By Pamela Stross
This year has proven to be the world’s largest work-from-home experiment to date. In recent years, companies have allowed some staff members to telecommute, but COVID-19 has accelerated the remote work movement.
As the severity of COVID-19 continues to alter America’s workforce, investment advisories across the country have transitioned to the work-from-home model. From Wall Street to Main Street, we have seen a seismic shift in culture to ensure safety among employees and the public. The current pandemic has replaced handshakes with virtual calls as the financial sector endures what is appearing to be the new normal.
For registered investment advisors, the arrival of COVID-19 is accelerating a trend already in progress: advising clients virtually. While certain necessary work will continue in person, the virtual option appeals to many clients, especially those in younger generations.
RIAs are providing convenience to clients via video conferencing while also offering personalized advice that clients will never receive from an algorithm. Because COVID-19 has forced the public to embrace online interactions, the trend toward RIAs conducting business virtually will only accelerate.
Infrastructure Prevalent In The Financial Market
The RIA space already contains many of the cloud-based solutions that advisors require to manage their businesses and advise their clients in a virtual world. As more technological innovation comes online, working remotely will become even more efficient with benefits for clients and potential for a positive impact on the bottom line.
Digital document signing solutions provide clients a secure way to close the deal without having face-to-face meetings. Plus, the virtual forms offer more convenience than paper applications and disclosures. They are a safe alternative for the client and the software requires all signatures and initials to be in the right place for the task to be completed. Because of this evolving technology, advisors will no longer have to chase clients for signatures.
Cybercriminals endlessly probe businesses’ tech platforms for weaknesses. As a result, security must always be at the forefront of any RIA setup. Important protocols include requiring staff and clients to always use passwords when logging into meetings. Multifactor authentication is important to maintain general security.
Technological innovation also continues to make meeting platforms more sophisticated, both for clients and for internal staff. Many offer experience-enhancing features that include integrated screen sharing and calendars, call-in numbers and automated reminders. Access to video capabilities allows internal staff to keep an open line of communication throughout the day as needed. Applications like Zoom or Teams provide ways to communicate with just the push of a button.
Managing Investments Through Virtual Meetings
Creating a strategy for managing investments during the COVID-19 crisis requires the experience and human touch of an RIA. That concierge-level RIA-client relationship is key in working with a client to develop a strategic response to the market’s volatility.
At times like these, investors may be prone to panic. As all RIAs know, this may lead to high call volumes and requests for appointments. Providing clients with the service and sound advice they are accustomed to certainly would have presented a greater challenge in the past. Today, advisors can use videoconferencing to keep pace with the demand, along with staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. While we are in the midst of a critical period, advisors can remain fully focused on managing client portfolios through the use of virtual meetings.
The Change Is Inevitable
The COVID-19 crisis is representative of the impact technology can have to improve the client experience while still efficiently running operations. Modern technology has become increasingly fundamental, as digital tools are allowing advisors to continue their business rather than having to hit pause. Through such tools, advisors are providing clients with the same convenient availability along with their depth of experience as we navigate through these challenging times together.
Pamela Stross is CEO of TruClarity Management Solutions. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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