The Plight of the Modern Financial Advisor: Time is Not on Their Side
Financial advisors come in all shapes and sizes, but all have one unifying trait — their time is limited. Most advisors wear many hats — sales, support, research, IT, compliance, HR, planning — the list goes on. I hear the phrase “I’m just so busy” at least three times a day when I’m talking to clients and prospects. While each of these aspects of their business are important, most advisors I speak with want to put the majority of their focus on two things — serving their clients and growing their practice.
As an Account Executive at YCharts, I spend my day hearing many of the same concerns. An advisor’s day is hectic — meeting with clients, preparing presentations, prospecting, networking, responding to emails, phone calls, meeting requests — it sounds overwhelming. And after all that, they are still relied upon to fulfill their basic responsibility — providing investment advice. As detailed in this Financial Advisor magazine article, advisors currently spend only about 17% of their time on investment functions, down from 20% in 2012, as they increasingly focus on business development and servicing existing clients. I often wonder where they find time to stay on top of the market, review clients’ holdings, or research investments.
There’s a (Web) App for That
Unfortunately, advisors tell me that to handle these tasks, they’re forced to dip into time that could be spent face-to-face with clients or prospects. Both aspects are important, but the research and analysis process doesn’t have to take as long as it may have in the past. On a daily basis, I get to show advisors how they can save time on these tasks, and in doing so, spend more time growing their business and delighting their customers.
A survey of YCharts customers towards the end of 2016 revealed that, on average, YCharts’ clients save an average of 3.6 hours per week utilizing our platform to perform research, prepare client-facing material, or analyze portfolios. Assuming a 50-hour work week, that’s 14% of your week — not an insignificant number. Extrapolate that time over the course of a year — how much extra time is that to spend communicating with clients or prospecting new business? (If you’re curious, it’s 182 hours, or 7.5 days). It’s not everyday you get the chance to put time back on the clock.
Every Picture Tells a Story
I hear it all the time — “I need to tell my clients a story” or “I need them to understand my approach.” In an era where financial advice is increasingly commoditized by the rise of index funds and robo-advisors, advisors need to differentiate themselves. Storytelling is a key aspect of that process. Whether it’s through an increased social media presence, a consistent newsletter or blog, or white-glove notes to clients, advisors are seeking ways to strengthen relationships and communicate clearly with clients and prospects alike.
According to an InvestmentNews article, advisors spend 26.4% of their time prospecting and 59.1% servicing current clients — that’s over 8.5 hours of a typical 10 hour day spent on tasks like preparing for meetings, attempting to reach new audiences, or educating clients. Tools like YCharts that help to streamline those processes, enable you to tell more effective stories, clearly explain plans, and facilitate communication with clients, become increasingly valuable when you consider how much time is spent on these critical activities.
Where does that leave advisors? Still very busy — that is unlikely to ever change. However, thanks to innovative solutions on the market like YCharts, advisors have an increasing toolkit available to streamline their daily tasks, freeing up time for them to focus on what really matters — keeping their clients happy and their business growing.
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