Take a Look under the Hood of Your Business

Vector Car Spares Frame

As our industry becomes more complex and competitive, I see leading financial advisors bring new tools and techniques to better manage their businesses. These new tools allow them to leverage the business intelligence from the many data points that are inherent in their wealth management and client service processes. To optimally position their firms for success, advisors need to have access to the key metrics and drivers of profitability so that they can make decisions in an increasingly fast paced business.

Just consider the incredible amounts of data that exists in your business, not only from the wealth you are managing, but also in how you are delivering your advisory services, both in person and through technology.

Some of the key metrics to track include:

  • Assets per advisor
  • Clients per advisor
  • Profitability per client
  • Revenue per client
  • Forecasted revenues
  • Length of time it takes to complete a service request
  • How often are clients logging into your client portal, what are they looking at, what do they value, how often do they refer you, and more

Being able to track a core set of metrics positions you to better understand your productivity, efficiency, service levels, and client satisfaction, ultimately getting to a point where you can clearly articulate your value proposition based on how you are servicing your best clients and what they value.

Why is this important? According to Ernst and Young’s “Global Wealth and Asset Management Industry Outlook,” …the ability to clearly define in client’s minds a ‘unique value proposition’ that differentiates your brand identity from that of other players in a very crowded market will be the key to success going forward.”

So, how do you get at this crucial data? A great place to start is with your core portfolio accounting and performance reporting system. Having a comprehensive platform that provides this kind of business intelligence from dashboards and easy to run reports, enable you to have a direct line of sight into the key business and service issues that are driving your business.

As an example, consider what you can do just by knowing what your forecasted revenues will be, by running reports from your billing and portfolio management system to get a view 6 months out based on various market assumptions. Having this information can give you a confidence level in making a new investment in technology, or an opportunistic new hire to further your value proposition, without damaging your financial situation. Without this information, advisors are flying blind on some of the most important decisions that can transform their businesses.

The upshot here is to take a look at your existing technology to see if you can easily access these types of data through business intelligence reporting and dashboards. If you can’t, it may be time for you to start looking at today’s latest technologies.

To learn more about what you may want to consider, download our white paper, The Power to Change: How Business Insights Fuel Success.

Timothy D. Welsh, CFP® is President and founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC, a leading consulting firm to the wealth management industry, and periodically blogs for Advent’s On Point blog. He can be reached at tim@nexus-strategy.com or on Twitter @NexusStrategy.

Posted in Wealth Management and Financial Planning

6 Robo Reads Every Advisor Needs to See

Robot typing on keyboard

All robo, all the time. Or at least that’s what it feels like if you’ve read any industry publication over the past year. Even if you’re not new to the conversation, it can be hard to make sense of it all. We’ve pushed out a lot of great content over the past couple months that can help you wrap your head around the question, “excuse me, what does this mean for me?”

Part One – To Robo or Not to Robo – That is the Question
Summary: What do Robos do great and what you can learn? Read more.

Part Two – Delighting Clients Online
Summary: The urgency for advisors to begin incorporating a more compelling online presence to stay competitive with Robos on the field. Read more.

Part Three – Are You Evaluating Robo Technology for Your Practice? Three Strategies to Consider
Summary: A strategic framework to think through what Robo technology business model could make the most sense in order to grow and enhance your business. Read more.

Part Four – Ignore the Robo Siren – Stick With Your HNW Core Competency
Summary: Here, we’ll make the case that deploying an online Robo offering, particularly one that is “on the side,” and not integrated into your core offering, may actually do more harm than good. Read more.

Part Five – Will Robo Advisors Stand the Test of Time?
Summary: An opinion on the future of the early business-to-consumer Robo platforms. Read more.

Wait there’s more.

Former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer once said. “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.”


Even if you think robo technology may not become the next iPhone, don’t pull a Steve and speak too soon. Educate yourself. The robo push represents part of a broader, powerful technology trend that is set to reshape the wealth management space. Download the whitepaper, Robo-Advisors.

Posted in Wealth Management and Financial Planning

Save the Date! AdventConnect 2016


Mark Your Calendar!

We’re gearing up for AdventConnect 2016, just a year away in sunny San Diego. Here’s what’s in store:

  • New speakers and sessions
  • More networking sessions
  • More macro industry trends and best practices
  • And your favorite…a bigger and better espresso cart!

What are you waiting for? Save the Date. And stay tuned for registration details. See you at the beach!

AdventConnect 2016
September 13-15, 2016
Manchester Grand Hyatt
San Diego, CA

Posted in Advent News

Segment Your Way to Higher Profits

Pareto Principle Scale Concept

Marketing 101 is all about segmenting your target market to find the right grouping of clients that want your particular service, are willing to pay for it, and are of a niche and size that you can make a profit.

Advisors: if you don’t take the time to truly understand your target market, you’re leaving money on the table.

Advisors: if you don’t take the time to truly understand your target market, you’re leaving money on the table.

Remember the 80-20 rule, originally known as the Pareto Principle? You know, the one where 80% of advisor’s revenues/profitability/AUM come from 20% of their clients? In reality for some firms it can skew towards a 90-10 ratio. The fact that advisors let 20% of their clients subsidize the other 80% of their business shows that advisors aren’t likely focusing on segmentation a clear strategy, rather it’s a general guideline in the firm.

The good news is that adopting and adhering to a strategy around client segmentation can really enable you to identify your most profitable clients and replicate them. So, what can you do to put segmentation to work for you? First, begin with an analysis of your top clients and drill down on what makes them a perfect fit. Is it their occupation, age, demographic, life cycle, wealth levels, objectives, etc.?

By analyzing your current client list, you will be able to see first hand what commonalities exist among your best clients and then be able to market to that segment. For example, say your top clients are all female professionals recently going through a transition from divorce. Knowing this key fact then enables you to better tailor your marketing message towards whom you serve and better target your marketing resources towards networking with divorce attorneys or obtaining advanced credentials for divorce planning to develop educational divorce content that positions your firm as an expert on this issue.

On the profit and loss front, another segmentation exercise is to determine among all of your clients what the true cost to service them is vs. the revenue they generate for your firm. By tracking the time you deal with each client through your CRM and comparing his or her revenue, you’ll be able to immediately identify unprofitable clients. From there, you can develop different service tiers to bring them back to profitability or manage them up, and in some cases out, if necessary.

As an example, we are now seeing advisors harnessing the capabilities of a Robo advisor to create a low-cost, online service model that can not only right-size their income statement, but also create a new offering aimed at the emerging segment of next gen investors, emerging professionals as well as the adult children of existing clients – all of these segments can be groomed over time to create a pipeline of prospects for your full-service offering.

By putting segmentation to work, advisors can easily find ways to improve businesses today. To learn more about to put this into practice, download our white paper, Client Segmentation: The Secret to Wealth Management Profitability.

Anne Acosta is Senior Manager of Solutions Marketing and leads Advent’s marketing efforts in the advisory space. Joining Advent in 2004, Anne’s financial technology experience spans product marketing, competitive intelligence, product management, and consulting in wealth management and capital markets segments.

Posted in Wealth Management and Financial Planning

Advisor Workflows and Productivity: “A Day in the Life…Just Got a Little Easier”

On the heels of our recent award wins at the WealthManagement.com 2015 Industry Awards, I thought it would be a great time to catch up again with Black Diamond product experts Bjorn Widerstedt and Eli George. They took me through a deeper dive into details of the Advisor Experience. As you’ll remember, the Advisor Experience was announced this summer as the newest offering included in the Black Diamond wealth platform. It is currently in beta and features will be rolled out in phases later this year and early in 2016.


Kendall: At AdventConnect, it was said that the Black Diamond advisor experience will offer a tailor-made experience for Advisors and provide several new capabilities. Can you elaborate a bit more on that?

Bjorn: Sure. To start, the content available in the Black Diamond wealth platform will be firm, role, and user-configured, meaning there will be tons of flexibility in terms of what and how content is presented to advisors and their clients. We also designed the systems for both small and large firms, and specialized and general users.

The advisor experience offers tools like Presentation Mode, which will help reduce the time and effort required by advisors and operations to prepare for client meetings and create a much smoother, easier-to-follow experience for their clients. It will enable advisors to quickly select the specific information to share during presentations all from within the Black Diamond wealth platform or from external sources, like financial planning information, market outlook summaries, and information from PowerPoint, Excel, Word or PDF files. Advisors will be able to leave behind the hassles of showing disjointed information from several files and looking disorganized to clients. Meetings aren’t just about the numbers; they’re about each client’s journey toward their financial goals, and Presentation Mode supports that in person, remotely, and afterward.

Another tool called co-browsing will help advisors remotely connect with clients– advisors will be able to share their screen, and vice versa, so clients can watch their advisors toggle over aspects of their portfolio while they share updates or answer questions. We kept hearing from advisors that they were frustrated with the mass market tools for screen sharing, because the clients weren’t able to connect or had technology issues when they tried. It ended up being an exasperating exercise instead of a quick way to connect and serve their needs. Co-browsing will really help advisors have more interactive and deeper conversations with their clients. A sort of “you see what I see” that will particularly help advisors serve, teach, and collaborate with their clients versus talk at them.

Eli: We know data aggregation is also a pain point for advisors so we will be expanding our data coverage options to include investor-initiated data pulls. Liabilities are part of this as well so we can automate net worth statements for advisors and investors. Also, given that advisory workflows stretch across platforms, we are deepening our integrations to support bi-directional workflows and seamlessly integrate content with CRM, Financial Planning, and Portfolio Analytics systems.

Kendall: Could you provide some specific examples around proactive notifications?

Bjorn: Yes. Firm and advisor-level dashboards will help advisors manage their book of business. Within these dashboards, proactive notifications will ping advisors regarding daily workflows and actions, usage analytics, and trend analysis focused on growth and revenue.

The notification system can also be configured to support different user needs. For example, an operations analyst may want to know every time an account is opened or closed and be directed to all the related workflows. A portfolio manager may want to know about low cash levels, large in/outflows, and portfolios out-of-balance. And a relationship manager may want to know when clients upload documents or when reports are posted and/or viewed. The system can be tailored to each of these specific requirements.

Kendall: Can advisors use the Black Diamond wealth platform to connect with clients and prospects?

Eli: Absolutely. The Black Diamond investor experience is designed for investors, and also helps advisors better collaborate with their current clients through an experience that can be tailored to meet clients’ specific needs, whether they’re meeting in person or remotely.

For example, the investor experience includes a client portal, vault, and communications tools that advisors’ clients can access on desktop, tablet, or smartphone devices.

Using the advisor experience, advisors will also be able to create a sample portfolio to show prospects a customized experience and the potential for their portfolio were they to work with the advisory firm.

Interested in the Black Diamond advisor experience? Get a sneak peek.

Bjorn Widerstedt is the Director of Solutions Design and Product Management for Advent’s Black Diamond. He has spent almost 8 years at Black Diamond and was the founding member of the Product Management team. He is passionate about the Advisory business and loves to strategically solve complex problems and design beautiful solutions.

Eli George is the Director of Solutions Management for Advent’s Black Diamond.

Kendall Reischl manages Advent’s external communications program through public relations and social media.

Posted in Product News



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