs and CPAs.

7. Financial Planning Software 7. Financial Planning Software

MoneyGuidePro remains the top choice among independent RIAs, and all other advisor categories, except bank-affiliated advisors, where NaviPlan holds the top spot.

8. Rebalancing software 8. Rebalancing software

Overall, 69% of advisors said they do not use rebalancing software. Financial Planning Magazine suspects that ease of use, or lack thereof, was an impediment to growth and adoption of rebalancing software.

9. Document Management Software 9. Document Management Software

Adobe Acrobat remains the most popular among advisors (38%), while 33% don’t have document management software.

10. Social Media 10. Social Media

LinkedIn was the most popular social media site by far, because of its perception as a business site. Among bank-affiliated advisors, it was the only social site with a substantial following. But although many advisors use social media in some business-related fashion, many do so infrequently. Only 30% use social media at least daily, while 36% use it once a month or less.

11. Integration of Programs 11. Integration of Programs

The average advisor’s technology is better than it was a few years ago. Although the custodial and B-D satisfaction numbers fall short of where some in the industry think they should be, relatively few advisors say they are “very unsatisfied” with the technology these firms provide. Attitudes are changing towards support of technology issues, albeit slowly.