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T3 Tech Talk Lightning Round: Hot Takes on Hot Topics

By Rosa Atkinson

Keeping up with the latest developments in advisor technology can be challenging, as the relationship between advisors and technology continues to evolve. Practifi had the amazing opportunity to attend and participate in the T3 technology conference, which has become a leading event for financial industry professionals seeking to stay abreast of the latest trends and innovations in advisor technology.  

The conference provides a platform for industry leaders to come together, share ideas, and explore new ways to leverage technology to better serve their clients. Our Tech Talk Lightning Round panel was just one of many insightful sessions at the conference, and we were delighted to engage in a lively and thought-provoking discussion with our fellow panelists and audience members.

Meet the panelists:
Tim Highland
head of product strategy
Spenser Segal
chief executive officer
actfi, inc.
Frank Coates
chief technology officer
dynasty financial partners
Tricia Rothschild, CFA
independent director and
strategic consultant

Couldn’t make it to the panel or conference? No problem, we’ve summarized the discussion for you. Among the topics covered by the panel were the myth of the perfect tech stack, emerging technology trends, strategies for maximizing existing tech stacks, and the possible implications of AI for advisors.

The Myth of the Perfect Tech Stack

In the past, firms often built their own in-house technology solutions or relied on closed all-in-one platforms. However, today’s landscape is much more open and diverse, with many best-of-breed solutions available that offer specialized functionality and interoperability with other tools. While the flexibility and choice provided by best-of-breed solutions can be appealing, they can also create complexity and integration challenges for firms. All-in-one solutions, on the other hand, may offer more seamless integration but can be limiting in terms of functionality and customization.

Ultimately, the “perfect” tech stack will depend on a firm’s unique needs and priorities. It’s important to start by defining what problems the technology is meant to solve and then evaluate solutions based on how well they meet those needs. Balancing the benefits and drawbacks of all-in-one and best-of-breed solutions is also important, as is considering factors such as cost, ease of use, and vendor support. The key is to align the tech stack with the service model and to segment the service model to ensure that the tech stack aligns with the complexity and net worth of the clients served. There is an importance of setting up a tech stack to mirror and support how advisors want to spend their time, and the need to bridge gaps that exist between attracting clients and onboarding, financial planning and investing, and qualified and non-qualified assets.

Technology Trends – Using More of What You Have

In addition to the myth of the perfect tech stack, the panelists covered a range of trending topics — from the convergence of technology tools to the rise of AI and its impact on the financial industry. As technology continues to evolve, it’s essential for financial advisors to stay up to date on these emerging trends and developments.

1. Convergence – all-in-ones, acquisitions, etc. 

Advisors should pay attention to convergence, all-in-one solutions, and acquisitions. Convergence in technology means the consolidation of various tools and software into a single platform or suite of tools. This can be a boon for advisors, as it can simplify their technology stack and make it easier to manage. One example is all-in-one solutions, which offer a single provider for all technology needs. While this can be convenient, it’s important to note that they may not have the best-of-breed solutions for every use case. It’s important to carefully evaluate any all-in-one solution to ensure it meets all of your needs. On the other hand, there are acquisitions by larger firms that may lead to a more cohesive suite of tools. 

Overall, convergence can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can simplify the technology landscape and make it easier to manage. There is the importance of an open architecture that allows for the deployment of a core “operating” system that enables best-in-breed where it makes sense. 

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI and machine learning are rapidly evolving and offer opportunities for advisors to streamline operations and improve client experiences. Examples of AI and machine learning in use in the industry include chatbots for client communication and natural language processing for data analysis.  At this point in the advisor tech industry’s evolution, there is a high chance of seeing an acceleration of advisors focusing on high human-value activities. It’s important to systemize tasks and processes that can be handled by algorithms, using machines and algorithms to drive value and take work off the plates of humans and advisors. 

3. Mobile and remote technology

Mobile and remote technologies have become essential in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Advisors need to be able to work effectively with clients remotely, which means having access to secure and reliable communication tools and mobile applications.

Embracing Technology for Success

Advisors and technology, what’s the deal? The consensus amongst our amazing panelists is that advisors should not step aside for technology, but rather embrace it in a way that makes sense for their business. So, where should advisors spend their time? According to our panelists, the key is to focus on delivering value to clients and understanding what truly matters to them. By building a solid plan and executing it, and focusing on building a “moat” around your advisory firm, you can set yourself apart.

By adopting the right technology solutions and focusing on increasing value to clients, advisors can stay ahead of the curve and provide a superior client experience. As technology continues to evolve and impact the financial industry, advisors who stay informed and adapt to new trends will be the ones who thrive in the future. So, whether it’s through attending conferences like T3 or staying up-to-date with industry news and insights, it’s essential to make technology a priority for your practice.

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