The AllBackoffice team recently attended the SchwabIMPACT conference in Denver and it was an incredible experience. The sessions were informative and provided valuable insights, and the networking opportunities were numerous. We would like to acknowledge the effort it takes to put on such an amazing show and congratulate the team at Schwab for knocking it out of the park.
In this post, we share three key takeaways from our conversations with advisors and industry vendors that we met at SchwabIMPACT.
Automated data synchronization across technology systems remains elusive
It is widely agreed that many financial advisors prefer the ‘A la carte technology stack model, which allows firms to select the systems and software that work best for their business and staff. Unfortunately, a lack of deep integration across this best-of-breed system architecture perpetuates inefficiencies when these systems do not communicate. Advisors and staff end up spending countless hours each month manually entering data, juggling multiple logins, and going back and forth between tabs and applications on their machines.
While Several industry companies are working to solve this problem – Invent, Baer Software, and CData to name a few – the spaghetti model of system integration persists. It should be noted that vendors want to integrate and have taken steps to build out APIs that can facilitate integration, but the lack of compatibility across databases and strains on development teams has kept the silo technology stack, well, siloed.
The feedback we received was consistent:
“I would like my data automatically synchronized between all the software that I use to run my business”
“I would like the ability to swap out one technology for another and have the new application automatically sync with my other systems.”
“I would like to create client/household records in my primary system, and have the record updated and synchronized with contra systems.”
“I would like control over where my data goes and which systems my data automatically syncs.”
Will a vendor rise and create SaaS middleware that seamlessly integrates multiple systems through a single, unified API model? That is the holy grail, and time will tell if that unicorn appears.
Employees are exhibiting lower productivity
Every business owner faces the challenge of an employee exhibiting low productivity, and it can be frustrating and detrimental to a growing business. But, with insight and planning, you can overcome this obstacle and continue moving forward.
The effects of COVID and a change in worker behavior are having an impact on business productivity, and the problems will continue in the near future. If you are experiencing this within your firm, take solace in knowing you are not alone. There has been a significant decrease in productivity from workers across the globe. It is estimated that the global economy could lose up to $1.2 trillion this year from a reduction in employee productivity.
Advisors we spoke with at SchwabIMPACT were looking at options to help evaluate low employee productivity and put in place solutions to fix the holes. In some cases, firms that we spoke with were growing too fast, others were simply frustrated with cultural breakdowns and the day-to-day management of their team. More than one firm mentioned a decrease in productivity from employees who were a nine out of ten before COVID and are now a 2 or 3 on that same scale.
At the end of the day, all businesses must have the right team in the right seats doing the right tasks and moving towards common goals.
Need for strategic planning within the RIA office
Financial advisors know that the most important thing they can do for a client is to help them plan for their future. But what about your own future? As your advisor business grows, it is important to be strategic in the planning so you can continue to provide the best possible service to your clients. We spoke quite a bit about a three-pronged approach that we take with clients here at AllBackoffice
1. Take a deep dive into the results of strategic planning. If an advisor is falling short of goals, we ask the tough questions to identify activities that may be missing or impede the success of a strategic plan.
2. Personal productivity assessments of the advisor, and often their staff, to identify how work is accomplished, what keeps the advisor up at night, as well as what work is considered mundane, frustrating, and irritating.
3. Diagram the firm's tech and service toolset. We want to know if the advisor has the right tools to tackle issues and growing pains as they come up, and what can be done to make sure those tools are future-proof.
In conclusion, helping to manage data flow &integration, evaluating employee productivity, and strategic planning are core services that AllBackoffice provides to the largest RIAs and wealth managers in the industry. If you are experiencing any of these pains at your firm, call us today and we can discuss ways that we can help you and your staff live your best life.
Founded in 2009, AllBackoffice Consulting provides operations and administrative services to registered investment advisors, financial planners, and holistic wealth management firms. Through AllBackoffice, financial professionals transform daily functions and tasks into automated data management. Outsourced workflow support, turnkey management of technology platforms, designing and implementing workflow best practices, quarterly billing and reporting, client support and training, and more are all included in AllBackoffice's personalized support packages.