Building an operationally efficient wealth management practice

Automation can streamline processes and enhance business performance

By William Nelson
Managing Director
Head of Momentum Independent Network


The heart of a successful financial services practice is strong, trusting client relationships. Yet, most independent financial advisors can spend less than 50 percent of their time in front of clients and prospects.

As an advisor’s practice grows, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day details and paperwork needed to keep a thriving practice running smoothly. But the more time spent on administrative and compliance-related tasks, the less time there is to spend helping clients reach their goals and growing the business.

Understanding the technology and resources available at your broker-dealer can help you run a more streamlined business so you can focus on delivering an exceptional client experience and spending more time in front of clients and prospects.

Many firms now offer “next generation” advisor platforms that integrate customer relationship management (CRM), financial planning, servicing, and monitoring and reporting capabilities.

Automation can help:

  • Increase productivity with more time to build personal, engaging client relationships

  • Improve operational efficiency and streamline processes

  • Provide better client and business insights

  • Free up time to improve your reach and market the business Let’s look at how you can improve operational efficiency in some of the primary areas of focus in your practice:

Prospecting and Relationship Management
An effective CRM tool is critical for this stage of working with clients and prospects. Most CRM tools designed for independent advisors – like Redtail – allow an advisor to schedule client meetings, document meeting notes and client recommendations, and automate messages and touchpoints – like a monthly newsletter – with clients. Advisors can also organize their client base into tiers and customize the client experience for each tier to ensure they are spending more of their time with clients where they can add the most value and grow the business.

It’s also important to have access to a suite of marketing services and content to build your brand and market your business. These services often provide turn-key advisor websites and guidance for building a social media presence on platforms like LinkedIn. Pre-approved content to use on your website and social media, as well as for email campaigns is also typically a feature of the program and saves time for more productive activities.

Financial Planning
Financial planning tools – like MoneyGuidePro – allow advisors to help clients define and prioritize their goals and then build a personalized financial plan. Some platforms have client questionnaires available that help advisors ask all the right questions, and often discover new assets or information vital to the planning process. Most of these tools can be integrated with the advisor’s CRM platform so that client data can be automatically loaded. Clients can also access the platform to explore different planning scenarios and collaborate with advisors online. This tool is foundational to a goals-based planning process designed to help clients build and manage their wealth.

Servicing and Monitoring
Once a client has a financial plan, investment advisory planning tools – like Envestnet – allow investment advisors to generate proposals for managing clients’ portfolios. The program allows the investment advisor to show the client different scenarios based on their risk tolerance and how their portfolio would perform under different market conditions. After the initial portfolio is established, this tool allows investment advisors to monitor performance and make adjustments as the client’s goals or situation change.

Many firms also provide access to DocuSign so clients can sign financial documents digitally which eliminates the need to print and store paper documents. And again, the CRM tool is important for continuing to document client conversations and recommendations and schedule regular meetings and service touchpoints.

Getting Started
While all of this sounds good, how do you implement these tools into your practice? The good news is that many broker/dealer firms have updated their technology and now offer integrated investment advisor platforms. A few things to consider as you begin:

  1. Write down your goals. What are you trying to achieve for your practice? How much do you want to grow? How do you define success? Understanding how you want to grow your practice is important as you consider implementing tools to help you operate more efficiently. It will also help you consider other options outside of technology. For instance, you may want to consider hiring an assistant to help with administrative tasks. Or you may even want to think about forming a team to help you reach your goals.

  2. Consider your typical day and look at opportunities to become more efficient. Think about your typical day – or week – and consider how adding these new tools can make your business run more smoothly and eliminate paper and time-consuming activities. Write down some areas in your business where you can eliminate wasted time or redundant, time-consuming activities.

  3. Learn more about your options. Research solutions and educate yourself on how to implement them into your practice. Talk to your broker-dealer’s practice management team. This team can help you understand available tools and direct you to valuable resources, such as training and guidance for implementing digital tools in your day-to-day routine.

  4. Commit to embracing the technology and becoming more operationally efficient. Changing your routine can be difficult and, in the near term, may make you less productive as you work to implement new systems. A good assistant can be invaluable in helping you make this change. Often your firm’s practice management team can help you build a roadmap for integrating new tools over time, so you begin to reap the benefits of becoming more operationally efficient but don’t disrupt everything at once.

Trusted client relationships are central to a successful advisor practice. Building an operationally efficient practice with the right technology will allow you to significantly enhance your current clients’ experiences, while making room for you to grow and be more successful. To learn how Momentum Independent Network can help you leverage available tools and technology to take your customer practice to the next level, call one of our representatives today at 833.4HILLTOP (833.444.5586).

The paper/commentary was prepared by Momentum Independent Network (MIN). It is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or investment advice. The statements within constitute the views of MIN as of the date of the document and may differ from the views of other divisions/departments of affiliate Hilltop Securities Inc. In addition, the views are subject to change without notice.

Momentum Independent Network Inc. is a registered broker-dealer and registered investment adviser that does not provide tax or legal advice. MIN and HilltopSecurities are wholly owned subsidiaries of Hilltop Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HTH) located at 1201 Elm Street, Suite 3500, Dallas, Texas 75270, (214) 859-1800, 833-4HILLTOP. Member FINRA/SIPC

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