Page 19 - Newcom
P. 19

    professional development
“Everything we do now can be done in a matter of minutes as opposed to hours”
    So, what happens to advisors who miss out on the finite HNW pool? And what about the 86% of Canadian house- holds with less than $250,000 to invest, who don’t meet minimum account thresholds?
Smaller accounts have often been pushed to call cen- tres or bank branches. Now, they’re sometimes being nudged to in-house robo-platforms. Advisors don’t neces- sarily want to get rid of these accounts but they face pressure from dealers, and many brokerages penalize advisors for taking small accounts.
“Now these dealers are starting to look at that space and go, ‘What can I do for these people? We don’t actually want to lose them,’” Morford says.
While traditional options for serving smaller accounts, such as mutual funds with deferred sales charges (DSCs), are being phased out (see “An end to DSCs,” p. 22), new technology and fee models are emerging. Advisors will need to take on more small clients, and provide more value to all clients, to maintain current revenue.
The abrupt shift to remote work in response to Covid- 19 has forced advisors to radically adapt their practices. It
Physical distancing has required advisors to adopt com- munication tools such as video conferencing, and mar- ket swings have forced many to execute transactions remotely.
“I think this is going to push forward the acceptance of various technological tools,” says Guy Anderson, sen- ior investment advisor and financial planner with Aligned Capital Partners Inc. in Toronto.
Most advisors at his firm were already using digital wealth manager Nest Wealth’s onboarding platform. After a brief conversation to determine whether the client is a fit, he sends them a link to complete largely pre- generated forms; the account can be opened in a few minutes.
“I don’t have to physically drive to see anyone. I don’t have to print any forms. I don’t have to mail it to them. Even [know your client] updates I can send through DocuSign,” says Anderson, who has no minimum account threshold for clients.
“Anything and everything that we do now can be done in a matter of minutes as opposed to hours. That really reduces the amount of time it takes to service a client and, therefore, the profitability of certain clients.”
Jeff Thorsteinson, Agora’s chief operating officer, says advisors must distinguish between high- and low-value tasks in order to remain profitable.
Advisors can automate the repetitive, administrative work, like driving to clients for signatures and rebalancing accounts — work that’s necessary but perceived by the client as having little value.
“We believe that, over time, advisors are going to need to have twice the assets just to make the same income they earn today,” he says.
The only way to manage that growth is with a scalable technology platform to handle the more mundane tasks, he says.
Many firms are investing in proprietary customer rela- tionship management products or white-labelled platforms for their advisors.
David Gunn, country leader for Edward Jones Canada in Toronto, points to back-end investments the firm has made. Getting rid of data silos has allowed a retirement planning tool to communicate with an insurance planning tool, for example, and saved hours of data entry. The time Edward Jones advisors need to spend preparing for annual reviews with clients has been reduced by at least half, he says.
Sam Febbraro, executive vice-president at Investment Planning Counsel in Toronto, says the pandemic has hast- ened the firm’s adoption of its advisor platform to allow
may be the nudge some advisors need as they figure out how to serve clients more efficiently.
Automating low-value tasks

   17   18   19   20   21