Technology Tools Advisors Must Have

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Email, laptops, smartphones. Yes, these are must-have technologies not only for advisors’ personal lives but also for the success of their businesses. But in addition to these everyday gadgets, advisors I interviewed mentioned certain off-the-shelf software and proprietary software as other technologies they cannot live without.

Of course, most advisors use a multitude of technologies to conduct their business, and they have a difficult time picking out one particular technology that is most essential.

“Let me count how many,” a Morgan Stanley advisor said when asked what technology she considers a must-have.

Asked the same question, Michael Menzies, CEO of Pembroke Asset Advisors, pointed to Hello Sign, the Google-owned signing software

“From the client’s perspective, the technology we can’t live without is , because to keep documents signed and on time, that’s the easiest thing for them to use,” Menzies said. “Things have to be changed constantly to stay compliant, and (the software makes them) easy to change, send to the client, get a signature and move on.”

The aforementioned Morgan Stanley advisor listed the company’s proprietary performance reporting software as crucial.

“Without that, there’s no way to respond to a client to let them know how they’re doing,” she said.

Said Jeff Vaughn, a senior investment advisor with Merrill Lynch in Charlotte, N.C., “We have a work station, and the work station drives everything we do.”

Several advisors we spoke to said VPN and encrypted emails are paramount, since business is often conducted remotely.

Weina Hou, a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch in Berkeley, California, said remote access to email is essential to her business.

“Most conversations with clients are through email,” Weina said.

But considering modern humans’ dependence on technology – both from a personal and business standpoint – it was refreshing to hear the perspective of David Barnes, president of Heber Fuger Wendin, an investment advisory firm in Bloomfield Township, Michigan, founded in 1934.

“If we really had do, we could live without anything, I suppose, because we did it for 50 years,” Barnes said.

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