Robo-Advisor Technology and Impending DOL Regulations Not a Primary Focus for 2016
OAKS, PA–(Marketwired – Dec 30, 2015) – Fostering growth will be top-of-mind for financial advisors in 2016, according to a recent report from SEI (NASDAQ: SEIC). The SEI survey gathered responses from 484 financial advisors, who ranked their top New Year’s resolutions within three main areas — investment strategies, technologies and practice management.
Advisors’ top three priorities for 2016 were implementing goals-based investing, applying technology to increase workflows and efficiencies in their practices, and increasing client referrals. Despite being heavily discussed topics in 2015, only 20 percent of advisors resolved to implement additional front-end/robo-advisor technology, and the same percentage said they would plan to expand their understanding of the impending Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which could significantly impact their businesses.
“Not surprisingly, advisors are focused on growing their businesses in 2016 and are particularly committed to helping clients grow their assets,” said John Anderson, Managing Director and Head of Practice Management Services for the SEI Advisor Network. “However, it remains important to stay on top of ongoing market volatility and regulation, as they can potentially impact the way advisors counsel their clients and can detract focus from clients’ personal goals.”
Goals-Based Investment Strategy
Interestingly, 80 percent of advisors resolve to make enhancements to their businesses by exploring managed volatility investment strategies, which more effectively weather ups and downs in the markets. However, when asked to rank the resolutions in priority order for 2016, the number one investment-enhancement priority for advisors is to implement a goals-based approach to investing for their clients.
“True goals-based investing is setting goals and tracking against them, which helps redefine how a client measures success. It moves away from traditional benchmarks and towards a more meaningful one — progress toward specific client goals,” said Anderson. “In 2016, advisors will be focused on ways to keep existing clients happier by implementing longer-term, client-specific goals, rather than setting goals depending on the market, which will continue to fluctuate.”
Even though most advisors responded that “explore managed volatility investment strategies” is in their top three New Year’s resolutions, it is only a second priority for advisors in 2016, followed by implementing more tactical or dynamic investment options for clients.
Technology to Increase Workflows
In terms of enhancing their practice with technology, 80 percent of advisors said they planned to implement automated workflows into their technology to increase efficiencies for their practices.
Anderson said, “Increasing efficiencies is an important and attainable resolution by leveraging technology to create automated workflows. Advisors can benefit from workflow implementation in many ways; beyond increasing efficiency, it makes employee training easier, improves time management and enhances the client experience.”
Surveyed advisors were also interested in improving their social media profiles and customer relationship management (CRM) tools. Sixty-one percent of advisors plan to enhance their presence on LinkedIn and other social media sites. Advisors also anticipate upgrading their client-facing websites, followed by offering video conferencing for client review meetings, and adding new CRM tools to better track client contact information and account details.
Referrals Top Practice Management Resolutions
With regard to practice growth, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of advisors surveyed said they want to build their referral networks in 2016. Advisors ranked their top three practice management priorities for the New Year as building their referral networks, increasing contact with their clients through channels such as email marketing, events and social media, and expanding clients’ awareness of additional services that the advisors offer. Advisors are also resolved to conduct more outward-facing marketing activities (48 percent) in 2016.
About The SEI Advisor Network
The SEI Advisor Network provides financial advisors with turnkey wealth management services through outsourced investment strategies, administration and technology platforms, and practice management programs. It is through these services that SEI helps advisors save time, grow revenues, and differentiate themselves in the market. With a history of financial strength, stability, and transparency, the SEI Advisor Network has been serving the independent financial advisor market for more than 20 years, has over 6,100 advisors who work with SEI, and $48.7 billion in advisors’ assets under management (as of September 30, 2015). The SEI Advisor Network is a strategic business unit of SEI. For more information, visit seic.com/advisors.
SEI (NASDAQ: SEIC) is a leading global provider of investment processing, investment management, and investment operations solutions that help corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and ultra-high-net-worth families create and manage wealth. As of September 30, 2015, through its subsidiaries and partnerships in which the company has a significant interest, SEI manages or administers $638 billion in mutual fund and pooled or separately managed assets, including $245 billion in assets under management and $393 billion in client assets under administration. For more information, visit seic.com.