Slideshow Tech Survey results: Top vendors and more

Published
  • December 01 2017, 12:00am EST
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Despite fears of a tech-led revolution, automated advice and natural-language artificial intelligence are not yet ready to eclipse traditional advisors. Indeed, those technologies may never be ready to take over the human element.

Major advances across the financial planner’s toolkit are making tools more useful and efficient. Vast improvements also allow advisors to build broader and deeper relationships with clients — and, perhaps most importantly, justify their fees.

“We recently purchased Social Security analysis software [that] is very robust and goes much deeper into planning around when to take Social Security,” says one advisor at a national RIA and one of the respondents in this year’s exclusive Financial Planning Tech Survey. “It’s not cheap, but has helped us close $15 million in business over the last year.”

In the study of roughly 1,000 advisors — from independent RIAs to planners affiliated with a broker-dealer to other types of advisors — some surprising and counterintuitive ideas about the tools of the present and the future were revealed.

While wealth management firms of all sizes are trying to streamline their operations to benefit clients, smaller firms, especially, are focused on ways to enhance the human element and provide smarter, better and more sophisticated advice.

The information gathered in the survey can help provide a road map for technological advancements in the years to come.

Click through our slideshow to find out which technologies advisors think will have the largest impact on the industy in 2018 and beyond. The answers may surprise you.

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management

Tech that will change wealth management

Among advisors at large firms with more than $500 million in assets under management, 44% say that robo advice is poised to transform wealth management in the next few years.

Those who have already deployed robo solutions say it has helped them reach younger clients with low-balance accounts.

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management

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Technologies that will impact advisors

Smaller practices — those that have less than $100 million in assets under management — ranked behavioral finance and advanced risk-profiling software higher in their list of transformative technologies than did their larger peers.

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management

Tools used by advisors

Customer relationship management tools are the most widely used software tools among advisors with 90% of respondents actively using them. Financial planning software (85%) and portfolio management tools (82%) are also used by the vast majority of advisors.

In contrast, less than two in ten advisors say they are using a robo-advisor.

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management

CRM

Nine in ten advisors surveyed say they are using customer relationship management software to better relationships with clients.

Salesforce and Redtail are the most popular among respondents, both with 23%. Microsoft Outlook (14%), Wealthbox CRM (4%) and Ebix SmartOffice (3%) also made the list of top CRM tools.

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management

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Portfolio management

Among portfolio management tools, 18% of respondents say they use Morningstar Office. Other popular tools include, Envestnet (11%), Albridge (11%), Orion (8%) and Black Diamond (6%).

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management

Financial planning tools

Two financial planning software tools stood out among respondents. Thirty-one percent of those surveyed use MoneyGuidePro while 24% use eMoney. Other top tools include MoneyTree (4%), SunGuard (3%) and Advicent NaviPlan (3%).

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management

Risk assessment software

While the plurality of advisors were either unsure about their risk assestment software or were provided one by their broker-dealer or custodian, a handful of products stood out among respondents.

Riskalyze was far and away the most preferred tool being used by 32% of respondents. FinaMetrica (8%), Pocket Risk (2%) and Morningstar (1%) also made the list.

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management

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Robo solution

It's not a surprise to see Betterment at the top of this list. Eleven percent of respondents say they use the leading independent robo. Equally, 11% of those surveyed say they use Schwab Intelligent.

Other top robos include: Fidelity Go (8%), SigFig (4%) and Vanguard Personal Advisor (4%).

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management

Client portal

While most of the respondents say they use their broker-dealer platform or a custodian, 19% say they used eMoney as their client portal, which topped all other platforms.

Other notable portals include: Albridge (7%), MoneyGuidePro (6%) and Orion (4%).

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management

Tech influencers and decision makers

When it comes to recommendations, tech decision-makers are skewing younger. In 2017, 25.5% of those who influenced which tools to purchase were 25 to 34, and 37.1% of them were 35 to 44.

When actually making the final decision, 6.8% of those who ruled on purchases were 25 to 34, and 21.5% were 35 to 44.

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management

Content Continues Below


Survey stats

In the study of roughly 1,000 advisors surveyed, most of the respondents were independent RIAs (34%).

Others included independents affiliated with broker-dealers (27%), hybrid advisors (16%) employees of broker-dealers (14%) , bank-affiliated advisors (6%), insurance agents (4%) and CPAs (3%).

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management

Firm AUM

The largest group of survey respondent came from larger firms managing over $500 in client assets (39%).

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management

Respondent age

Not surprisingly, the majority of survey respondents were in the 35 to 64 age group. Just 2% of respondents were under the age of 25.

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management