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How technology is changing the wealth management adviser/client relationship with eMoney’s Ed O’Brien

  • Much of the investment process has been automated.
  • Wealth advisers are doubling down on providing planning advice.
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How technology is changing the wealth management adviser/client relationship with eMoney’s Ed O’Brien

Today’s guest on the podcast is eMoney Advisor CEO, Ed O’Brien. eMoney is one of the largest wealth management platforms with over 2.5 million Americans on the platform. It’s used by over 50,000 CFAs and Wealth Management Professionals.

I wanted to utilize this time with Ed to learn about how the investment advisory business is changing and the role technology plays in this evolution.

We also chat about how voice assistants and AI tech are changing the way CFAs and Wealth Management pros invest money and manage their clients and their portfolios.


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The following excerpts were edited for clarity.

The role of technology in today’s wealth management industry

Any adviser today looking to drive his business forward is embracing technology. More traditionally, technology has applied more to the back office of an adviser’s practice. It can drive efficiencies in things like performance reporting and quarterly reporting.

More and more, we’re seeing advisers use technology to drive engagement with their clients and find new clients in business development. In eMoney’s territory, technology is showing up in and around planning. How do more advisers get more financial plans to their clients? By employing technology.

Planning as a strategic differentiator

Based on what we’ve seen, our business has grown 25 percent to 30 percent year over year. A lot of that has been the move to planning-lead advice. Things like the investment management piece are becoming more automated and there’s pressure on fees in that area, so advisers turn toward planning.

One thing I can say is dramatically changing — even if you go back as recent as five years ago — many advisers thought about planning as a static deliverable, something they created, got printed, and handed over to a client.

A big driver of our new business are those advisers that are making planning collaborative with their clients. They’re using technology and the financial planning conversation as a way to drive value in the overall relationship. As a result, the adviser understands his clients better and clients get technology to go to one place to set goals and see their entire financial lives. The conversation turns more toward how am I doing as opposed to how are my investments performing?

Data aggregation is essential to the planning process

When you think about it, how can any adviser have a robust conversation about a client’s financial life unless she can see everything? This is an industry that grew up a lot focused on the investment side of things. Equally, if not more important, are the liabilities — the household balance sheet.

Some of our best advisers start a conversation with a client just creating the household balance sheet. From there, you can build on goals and how we get there. Until you use aggregation, you really can’t get all that from the client. When they can see it all in one place on one dashboard, those are some of the biggest uses of our technology among our client base.

 

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