Day 1 from T3: the Human Element Takes Center Stage

T3 Conference’s Busy Opening Day Emphasizes the Human Element in Wealthtech

With buzz in the air for the first T3 Conference since the pandemic interrupted this annual wealthtech event, the conference rebounded with a new record in attendee numbers.  Indeed, based on a show of hands at the welcoming address by conference producer Joel Bruckenstein, a large number are attending for the first time.

Day 1 off to a great start!
Julius Buchanan, Senior Contributing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

One might expect a wealthtech conference agenda to cover how to code a great API, the latest UX/UI trends or some other tech-heavy topics, leaving the RIA professionals in attendance scratching their heads and checking their watches – but nothing could be further from the truth. Multiple presentations on the opening day in Denton, Texas, covered the human element of technology.

Here are just some of the highlights from day 1 of T3:

  • Connectivity and Culture.  Richard Cancro, Founder and CEO of AdvisorEngine, took the stage immediately after Bruckenstein, asking “Is your firm ready for the future?” Cancro asked firms to consider three areas – connection with advisors, business personnel and clients, creativity derived from innovative culture that encourages questions and risks and celebrates small wins and marketing-based growth.
When the left brain and right brain collide
  •  “Ease and Speed” versus Getting to Know Clients In-Depth.  Orion Advisor Services’ CEO Eric Clarke and Chief Behavioral Officer Daniel Crosby presented on behavioral finance with eye-opening insights such as an experiment showing that subjects saved twice as much money if they looked at a photo of their children for five seconds before any investment decision, or another study demonstrating that while respondents are confident they can live on 80% of their income, they claim they can’t afford to save 20% of their income.

Crosby pointed out that 64% of financial planning clients stated they have no one (including their advisor) to speak with about their investments, cautioning the attendees that “as an industry we make judgements that privilege ease and speed over depth of connection,” and challenging them to examine connections with their own clients.

  • Strong Tech and Weak Service Equals Low Value.  Scott Victoria, COO of TradePMR, led a panel discussion entitled “How Valuable is Tech Without Good Service?” asking panelists to contribute stories and advice on both stellar and disappointing service.
  • What Does Service Look Like After You Sign the Agreement?  Warning the audience that wealthtech services from third party providers can drop dramatically after signing the contract, one of the panelists, Marc Horner, Founder of Fairhaven Wealth Management, stated, “Nobody’s going to say in a sales presentation, ‘we’re going to put you on hold for 20 minutes.’”
Julius Buchanan, Wealth Solutions Report, with Georgette and Lee Regan, Financial Fitness Group
  • Tech and Client Due Diligence.  Morningstar’s Vice President, Business Development – Advisor Client Experience Thomas Aviles presented on “How Can I Deliver Personalized Advice at Scale?” demonstrating how technology can aid discovery of a client’s risk tolerance and goals, then match those parameters with the client’s portfolio.
  • Ride ‘Em, Cowboy!  On the lighter side, the pre-conference opening video featured Joel Bruckenstein in a Texas cowboy hat and vest, and Evestnet opened its presentation with a skit poking fun at the video call culture that developed over the past couple years.

In this editor’s humble opinion, the highlight of the day was lunch served from authentic Denton, Texas food trucks. If you didn’t try the barbecue, you didn’t really visit Texas!

We look forward to sharing more with you as T3 continues throughout the week.

Julius Buchanan, Senior Contributing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at jbuchanan@wealthsolutionsreport.com

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