18 September 2014

Fidelity opens 'office of the future' showcase for financial advisors

30 April 2014  |  1026 views  |  0 Source: Fidelity

Fidelity Institutional, the division of Fidelity Investments® that provides clearing, custody and investment management products to registered investment advisors (RIAs), banks, broker-dealers and family offices, today announced the opening of the Office of the Future on its Smithfield, Rhode Island campus.

In collaboration with the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology (FCAT), Fidelity Institutional developed the Office of the Future as a physical space as well as an online interactive experience for financial advisors to experiment with some of the latest technologies poised to transform the financial advice industry.

Fidelity's Office of the Future features frequently used work spaces for the "anywhere advisor," including conference and collaborative office spaces, an airport lounge and a home environment. While the specific form factors will change over time as new technology emerges, the space currently focuses on technology that addresses seven trends most impactful for advisors today: mobile, pervasive video, evolving interfaces, cloud computing, social media, big data and gamification. Advisors can visit to experiment with the technology or take a virtual tour of the space with interactive elements that display details on the Office's technologies.

Fidelity's new technology research from its Insights on Advice series found that while almost eight in 10 (77 percent) financial advisors surveyed are making an effort to increase their use of technology in their practices, nearly all (95 percent) see challenges in integrating or utilizing it. This disconnect is mostly attributed to: 1) lack of knowledge on what technology is best for them and 2) how to set it up and integrate it with their existing technology. Financial advisors continue to face mounting pressure to adopt technology and meet investor demand. In fact, one-third (34 percent) of investors surveyed said they would switch their advisors if they were not using technology to enhance their services.

"Investors today expect technology woven into everything they do, and that includes their financial advice," said Ed O'Brien, senior vice president and head of platform technology, Fidelity Institutional. "For advisors, using technology is not about abandoning what they do so well, which is providing fh is providing financial advice. It's about finding that sweet spot that brings together human touch with technology. With Fidelity's Office of the Future, we can show advisors how to do that."

According to the survey, 75 percent of advisors felt that they needed to use the latest technology to grow assets among younger clients -- investors whose assets are forecasted to be $41 trillion by 20232 and who expect a different relationship than previous generations. Gen X/Y3 investors noted three core benefits of technology in their advisor relationships: communication, collaboration and accessibility.

1. Communication: Supplement Face-to-Face with Virtual Conversation

Financial advisors can use technology to their advantage to create the feel of an in-person meeting with more flexibility, particularly with younger investors who are comfortable with these mediums. The study found:

Video conferencing is on the rise and many advisors are interested in pursuing it.
While very few advisors use social media to communicate with their Boomer clients, many are using social media with their Gen X/Y clients.
Advisors are leveraging text messaging to engage Gen X/Y investors.

2. Collaboration: Investors Want to Validate, Not Delegate

Sixty-three percent of advisors said that recent technology developments have helped make their relationships with clients more collaborative. This shift will be important as Gen X/Y investors embrace the "validator" model, looking to make some of their own investment decisions, while turning to their advisors for second opinions. According to the study:

Financial advisors are using media tablets with Gen X/Y clients to view portfolios and reports, creating a more meaningful, interactive dialogue.
Advisors are making it easier for investors to "visit their money" and participate in the decision-making process with their advisors.

3. Access and Engagement: Quality, Not Quantity

As mobile and cloud technology becomes more pervasive, the concept of the "anywhere advisor" has gone from a possibility to a reality. In order to meet the demands on their availability, advisors are embracing technology for a more mobile lifestyle. The study found:

Not only are advisors using cloud-based applications, many are interested in using it to make their desktop accessible anywhere.
By leveraging e-signature, advisors can spend less time on paperwork, freeing up time for deeper client engagements.
Advisors are starting to see how webinars or webcasts can help them engage with clients and share their current insights.

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