For a number of advisors, discussions about technology have been loaded down with debate about industry disruption and traditional business practices becoming obsolete.
What about the day-to-day practitioner like yourself, who doesn't have time to worry about what's going to happen to the industry? How is technology affecting your practice?
This is the first in an ongoing discussion Re: Invent|Wealth is having with advisors and wealth managers around the country to talk about technology and practice at the ground level.
We checked in with Jeremy Reeves, vice president of technology at Cleary Gull, a Milwaukee-based wealth manager with just over $2 billion in assets.
The biggest challenge with new digital tools is getting people to adopt them and do things differently, Reeves says.
What technology do you use and what does it do?
We have a partnership with Envestnet Tamarac. It has a number of tools that simplify back office operations for our organization, such as Tamarac Advisor View and Tamarac Rebalancer for portfolio rebalancing. They also provide us with client portal communication reports and a few other things that are published. Outside of our core platform, we’re in the process of reviewing our CRM system, as the one we have in practice is an old, antiquated system we’re not happy with.
When did you decide to implement it in your daily work?
We implemented the technology three years ago and continue to roll out enhancements to the platform and look at them as primary tech partners and vendors. In practice, it’s been up and running for two-and-a-half years, but it’s always a work in progress.
How does it improve the quality of what you do?
Change is difficult for people who have done things the way they have always done them. We’re starting to reap the benefits of the technology, as it is much easier to access and use and there have been much more intuitive gains in processes.
How does it shape the quality of your client interaction?
Client experience is a huge thing. If you ask most financial advisor firms, they will tell you the client is at top of any value add. We have a couple niche markets we focus on. The technology we’re using today allows a different form of communication. With cyber security and risks clients have to deal with on daily basis, our goal is to simplify the overall client experience as much as possible. Clients like to do things differently though: Some like using an iPad and some don’t. Some want a paper copy and some don’t. But we’re seeing more clients who want technology. They want to pull things up on an iPad and web portal, they want self-service options.
What is one area you would like to improve upon?
Organizations need to be vigilant in cyber security practices and informing users. Most attackers are going after social engineering. Education is a big thing for clients and advisors, and it is a challenge. We’re in a different landscape from what it was a decade ago. People sitting in basements still exist, but we’re seeing bigger groups with significant financial backing.
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