Technology keeps creeping ever deeper into our daily lives.
From smartphones that keep getting smarter and smarter to self-parking features built into new model cars, its grip on us grows ever tighter each year. Which makes some experts wonder: What will the financial advisor of the (near) future be like? Will tech take the place of people? How will the client’s personal needs continue to be addressed, and will they continue to receive the same level of trustworthy personal service that enables them to sleep soundly at night?
These are all fair questions. With so much changing so fast, it’s essential for us to consider what’s in store for our profession.
Successful investor-advisor relationships are built on a foundation of trust, understanding and mutual respect. As advisors, it’s vitally important that we dedicate time to understanding each client’s unique situation—their goals, hopes and fears, and the whole gamut of associated human emotions. Investing can be a very emotional experience over the long haul.
No machine, no matter how artificially intelligent, can understand those complicated feelings. No computer matrix can navigate, much less understand, the wave of convoluted and sometimes contradictory feelings that accompany making major decisions about your money.
But investors don’t need to worry about one day staring across the desk at Robby the Robot, squirming nervously as he coldly calculates their next financial moves. Their advisor will continue to have a human face.
Technology will play an increasing role in the investor-advisor relationship. But it will be a beneficial role that will only make a good thing better. Every advance in financial services-related software and systems frees up more time for advisors and their teammates to spend with the person who matters most: the client.
Relationships require the investment of time – lots of time. Building that crucial foundation of trust involves more than having the client fill out a questionnaire. An effective client connection is fueled by regular and substantive communication. The advisor must understand what the client wants to do with their money and why. That’s the only way to provide customized options tailored to fit the client’s always-evolving circumstances.
Negative human emotions such as guilt, shame, greed and fear and can cloud a client’s judgment and rob them of their confidence. A good advisor guides the client through this emotional maze. But before they can do that, they must first get to know the investor inside and out. That can only be accomplished by spending quality time learning all about them.
Only then can we can marry that comprehensive knowledge with continued progress in technology. Advancements in the not-too-distant future will enable you to successfully monitor macro changes in the markets to communicate them to clients more swiftly and explain their importance to their bottom line more succinctly. Best of all, tech advances will continue freeing up more one-on-one time for advisors.
The result will be a better experience for both parties. Advisors will gain a deeper, more insightful understanding of the person for whom they are working. At the same time, the client will have increased information that is more easily digestible and delivered by someone who has the time to truly understand their objectives, circumstances and needs.
So, there’s no reason to fear technology’s role in the on-going evolution of our profession. On the contrary, there’s every reason to be excited about it.