As financial advisors grow their businesses, their operational needs can drastically change, along with the need to provide competitive services. That’s where financial advisor technology comes in.
The best financial advisor tools will enhance your processes, save you time and money and foster connections with clients about their specific goals. Today’s technology offerings can significantly improve your services, providing advantages like automation for time-consuming tasks or engaging video content for your clients, among many other benefits.
Finding the ideal technology for your business can be overwhelming, even for experienced financial advisors. The right tools depend on your specific needs, work processes and budget. The key is to first identify your own processes, and then to find the technology that best addresses those needs – as opposed to allowing a particular technology to dictate your processes. Then, you can develop a suite of financial advisor tools that can improve different aspects of your operations, including back office, planning, marketing and communications and compliance.
Let’s review the functions and benefits that technology can provide for a typical financial advisor firm. We’ll also detail some of the top tools that make up the Carson tech stack, which is provided to all Carson Partners.
Financial advisor tools that can improve back-office efficiency should start with a customer relationship management (CRM) software that can serve as a hub for other data sources. It should be a foundation tool that both collects data and provides data, essentially serving as a starting point and ending point for many of your processes. A quality CRM will offer functionality that, for example, helps you gather information about prospective clients or pre-populates paperwork like financial planning agreements.
Some popular options for CRM tools on the market today include Salesforce, XLR8, Redtail Technology, Wealthbox, AdvisorEngine CRM and Skience. Others includes Capsule, Envestnet Tamarac and UGRU.
Look for back-office technology that can improve critical tasks like trading, billing and reporting. You’ll want software that is flexible and allows you to control data so you can communicate to your clients as you need. Back-office tools can streamline all the information about your clients, including their contact information and notes on your relationship with them, into one source.
In turn, staying organized with your clients’ data can help you send more personalized messages, which will make them feel more connected to you and your business.
What Carson Partners Receive
Salesforce: Salesforce is a cloud-based service that integrates data about your clients and prospective clients in a way that streamlines several functions. Client information is stored in a cloud, so you can access it from multiple devices at any time. You can use Salesforce for personalized marketing or to respond more efficiently to customer queries, among many other advantages.
Orion Advisor Tech: Data from Orion’s portfolio management technology for trading, billing and reporting can interface through Salesforce for a customizable user interface. Advisors can leverage the custom integrations Carson has built between Orion and Salesforce, allowing for greater flexibility and control over your data.
Wealth management tools that focus on long-term financial planning can help financial advisors connect with clients over customized solutions to fit their specific needs. The key to using financial planning software is to ensure it integrates into your other technology, like your client portal and your CRM. Then you’ll be able to build off that data for expanded planning services like tax planning, estate planning and 401(k) planning, as well as more easily prepare for client meetings.
Today’s technology includes programs that provide an immersive experience and can present information with engaging visual demonstrations and infographics, including interactive charts to help weigh a client’s trade-off decisions.
The best financial planning tools will help you provide tailored information to a range of clients that can address their unique needs. Popular products on the market today include the MoneyGuide suite, eMoney Pro, RightCapital, Holistiplan and Pontera.
What Carson Partners Receive
MoneyGuide: MoneyGuide is an ideal core technology for planning for clients. It can illustrate income distribution and help with tax planning as well as provide protection strategies. Add-ons to MoneyGuide like Wealth Studios can be great tools for advisors who cater to the high net worth and ultra high net worth audiences.
MoneyGuide includes visual illustrations that, for example, demonstrate income sources, identify better investment recommendations or compare tax strategies. In other functions, it can illustrate insurance requirements, compare prices and model annuities.
Holistiplan: Holistiplan is a tax planning tool branded to your firm. It allows advisors to quickly analyze and review tax strategies, and save on costs and time with potentially lengthy review processes with CPAs or other tax professionals.
Holistiplan provides scenario analysis with key income breakpoints such as for Roth conversions, tax-efficient withdrawals and donations to charity. It’s simple to use, often requiring just an upload of the client’s tax return documents.
Pontera: Pontera can help you provide oversight of your clients’ assets like 401(k) retirement accounts. You can set alerts when clients’ accounts drift and need rebalancing, so rebalancing can be triggered by performance, not a schedule. Pontera also helps simplify tasks like billing and collecting fees on managed 401(k) assets that are not typically accounts that advisors bill on.
Carson Gameplan: Carson Gameplan is a presentation tool that automatically creates your client meeting presentation. It generates a PDF that you can use as a comprehensive document to focus on key planning, not just portfolio performance. With this 4- to 12-page overview, you can lead the conversation with your client and discuss the financial impact of significant changes in their life.
Marketing and Communications
Marketing and communications tools can strengthen and automate both your direct communications with specific clients and broader campaigns that target larger audiences. With streamlined marketing initiatives, you can gain an edge in the industry and improve brand development.
Some popular marketing and communications tools for financial advisors include OptinMonster, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, SimplyCast, FMG Suite and Redtail Technology.
A good marketing campaign and communications program can attract new clients and improve your current customer relationships. You’ll want to prioritize technology that can add efficiency to your email and texting, automation for emails and lead generation, as well as document collection and storage.
What Carson Partners Receive
Carson CX: Carson CX is your custom-branded client portal, pulling all your client communication, financial plans, performance data and document storage into one user-friendly application. With CX, you can see ongoing task lists between you and your clients, host meetings with just a click, evaluate risk allocation and track goals in real time.
Carson MX: Carson’s marketing automation software makes it easier to communicate with your clients and can save you time. You can distribute your newsletter, weekly marketing commentary, reminder emails and holiday greetings from MX.
Carson Marketing Monitor: Carson Marketing Monitor is an analytics dashboard that brings your entire marketing performance into a single view. See where prospects and web traffic are originating, such as from social media, digital ads, SEO, email outreach and more.
MyRepChat: MyRepChat is compliance-approved text messaging platform that ensures your messages are properly tracked and archived. You can use it to send texts to clients without the need for them to download an app. Other features include a scheduling function so you can set your messages to send in the future and a digital assistant that helps you schedule and automate messages.
Having the right documents in place when you have a large amount of data is key to managing your compliance program and ensuring you abide by industry regulatory rules. Some examples of software that can help with compliance goals include RIA in a Box, Egnyte, Smarsh and Salesforce.
The ideal financial advisor tools for compliance initiatives will provide efficient document storage and archiving capabilities as well as social media and advertising storage that can reduce human error. Compliance technology can also add efficiency to how your compliance officers communicate with the rest of your firm on content.
What Carson Partners Receive
Egnyte: Egnyte is a content intelligence engine that can help with file storage. Use it to manage content, provide user access and properly share documents.
Smarsh: Smarsh, which is mobile capture compliant, is used for social media and ad archiving.
Salesforce: Salesforce can provide a one-stop place for your client records, serving as a hub for compliance officers to review and approve content like ads or articles.
The Bottom Line
Finding the right wealth management tools and other technology for your firm is an ongoing process as more new programs and apps are developed to meet financial advising needs. Every firm operates in its own unique way. Ultimately, you should choose tools that you believe will improve your own business processes and best serve your clients.