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The Silver Bullet for Delivering Quality Advisor Tech Platforms

September 17, 2020 Steve Zuschin By Steve Zuschin

We’ve all heard this story before.

Your firm’s top advisor suddenly leaves and takes their $200M book with them.

  • Why did they leave?
  • Could we have done something to get them to stay?
  • How do we prevent this from happening in the future?

The secret: It starts with the advisor tech platform.

If advisors are getting what they need at their fingertips, leaving becomes significantly harder. Sure, you can charge different fees. You may even have different supervision and awesome practice management consultants. But if the technology experience is great, recreating that would be a nightmare for most advisors.

Technology is the silver bullet for large firms looking to retain their top advisor talent.

Here are the elements of a platform that advisors can’t live without:

The technology ENHANCES advisors’ workflow. It doesn’t rewrite it.

Adding a new capability to your advisor stack should be easy. As soon as a feature takes the advisor out of their comfort zone, that’s it. You’ve lost them. Adding a completely new module isn’t always the answer. Often, the simplest and most effective route is API-driven. Calling an external engine for the heavy lifting when appropriate and surfacing the most relevant data and results in the right place, allowing you to focus on the Advisor experience.

New features are launched with extra education and training.

Any new capabilities need to be easy to learn for people to use them. Even non-engineers know this. But being easy to use is not enough anymore. Instructions need to be explicit. Walk-throughs need to be organized. Processes need to be defined and outlined. Every launch should include as much educational material as possible.

Pro tip: When you think you’ve gone overboard, you might just have enough.

When it comes to adoption, education is often as important as the actual feature enhancements. After 10+ years of managing enterprise software relationships in financial services, we’ve noticed the most successful deployments are the ones that also invest in education.

The platform leverages key partners to do the heavy lifting.

The broker-dealers and wirehouses with the best advisor experiences are separating themselves from the pack. This is why many Advisors you work with decided to build their brand with you in the first place. You provided an experience they liked and valued.

With the war for advisor talent in full force, consolidation is coming. Focusing on the experience you’re delivering to your advisors has never been a greater differentiator than it is today. It’s important to look at your platform and decide if you can provide a spectacular experience while also maintaining the back-end engines.

This doesn’t mean you are expected to build a custom CRM, planning system, or tax optimization platform yourself. Partners are emerging that specialize in these areas and are focusing on how you can use the API to enhance your existing experience. Leveraging these APIs where you don’t have the expertise in-house can set you up for success and allow your platform to be agile for the next chapter in financial advice.

Household-level Management: The API that’s Changing our Industry

At LifeYield, we work with some of the largest financial institutions in the world, enabling their advisors to manage and coordinate all the accounts within a household. Solving for challenges like asset location, household-level rebalancing, and taking tax-smart distributions give advisors a tangible, measurable way to improve after-tax returns.

Our founders have been working towards the goal of household-level management for decades. When built correctly, you’ll save time and maximize resources across the firm. But most importantly, you’ll deliver an exceptional digital experience advisors and clients will love.

Steve is the EVP of Advisor Success at LifeYield. He's responsible for leading our Direct-to-Advisor channel and always keeps up on the latest advisor technology. Steve writes about how advisors can grow their business by building stronger relationships with clients and adopting new technology.