HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- The time to update your firm's technology was yesterday.

“There is a real discrepancy between where clients are, regarding technology, and where typical advisory firms are,” Joel Bruckenstein, the publisher of Tech Tools and a Financial Planning columnist, told attendees during Pershing’s Insite 2014 conference here on Wednesday. “We are way behind.”

Speaking directly to those firms he said, “You’re moving too slowly and you have to be more aggressive.”


Kim Dellarocca, a managing director for Pershing, concurred, but argued that each generation uses technology in a different way.

“Millennials are looking for a personal touch and integration, but Gen X  is okay with hiding behind technology,” she said. “In that sense, Gen X would consider using a digital advisor.”

The millennial generation is now the most diverse group, with minorities making up roughly 40%, compared to 27% of boomers. “Think about how you can relate to them,” she said.  

The notion of ignoring millennials because they’re too young to be relevant is obsolete, said Dellarocca, adding that big technology companies are basing new developments on Millennials' usage. “The tech you will use in your office will probably have been built with them in mind,” she said.

One thing that Gen X and millennials will see right through, the panelists explained, is an advisor pretending to be tech savvy when they aren’t.

“It’s about consistency,” said Joseph Stallings, president and founder OrangeAxis, a digital marketing consultancy. “There are sharp advisors, with gorgeous offices and their brochure looks nice," he said, but their website is lacking. "It’s flash and just going to blow my phone up.”

According to Stallings, social media tools like LinkedIn are even more important than an advisor's website because it holds information pertaining not only to their work, but their education history as well.

“Only 40% of advisors are on LinkedIn,” he said. “It’s like being in business in 1980 and not having a telephone or being in the white pages. It may be even more important than having email.”


Members of the panel addressed some advisors' reluctance to adopt new technology because of clients' age. “Baby boomers think they are 10 years younger than they actually are,” said Dellarocca. “They are one of the first generations to be friends with their children.”

According to the panelists, 73% of all internet users are using social media in one form or another and 65% of Americans age 50-64 use social media. 

Beyond that, advisors simply can't overlook such an important market, Dellarocca argued. With a population of 80 million and $2 trillion in spending power, boomers are America’s largest consumer market, she said. The financial burden of caring for both their parents and their children simultaneously means many boomers are waiting to retire. And that means they'll need even more financial advice.

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