Technology is affecting nearly every interaction between employers and employees, and advisers won’t be left behind. Brokers and financial advisers are spending more on technology as they continue to serve their clients and fill their technology-related needs.
They’re making “significant investments” in systems that will help them manage workloads, market themselves and cement their relationships with clients, according to Melissa A. Winn on EmployeeBenefitsNews.com. Many brokers and advisers see this spending as an investment in staying competitive, Winn writes. “Such tools include data analytics, which can help advisers identify and tackle an employer’s high health care costs, or survey capabilities that allow employers to find out employee wants or needs,” she writes. Many who are increasing their tech spending are also making sure their systems work with mobile technology, “offering employees a way to check their pay stub or request vacation days via a smartphone.”
Tech spending started its upward trajectory in 2013, Andrew Osterland writes on InvestmentNews.com. “Firms’ more practical objective in tech spending is to improve processes and workflows,” Osterland writes. And they’re outsourcing the work. “More advisers are looking to third parties for help deploying software and other tech assets,” he writes. “Training ranked lowest in terms of where advisers intended to spend their tech dollars.”
Ernst & Young Global Limited predicted the trend in a 2012 wealth management study. “Leveraging technology to provide a better experience for clients and advisors will be the strategic focus among wealth managers over the next two to five years,” according to EY.com. One advantage brokers and advisers find in incorporating more tech and automation: the ability to spend more time with clients. They’ve found this benefit is worth the cost of higher tech spending.
“This trend of enhancing technology, specifically mobile technology, to free up advisors’ time is consistent across all firms, regardless of the number of clients and assets under management,” according to EY.com. The trend is expected to continue throughout 2015, Winn writes, and advisers know they face a challenge in staying up to date as more new technologies emerge, and as laws and compliance requirements continue to evolve. “Future technology needs facing benefit advisers will include client tools that help employers track data necessary for compliance with the Affordable Care Act,” Winn writes.