At our 2021 Advisor Summit On-Demand, Envestnet’s President, Stuart DePina, and I had a conversation about data and analytics in the financial services industry and where we see it heading in the future. If there is one element of that conversation that I want to remind advisors of on a daily basis, it is that we should be excited about data not just because of how it helps advisors, but because of how it helps your clients.

Here are three specific ways that clients benefit when advisors use data intelligently.

1. More efficient and productive interactions

It all starts with making each and every interaction with your client as effective as possible. Think back 15 years… you probably had quarterly meetings with many of your clients. The meetings were an hour long and required eight or more hours of prep beforehand. You’d open the meeting by asking a lot of questions to catch up with each other, present your results and plan for the next quarter, and then spend a few minutes discussing that plan at the end of the meeting.

Today, when you sit down to work, data is at your fingertips. Key client information is already up to date, so there is no need to spend precious meeting time phishing and updating your records. Rather than sifting through data and spending time explaining it to the client, it is easier than ever to quickly and efficiently present key information so that you can get right down to business. As a result, we’re seeing more advisors have more frequent meetings with their clients – shorter, more productive meetings that nurture deeper client/advisor relationships. Thanks to data analytics, high-touch relationships become a reality, not just something we say when we send out regular email newsletters.

2. More personalized service

A lot of the prep work that went into those hour-long quarterly meetings used standardized templates. You and your team updated materials that you had already prepared and used with other clients. It helped your materials to look professional and allowed you to spend your time on results and recommendations.

Today, preparing for a meeting looks much different. When you look at your client list, you can see that each one of them is in a slightly different place in their lives. Data helps you to meet them exactly where they are in their journey. Are they expecting grandchildren? Maybe it is time to discuss trusts. Are they ready to downsize their home? Maybe it is time to discuss mortgage options. Are they starting a small business? Maybe it is time to discuss capital. Data helps you to know which products and which courses of action might be right for their situation.

Data analytics enable you to make each client interaction deeper, timelier, and more relevant than ever before. You become a partner, who provides the right information at the right time, not unlike the other big data brands that have become ubiquitous in our lives: Google and Amazon. Both companies are the gold standard of using data to serve up uniquely relevant recommendations for a specific time in a person’s life, based on their personal behavior and characteristics. Templates and generic advice have gone out of style.

3. Better advice

I saved “better advice” for last on purpose. Efficient meetings and personalized service are only as good as the quality of your advice. This is where it all comes together. Better information equals better advice. Great advice provided at just the right time in a client’s personal journey? That is how trust is built.

Today’s advisors are empowered by data-driven recommendations and actionable intelligence embedded right in their tools. They have the opportunity to become an “Amazon-like” or “Google-like” trusted financial wellness partner – the resource the client turns to first to learn and grow.

But before my Amazon/Google comparison goes too far, it is important to note that client privacy and compliance is a huge part of the data analytics’ role in financial wellness. Compliance and privacy protections are built directly into the tools advisors use to help ensure that clients are safe and that all results benefit the end consumer. We’re not collecting data, we’re using it. It’s the combination of what the data telling us, the financial advisor’s experience in giving advice, and their personal understanding of their clients’ needs that makes the magic happen.

Stay tuned to hear more from us about financial wellness and data intelligence in the coming months. In the meantime, visit our 2021 Advisor Summit On-Demand homepage to view my conversation with Stuart as well as other exciting keynote presentations and panels. Using data effectively and efficiently benefits us all – advisors and clients!

The information, analysis and opinions expressed herein are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Envestnet. These views reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of writing and are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing contained in this piece is intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type.

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