The Financial Advisor’s Virtual Reality

When I say virtual reality, what comes to mind? Probably images of a George Jetson-type SpaceAge future filled with gadgets like flying cars and robot maids. Virtual reality is often seen as the software tool that lets us experience the world of tomorrow today.

And that’s largely true. But virtual reality is much more than a cool techno-toy for our entertainment. It’s already performing practical duty in the wealth management field, and its role is about to increase dramatically.
If you’re the kind of person who’s frightened of or intimidated by new technology, relax! Virtually reality isn’t going to take away your job. But it does hold the very real promise of significantly improving how your firm functions. For starters, in the employee training arena. Consider one cutting-edge example.

Fidelity recently made a significant investment into a virtual reality service designed to more fully engage new hires in its training system. In May 2020, some 140 newbies ditched traditional in-person learning classes and put on virtual headsets, allowing them to remotely connect and interact with each other in the Fidelity YOU (Year One University) program. Not only did that enable training to carry on during the worst of the COVID pandemic, but it also provided a more immersive, engaging experience for the participants.
That’s one of two critical ways VR can have a positive impact on your business.

Training is one of the most challenging tasks we face in getting new advisors up to speed. Face it —there are so many different client situations and market/economic cycles that new advisors must understand that it’s challenging to cover them all. They need to discover how human emotions and behaviors come into play during peaks and booms, downturns and contractions. The better they understand human responses to those events, the better positioned they will be to serve their clients.

With VR training, a new advisor can experience literally hundreds of different scenarios over just a few months. All those experiences would otherwise take years, and sometimes even decades, to process and master. Thanks to VR, junior advisors will zip through training faster than ever … and do an even better job afterward.

An added bonus is the highly individualized nature of the training itself. Instead of simply sitting in a class, reading reams of material, and listening to a presenter hour after hour, VR training will be tailored to specifically address each trainee’s needs and expertise. They will receive one-on-one training that nurtures their understanding of what steps to take to benefit their clients, and how to reassure the client that those steps will best serve the client’s needs. Each interaction can be reviewed and critiqued to assist in improving the advisor’s performance.

Secondly, the benefit to the client will be tremendous. Virtual reality will enable them to visualize what their future could look like as the result of deploying a particular various investment strategy today. VR will allow them to live through those coming experiences. Instead of thumbing through a book that dryly explains how their financial future will be impacted, they can literally watch it unfold. I believe this capability will be a gamechanger.

The old saying goes, “Show me, don’t tell me.” And virtual reality will make it possible for you to do just that.

So instead of dreading these changes, you should look forward to them with eagerness. Because when properly applied, VR will make us all better advisors.

Above all, remember this: the VR revolution isn’t heading to our world: It’s already here. The first waves are just starting to hit the beaches of junior advisor training and enhanced client services. You don’t want to miss out on the remarkable transformation that’s currently underway. Embracing it today guarantees you will be a part of it tomorrow. And within a decade, you’ll be happy you made the right decision back in 2021.

Just remember one thing: The Jetsons’ robot maid doesn’t come with it. But at least you’ve got Roomba.