The results of the latest technology survey by Financial Planning suggest the older advisor seems hesitant to utilize the range of technology available into their practices.
For instance, over 35% of advisors aged 65 to 74 said they were not using any type of financial planning software; nearly 48% said they never use social media.
And yet, there are advisors like 72-year-old Gary Witten, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based advisor for Voya Financial Advisors, who "loves the integration we have with MoneyGuidePro and eMoney."
In our ongoing discussion with advisors and wealth managers around the country about technology and practice at the ground level, Re: Invent|Wealth spoke with Witten about the tools the veteran planner has managed to put to work for his practice and his clients.
What technology do you use and what does it do?
iPads, MoneyGuidePro and eMoney have assisted me in building the new client experience along with Join.Me [an online collaboration tool]. We are giving clients remote access to see all their accounts using MoneyGuidePro, CashEdge and now eMoney. We are co-creating a living, breathing, retirement plan to better serve their needs and not simply just giving them paper. We use Join.Me to create the remote virtual meeting where we do our teaching. There is nothing to download and it provides an instant connection with video capabilities.
When did you decide to implement these tools in your daily work?
I introduced the iPad into my practice for client meetings in 2010 after it first came out in the United States and have used Money Guide Pro since Voya introduced it on our platform. I had the opportunity to speak at length about the new client experience at Voya’s Advisor Insight Conferences since 2012.
How does it improve the quality of what you do?
So much of what I have created has come from the book, The Experience Economy. The authors' major premise that I identify with is that work is theatre and every business a stage. They described creating an experience that touches the four experience realms: It has to be educational, it has to be entertainment, escapist, and esthetic.
The experience has to almost take your breath away. Staging the experience has to be entertaining and energizing. The experience has to be unique and ultimately transformational. I see my role as an advisor at Voya Financial Advisors changing now to be the facilitator of this new technology.
How does it shape the quality of your client interaction?
It is creating an experience unlike anything they’ve ever had before. They’re so frustrated to have to go to so many different websites to see their accounts and when I ask them if they have tried the new online experience, they’re dumbfounded that it’s one website, or one sign-on from a computer or mobile device where they can see if they’re on track for retirement and if their money is going to last as long as they do. I co-create with people, rather than give them a big financial plan. That’s why I love the integration we have with MoneyGuidePro and eMoney.
How did you learn to use all these tools in your practice?
The offense of the future is the new online experience. I read and studied and researched everything I could find: Joel Bruckenstein's Technology Tools For Today newsletter was very helpful. Bill Wittenberg's newsletter as well as Michael Kitces' newsletter and web site became a must. My coaching background has taught me that to master any new skill involves practice, practice, and more practice to get the confidence to execute in front of clients. My mindset was, "I will persist until I succeed."
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