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Five tech tools that will make your business better

A good website, fast access to data and lifestyle-planning packages are key to attracting clients and keeping them, says Alex Wild of Plutus Wealth Management.

Website

Most consumers use the internet as their first port of call when looking for advice, so having a good company website is essential. It is the key tool for explaining who you are, what you do and the services you offer, how you charge and the general feel of your organisation. It can also host brochures, factsheets, case studies, newsletters, press releases, updates and achievements. Further enhancements include a client area and portals, financial news feeds or links to Facebook and Twitter.

Back office system

The back office system is the cornerstone of any IFA business entering the post-retail distribution review world.

It stores accurate information about clients, from contact details, policy information and meeting notes to valuations, portfolio performance, fees and commissions processing, and compliance procedures.

More than this, its real power lies in providing quick access to information for a range of purposes, such as automatic fact finds and portfolio reports, cashflow analysis, investment performance and insurance shortfalls.

Where Gabriel reporting is required, accurate management information is essential. Back office systems can produce this quickly. Care must be taken in choosing the right back office system, as moving between packages can be costly.

Lifestyle-planning software

Most back office systems have limited client interaction tools. Lifestyle-planning software enables advisers and clients to interact, but time must be invested to input as much detail as possible.

The software’s most useful capability is for monitoring a client’s financial objectives and educating them on their position. This facilitates the ability to engage with a client and understand their needs, which will lead to longer lasting relationships between clients and advisers.

These software packages are also useful in demonstrating treating customers fairly requirements.

Social media

Social media is fast becoming one of the key forms of social interaction in the world today. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube workshops or a company blog can all be used to interact with clients.

It makes sense to have a strategy and social media policy in place. As quickly as interest can be created, the converse can be true when information included is not accurate or opinions and comments listed alienate or offend followers. Company blogs may remain live on search engines for a long time and can damage a firm’s reputation as quickly as they can improve it.

Tablets

Tablets can provide an engaging way of communicating with a client, increasing mobility and business workflow.

Allowing clients to navigate directly to their client portal encourages them to use it more often and input valuable information for the adviser, such as changes in circumstances or cash flow, or adding a goal.

Lifestyle planning software can be even more powerful on a tablet, giving the client the ability to amend the information easily or input their own goals. When reviewing a portfolio, for example, clients can click on the area that interests them, which can then be discussed in detail.

It is empowering for the client to take control of their financial circumstances and that can lead to a stronger, long-lasting relationship with their adviser.

Alex Wild is a partner at Plutus Wealth Management