How Should Wealth Management Firms & Advisors Respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic?

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. It’s an opportunity to do things you didn’t think you could do before.”

As America and the world grapple with COVID-19, that bit of wisdom from former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is on my mind.

The market and economic turmoil spawned by the current pandemic has created an opportunity for technology evangelists in the financial advisory industry to press the case for expansion and integration of their firm’s tech and implementation of innovative processes.

Properly implemented technology and systems can be serious difference-makers in times like these when clients – all of them – want information, reassurance, and, most of all, a human touch.  Advisory firms that are ahead of the tech curve have these advantages in the current environment:

Time to get personal – This is the big one. With the firm’s tech stack handling routine, repetitive tasks, advisors have more time for one-on-one calls and meetings with clients, all of whom need some level of soothing from the person they rely on to steer their financial course.

Pro-active communication – Clients receive personalized messages via their preferred channel, updating the status of their portfolio and the firm’s overall assessment of the situation at that moment.  All of these communications are timely, relatable, digestible and personalized. This steady stream of messaging is tailored to each client’s portfolio allocation, unique concerns and risk tolerance. The result of these transparent messages is fewer incoming client emails and phone calls.

Accurate, easily accessible information – Integrated technology allows the firm to reinforce its value by delivering consistent, accurate information to clients regardless of which team member answers the call or email. This capability is especially powerful when the market is tumbling, and incoming client calls become an “all-hands” task. With up-to-data available to every advisor and support staffer, anyone can quickly provide answers and reassure the client.

Increased staff productivity – In normal times, carefully selected technology and innovative processes allow an advisory firm to scale its operations with minimal staff increases. But these aren’t normal times. In the current crisis, the tech stack enables the firm to continue to deliver timely client service despite staff reductions caused by illness or self-quarantine.

If your firm’s leadership has been slow to adopt new technologies and procedures, consider making the argument again.  The current crisis is spawning daily challenges to our industry’s operations and margins. Many of those obstacles will linger as the country and economy recover from COVID and the measures imposed to fight the pandemic. Technology and innovation can help us survive and thrive in the post-COVID environment and prepare for the next crisis. Because, oh, yeah, there will be another one.