Driving & Designing Technology For Advisors

by: Institute for Innovation Development

Summary

Advisors in the next few years will see technology happen in leaps and bounds and it will be substantially disruptive to the industry.

Advisors will specifically see a wide range of technologies coming into their operating environment that will combine the physical, digital and biological worlds.

Components are a cutting-edge way to create an interface, a new improved way to integrate technology between firms.

How to design technology for greater adoption and experience for advisors and their clients.

We are only at the tip of the technology iceberg.” – Lisa Dolly, CEO, Pershing

In her comments in front of over 2,000 financial advisors at the Pershing INSITE 2018 Conference in Orlando last week, Lisa Dolly, CEO of BNY Mellon/Pershing gave advisors a peek into their technological future.

Dolly stated that while the financial services industry has been lagging way behind in many key areas of technology development, advisors in the next few years will see technology happen in leaps and bounds and it will be substantially disruptive to the industry. In particular, advisors will see a wide range of technologies coming into their operating environment that will combine the physical, digital and biological worlds.

Automation will simplify complex functions, robotics will improve productivity, self-service will provide autonomy and control to the user when they want it, artificial intelligence will predict behavior and allow us to customize the experiences that our clients are looking for, and biometrics will improve personal recognition” said Dolly.

In applying the latest technology trends for advisors, after extensive input from advisor clients as to their most pressing needs, three key areas have emerged for Pershing’s technology development focus. Some are still in development, but are well on their way:

1. Biometrics – facial/voice recognition and fingerprint ID for authentication and high risk transactions will enhance efficiencies, eliminate paperwork and meet security challenges.

2. Artificial intelligence – AI will provide predictive client insights to help understand clients better – their preferences and concerns - and help improve relationships by demonstrating how well advisors know their clients and how they can deeply personalize their interactions.

3. Chatbots and conversational user interfaces – a tool of growing popularity among consumers, this technology provides a way to improve service and information flow 24/7 between clients and advisors.

Beyond APIs

James Crowley, COO, BNY Mellon/Pershing further explained Pershing’s technology priorities, in the same general session, by citing that the firm is currently running 75 different APIs (application programming interfaces) that they created across 400 tech companies and many Pershing clients’ technology stacks to ensure different systems throughout the firm are talking and working seamlessly with each other. But more importantly than just the numbers, he stated, is the depth and quality of the integrations that the firm is developing with key technology partners like Envestnet, SalesForce and MoneyGuidePro to reduce operational friction to allow advisors to be more efficient and productive.

Integration is critical to be able to deliver enhanced value and experience to both advisors and clients” stated Crowley.

But the big story, Crowley felt, was how Pershing Advanced Technology Lab is working beyond APIs to drive more information and resources to advisors by also working on being able to deliver “components” to advisor. Components are where Pershing has the ability to deliver to advisors the full technology applications behind new resources developed, the full business logic and rules, without advisors having to build them within their technology stack. This will cut down advisor firm development costs, be a more efficient way to send them information, and help firms expedite speed to market of new services. Components are a cutting-edge, new way to create an interface; a new improved way to integrate technology between firms.

Designing Tech for Experience and Adoption

In a private discussion with Ram Naggapan, Chief Information Officer, BNY Mellon/Pershing and his team, Ram outlined the extensive technology development process starting with advisor/client advisory boards, tech advisory boards and feedback loops so they can build to order addressing the most pressing needs. Only then do they go look for what are the right technologies to apply to their needs.

Our technology direction and requirements are driven by our clients. It is not an arbitrary process. It comes from the needs and use cases from the clients.” stated Ram.

This is a proven innovation best practice of building and designing around the customer and a great reinforcement for advisors that in innovating and developing new services for their customers, start with their clients and don’t just build from your heads and expertise. This mindset is the difference between creating an invention (novelty) and an innovation (adoption).

At Pershing’s advanced tech lab, they go through an extensive process of journey mapping to empathy design in order to find, apply, and tweak the right digital technology processes and the right design to get adoption. You determine all the touchpoints and ask if both the advisor and client are happy at each touchpoint? Once you map the whole journey you have optimized not just the advisor’s experience and client’s experience, but also optimized for that collaborative interaction and connection – the holistic experience.

It is all about the advisor and the investor being empowered by putting more tools in their hands to build a greater relationship and experience between them.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.