According to a recent study conducted by research firm Cerulli Associates, financial advisors largely feel that they are underutilizing the digital technology and automation tools that are available to them. At the same time, the surveyed advisors were confident that their client base places significant value on having access to a robust digital platform with mobile features, revealing a disconnect between clients and advisors in regard to adoption of technological innovations.
Interestingly, about half of all advisors questioned believed that their platforms do meet the needs of their clients, despite their reservations about their own use of technology.
Donni Ethier, Cerulli's director of wealth management, was careful to note that the issue is not rooted in resistance to technology on the part of older advisors: "Despite common beliefs, most executives observe older advisors adopting mobile CRM systems at rates similar to those of younger advisors." This was particularly true when advisor teams were mixed with older and younger colleagues: "Firm leaders often note a correlation between older advisors being early adopters of the tools and having younger employees on their teams."
The financial advisors who were surveyed were also asked to reflect on their priorities for investing in their technological toolkit in the coming year. About half cited cybersecurity as a high priority, even though almost three-quarters of the surveyed advisors reported being confident that they are already prepared to meet growing cybersecurity threats. Other high priority developments included improvements to data analysis and management (cited by 31 percent of respondents) and upgrading older technology (mentioned by 26 percent of those surveyed).
Cerulli concluded that among the biggest challenges facing financial advisors in their efforts to better utilize financial technology tools is the frequent reliance on multiple technology solution providers. The researcher concluded that financial advisory firms will need to concentrate on centralizing their technology systems into an all-inclusive interface to truly meet their technological goals.