Top 3 Themes From 2022 Wealth Management Edge Conference.

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After attending the 2022 Wealth Management Edge conference in Florida, we are excited to report that every speaker highlighted the same 3 priorities, exactly what ReachStack is built to impact.

Conference Summary | Wealth Management Edge | Wealthstack | Hollywood Florida.

Despite the threat of a real life hurricane bearing down on Wealth Management Edge / WealthStack conference in Hollywood Florida last week, there was terrific enthusiasm and positive energy by the 2000 or so attendees.

Rocking some stylish South Beach inspired jackets, Mark BrunoJill Hickle and the entire Informa team did fantastic job pulling together wide range of thought leaders, industry executives and technology partners to connect and discuss what’s been happening in the two years we’ve been locked in our home offices, and what the top Wealth Management priorities are for next two years. Short answer is a lot of exciting things!

My takeaways – 3 themes in every presentation and discussion.

  1. Accelerating digital adoption and Client Experience modernization
  2. Required integration of all technology systems and tools
  3. Making data actionable for Advisor impact

Although these themes are not new, it’s clear we are finally seeing real focus and progress in these areas. Executives are now driving digital adoption and investment vs giving it lip service. Firms are demanding that all systems and technology connects together, enabling more efficient data sharing and automated workflows. Everyone has lots of data now, but few are doing much with it. Firms are eagering asking for simple action orientated tools, which help Advisors use all this data to better understand and impact their businesses.

While the pros like Davis JanowskiDavid Armstrong and Sean Allocca have shared their thoughts in last week, I wanted to share a few observations from perspective of technology and digital service provider.

Theme #1 – Accelerating Digital Adoption and Client Experience modernization

The Wealth Management client experience is 10 years behind most consumer focused industries. There are lots of reasons for lag in adoption, but things are cooking now.

“Wealth Management has been a laggard for adoption of proven digital tools, technology and services, but not anymore.” ~ Joe Duran | Goldman Sachs

Think about the experience you have with Amazon, Netflix or Uber. They are so easy use, with 1 click signups. They make proactive personalized suggestions you love and deliver tremendous value for price you pay.

Contrast that to experience of an average Wealth Management client or prospect. High friction, manual workflows and interactions. Infrequent information or communication from Advisor. Minimal personalization or acknowledgement of their specific situation. No easy way for an Advisor to stay up to date on your need and interests, and proactively reach out with suggestions.

The difference in 2022 is executive interest and commitment to investment. After years of hearing middle managers talk about need for digital, key executives are driving the effort to close the gap quickly. We are seeing firms like Raymond James announce $500 Million technology investments in Advisor sales enablement and digital client experience.

Most executives speaking at Wealth Management Edge reinforced their commitment to driving digital adoption and a modern client experience, and gave specific examples of programs and initiates now underway. Exciting times!

I was particularly impressed with presentation by Joe Duran who leads Goldman Sachs Personal Wealth Management business. As Joe shared the details of their Client Experience modernization. He said a lot of very interesting things, but I love this.

“The world has changed. Clients with financial advisors who only connect 4x a year want to know where they are other 361 days.” ~ Joe Duran | Goldman Sachs

Joe Duran of Goldman Sachs presenting at Wealth Management Edge Wealthstack

Theme #2 – All technology needs to be integrated for efficiency

Couple of things are true. First, Advisors want one dashboard to run their business. A single “pane of glass” containing all the tools, information and workflows that they need. They want to learn one platform really well, and not have to log in or learn several systems or apps during the day.

Second, in today’s technology landscape it is not efficient to have systems or platforms that aren’t connected to one another. Most modern applications are cloud based with robust APIs, allowing efficient sharing of data, and automation of workflows by calling required functions and other activities happening across the backend enterprise.

It’s clear from comments made by many executives, especially technology leaders like Christine Cataldo of Mercer Advisors, Jeff Haines of Thrivent, Gavin SpitznerTim Welsh of Nexus, Amy Flourry of Rehman, Vib Arya of Shufro Rose, Shannon Spotswood of RFG Advisory and Robert Pettman of LPL, that they have no interest in looking at any more stand alone tools. Fundamental requirement is that all current and future tools need to seamlessly connect to their existing technology ecosystem, but they also each vendor to suggest ideas on how a tighter integration will unlock new value for business.

Innovation Technology partners at Wealth Management Edge Wealthstack

If we use data access as an example. Reachstack uses client data from across the organization to understand each contact’s interests and needs, then automates personalized, revenue nurturing sequences on behalf of the associated advisor. Integration with CRM and other sources is key to unlocking the value of this personalized communication workflow.

Theme #3 – Making Data Actionable for Advisors

Everyone is talking about data, some even refer to it as the new oil, but with most firms now having lots of data available, the challenge shifts to leveraging it for business impact.

Firms are now looking for partners with ideas and solutions that make it easy for Advisors to understand what the data means, suggest clear “next best” action, then help them efficiently execute that action. Data analytics, AI and automation are part of these solutions, but need to be focused on goal of positively impacting Advisor activity and impact.

Raw data doesn’t help most Advisors grow. A few want to poke around in charts and tables, but most just want information or insight they can do something with.

“All I want to know is… WHO to talk to everyday… and WHAT to talk to them about.” ~ Taylor Jobe | Harvest

Richer data on each Client should enable Advisors to provide a more personalized, proactive and satisfying experience. Challenge is efficiently scaling the impact by providing Advisors with tools, processes and new skills to do it effectively.

“Every advisor now has access to lots of data and the same toolset. Winners will be decided by who figures out how to use it most effectively” ~ Penny Phillips | Journey Strategic Wealth

Advisors we spoke to only want more technology or data if it directly helps them drive their business. Specifically helps them better understand opportunities and interests, satisfy current clients, generate referrals or close revenue opportunities faster.

Ryan Donovan of Orion Advisor Technology noted that their ongoing M&A activity is focused on providing Advisors with a platform that assembles a set of data driven, easy to action workflows designed to deliver measurable business impact. Redtail CRM acquisition is latest piece. Exciting stuff.

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Michael Kitces did an interesting session. Instead of talking technology, he focused on how Advisors can use basic client data they have now, to build more efficient processes and workflows that impact their business. One suggestion was developing a 12 month themed communication and interaction calendar, with automated client emails on each theme, then tracking response to see who’s interested in what. Allows advisor to focus time each month with clients most engaged on specific topics or services.

Michael Kitces presenting at Wealth Management Edge Welathstack

Bottomline: Lots of progress and opportunity in Wealth Management technology right now.

So in summary it’s a very exciting time to be involved with advisor technology in Wealth Management. Lots of appetite by clients and advisors, and we are starting to see the required investments being made to create and provide the right enablers.

On a related topic…to illustrate how Reachstack helps Advisors better understand, satisfy and grow their client base we offering a free 90 trial. Contact Neil Kapasi to discuss.

Look forward to any feedback or discussion. See you 2023 event!

Brendan Kenalty

brendan.kenalty@reachstack.com

Neil Kapasi

neil.kapasi@reachstack.com

About ReachStack

Reachstack is a data driven client intelligence, communication and automation platform for Financial Advisors and sales professionals. We make it easy and efficient for advisors to use personalized, strategic communication and content sharing as growth driver for their business. ReachStack plugs right into an Advisor’s CRM dashboard to provide actionable insight and revenue nurturing options at the contact level. Current integrations include Salesforce, Redtail, Wealthbox and Microsoft Dynamics. Coming soon are Practifi and XL8R.

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