Day 2 from T3: Many Paths to Digitizing the Financial Advisor Experience

T3 Conference’s Day 2 Explores How Technology Tools Empower Advisors to Achieve More Effective and Efficient Work

Julius Buchanan, Senior Contributing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

The second day of the T3 Conference began much earlier than the first, with the crack-of-dawn risers gathered for a talk on equity compensation by Bill Dillhoffer, President and CEO of StockOpter, at 7:05 am, and the main stage presentations beginning at 8:00.

While today’s presentations covered a range of topics with insightful advice, the emerging theme across multiple talks centered on improving advisors’ work through technology.

Here are some highlights from T3’s second day:

  • Hyperpersonalization and authenticity. During the panel, Meinecke named two prominent trends in wealthtech: hyperpersonalization and authenticity. Though commonly understood as a depersonalizing force, technology has evolved methods to provide detailed personalization for clients and with that, opportunities for advisors to develop authentic client relationships at scale.
  • How to improve client onboarding. Randy Cass, CEO, Founder and Advisor at Canadian-based Nest Wealth presented on the three largest problems in the client onboarding process:
  • treating digital onboarding as if it were analog, which imports the inefficiencies of the manual process
  • a focus on simply opening an account that ignores the opportunities to gather and organize data
  • the vain attempt by onboarding tech vendors to dominate the advisor’s desktop rather than ceding that battle and working with CRMs and portfolio applications that do occupy that space
Syrup with a smile, the Canadian way!

Cass closed with a playful invitation to the audience to visit the Nest Wealth kiosk: “We’re Canadian. Come by – we have maple syrup, we have Canadian bacon … We have none of that. But we’re friendly.”

  • AI strategizes estate plans. Andrew Altfest, Founder and CEO of FP Alpha, spoke on “Democratizing Advanced Planning Through AI and Automation,” surprising the audience with poll results showing 92% of financial advisory clients said they wanted help with estate planning, yet only 22% received help.

Altfest described the use of artificial intelligence to analyze scanned tax, will, trust and estate documents to highlight gaps, weaknesses and tax liabilities so that advisors may strategize estate plans with clients, removing the time-intensive process of skilled manual review.

  • Balancing technology with the personal touch. Neesha Hathi, Managing Director, Chief Digital Officer at Charles Schwab, informed the audience on striking the balance between technology and people, noting that the pandemic pushed advisors toward technology, but also renewed clients’ appreciation of the human experience.

Breaking down components of financial advisory work, Hathi identified planning, goal tracking and relationship management as areas where technology will boost advisors’ capabilities in the future but never replace the personal touch of human talent.

Julius Buchanan, Wealth Solutions Report with Tate Haymond and Ruth Sorrells of d1g1t
  • Transforming digital engagement with small changes. FMG’s Chief Marketing & Experience Officer Susan Theder and Chief Product & Technology Officer Dave Christensen talked on tips to improve digital marketing including emails, blogs, social media and websites, proving with data that small changes to digital marketing yield large results in client engagement.

Theder pointed out that communications are far more crucial that most financial advisors suppose: “The number one reason that clients leave their advisors is poor communications.”

After two days of pondering what technology means for the wealth management industry, the answer is clear: Ditch the tie.

No tie? No problem!

Whatever impact technology may have on wealth management, it certainly means a flexible dress code. Red Converse shoes? Wear ‘em! Mustard yellow pants? Hit the runway! Tee shirt? You’re too cool for school.

In fact, Cass stated from the main stage that “I haven’t worn shoes in a couple years,” (due to the pandemic) though he did indeed wear shoes to the conference.

On a heartwarming note, the atmosphere of this conference feels like a reunion because old friends and acquaintances who haven’t seen each other since before the pandemic now have the chance to reconnect, share a meal, catch up on personal stories and welcome newcomers. Regardless of how markets trend in 2022, camaraderie makes this industry great!

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

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