XYPN Roundup: Technology Solutions for Independent Financial Advisors

7 min read
May 04, 2020

If you’re a financial advisor who is serious about building your business, leveraging technology isn't an option—it's a necessity. The advisors who are comfortable using technology in their firms are the ones who will thrive in today's digital economy.

But when it comes to technology as a firm owner, it's not just about thriving. It's about surviving. Because without technology, much of the work advisors do wouldn't be possible.

In this resource roundup, you'll learn more about the must-have tech solutions that will help you become more efficient, effective, and ultimately take your firm to the next level. 

What Core Tech Does My RIA Need In the First Year? 

As you’re getting your firm off the ground, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of technology choices available. Whether you plan on sticking to the basic necessities or whether your firm will rely on the most cutting-edge technology, you may feel like the number of options out there makes it nearly impossible to get started in selecting your tech. Which offerings are really worth the investment? What tools will be fundamental to running your business? And how do all these tools work together? 

XYPN’s core tech stack has been designed to take the guesswork out of this process. In this post, I outline some of the tech partners XYPN works with directly, along with some other options you might want to consider. This will help you ensure you have all your needs covered and have a good handle on considerations such as integrations, pricing, and the basic features of the software you’ll need right away. 

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How to Choose a TAMP for Your Financial Planning Practice

If you’ve started your own business—even if it’s not a financial planning firm—and gone through the process of selecting vendors for all your business needs, you know how daunting the task can be. Before you even get to the point of selecting vendors, you must decide what services to offer. You’re the boss so like most other decisions, the choice is yours. But choose wisely because these are monumental decisions that will significantly impact your business for years to come.

For firm owners without prior investment management experience, the decision to offer investment management services can be especially overwhelming. After all, very few firm owners want to take on the responsibilities of Chief Investment Officer, Trader, and Portfolio Administrator on top of all the other hats they’re already wearing.

But when bringing on new financial planning clients, conversations naturally flow to investments and how the client is managing their money (especially during times of greater market uncertainty). Often, they will look to you as a trusted source for guidance.

If you've been referring clients out to investment managers you trust and you want to keep it that way, keep doing what you’re doing. But if you’ve had those conversations and watched enough of your clients walk out the door to other advisors, maybe it’s time to explore how to add investment management services to your firm.

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Free (Or Almost Free) Tools to Freshen Your Firm's Website

The new year is right around the corner, and maybe you’re already feeling inspired by what the season symbolizes—fresh starts, rejuvenation, and clean slates. Why not focus some of that excitement and give your firm’s website some quick updates?

Don’t worry if you’re not a developer—the tools below are user-friendly and the best part, they’re free (or have a free offering)!

Images & Graphics

You know the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”? This is incredibly true in the digital world where readers are more apt to skim your content and rely on visuals to help them understand your message.

Think about your niche, your ideal client, or even the emotions you want someone to feel when they view your site or think about your firm. Look for images that portray those personas or invoke those feelings.  

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3 Tech Solutions Every Independent Financial Advisor Should Be Using

When talking to the financial advisors in our Network, I always make a point to ask, “What’s the hardest thing you’re facing right now?” 

Unsurpsingly, concerns like compliance and marketing frequently come up. But perhaps more often people cite time—or rather lack thereof—as their biggest limiting factor. Nothing is necessarily going wrong with their firms—there’s simply not enough time in the day to accomplish everything on their seemingly endless to-do list.

Lucky for us, we live in the 21st century and are armed with new technology created solely to make our lives easier.

But with this technology comes many options, which can lead to more questions.

Which technology solutions are worth my time? Is this really worth the cost? Just how steep is the learning curve?

Some technology like Zapier is life-changing (which is why it has its own blog post), but can take some time and effort to learn. In fact, most technologies have some sort of learning curve (some are much smaller than others) but the effort you put into learning how to leverage technology solutions will pay dividends well into the future.

In this blog, I've outlined three must-have technology solutions that will boost productivity, minimize headaches and hassles, and make your life a whole lot easier.

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Free Time-Saving Tech Solutions to Incorporate Into Your Financial Planning Practice

Tech. It’s something I love to talk about and, based on the number of posts in XYPN’s member forums, XYPN members do too. I’m always looking for new apps, quick tips, or hacks that can save me time and make my life a little easier.

Like I wrote previously, time management is one of the biggest problems and stresses advisors face in the Network. When you are your own CEO, CCO, CMO (the list goes on) and wearing multiple hats daily, technology has the power to free up some of the time you’re always chasing.  

The downside of investing in a new technology, however, is that there is usually a cost. That’s one of the many benefits of joining the Network—the core technology ($540+/mo value) that you use is included in your membership cost.

But, as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Maybe so, but what about some free technology that will make your practice a little more efficient and your life a little easier?

I’ve selected four different apps to consider incorporating into your financial planning practice. One is geared toward client communication, and the other three are mainly focused around improving productivity. While none of them are specific to the financial planning industry, all can play a role in making your life better, and the best part is they’re all are free.

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Leveraging Zapier in Your Financial Planning Practice

There are generally three camps of business owners when it comes to using technology for process automation:

  1. They don’t know a solution but they believe it’s possible
  2. They’ve heard of Zapier but haven’t dared to try it
  3. They've learned Zapier & implemented the basics

If you aren’t in the third group, you are missing out on a powerful tool that I used to strengthen the onboarding process at my firm and to streamline my social media curation strategy. I went from learning about Zapier to consulting with RIAs on the power of Zapier in their firms. I discovered many entrepreneurs fall into the second group.

In this article, I will give you five ways you can leverage Zapier to accomplish one of these lofty goals: make your firm more efficient, improve your brand awareness, or increase your revenue.

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Creating a Cybersecurity Plan for Your Financial Planning Firm

It is clearly a challenge in the modern era of business to make serious technology decisions. We now see a pace of change that disrupts technology planning on nearly a quarterly basis, less accommodating than the year over year hardware and software updates and releases we have grown accustomed to.

Paired with this breakneck speed of technology is the comprehensive move to the use of Internet-connected applications -- both in the web browser and on smartphones and tablets.

This shift to the web began over a decade ago. And since the emergence of the iPhone in 2007 and iPad in 2010, the acceleration of our business tools becoming a part of the “Internet of Things” has been stunning.

This combination creates complexity for financial planning firm owners and puts pressure on all advisors tasked with protecting data and information for an RIA to make smart technology decisions. You must balance efficiency, risk and profitability.

But cybersecurity is not a new topic. In fact, it has been a part of our conversation on risk since the first systems connected to the Internet. It is just exacerbated now in our digital, always-connected way of doing business.

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Must-Have Tech Solutions for Your Firm, featuring XYPN members Mark Wilson and Krista Cavalieri

Without technology, much of the work advisors do wouldn't be possible. But as helpful as technology is, the sheer number of options can be overwhelming. The most successful advisors know which tools to use to best serve their clients and understand how to most effectively leverage technology to build a better business. In this on-demand webinar, XYPN members Mark Wilson and Krista Cavalieri share the must-have tech solutions that will help take your firm to the next level. Learn how to successfully deploy technology within your practice to solve issues and achieve the outcomes you want. 

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Technology Tell-All: Tips and Tricks for Integrating Technology into Your Firm

Ask any independent financial advisor what their biggest limiting factor is, and more often then not you'll get the same response: TIME.

Lucky for us, we live in the 21st century and are armed with countless new technologies created solely to make our lives easier. In this recording, XYPN members Arielle Minicozzi and Adam Cmejla share which technologies they've successfully integrated into their firms, and which technologies aren't worth your time. 

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