In order to provide the highest level of financial advice for clients and compete against robos, advisors must use technology that helps them develop a competitive edge in service, advice and customer experience.

Advisors can often put together more appropriate portfolios based on their knowledge of the market and their clients. However, without robust portals that pull together all the information and reporting needed by both the customer and the advisor, they struggle to compete with the simple user interface of the automated systems.

A strong client portal is more than just a login screen for accessing reports on portfolio performance. The leading portals also include financial planning software to get a granular look into a client’s financial situation, portfolio accounting software that reports and manages the client’s investment accounts, and customer relationship management software that manages the client relationship.

Another part of the equation is the risk tolerance questionnaire, which is a vital part of these tools and provides direct access to asset managers.

However, in order for these questionnaires to be useful, they need to go beyond the basic questions of income and expected retirement age. These questionnaires need to be robust and ask in-depth questions that tackle the client’s financial responsibility, medical background and health history, job sector and even where they are located.

Clients have become more technology-savvy and expect transparency when it comes to their finances, and the latest platforms serve as a point of contact between client and advisor. A simple interface provides the end user the ability to view their portfolio in detail, as well as allowing them to access key financial information. Providing these platforms is extremely important to provide a better customer experience for their clients.

So when it comes time for advisors to select a client portal that incorporates CRM, portfolio management and financial planning software, how do they decide which portal is best suited for their practice? Additionally, how do you find them, and how are they different from one another?

The best answer is starting with what other advisors in their sector are using. Some of the most popular client portals are Circleblack, eMoney, Oranj, Robustwealth, and Wealth Access.

When evaluating the portals, consider a few key questions:

  • How does it help streamline the firm’s CRM?
  • Can the system aggregate accounts across different companies to provide a holistic view of the portfolio?
  • What reports and financial details are available to the customer?
  • Is it important to be available online and have a mobile application?
  • How does the portal protect sensitive financial data?

By focusing on the needs that are most important to the practice, advisors can select the portal that best combines functionality and user experience to compete in the marketplace.

This story is part of a 30-30 series on navigating the growing world of choices for client portfolios.

Larry Shumbres

Larry Shumbres

Larry Shumbres is the chief revenue officer of Totum Risk in Atlanta.