Finaeo has worked with 1000’s of advisors across the country in addressing their commercial and technological challenges. When I engage an advisor and their administration, my first touchpoint is a website. Many of these websites were either antiquated or irregularly updated. As websites are an advisor’s first touchpoint with the world, I was concerned with what I saw. After I became familiar with how sparingly tech tools were applied to insurance processes, I set out to consult and support advisors in becoming Bionic Advisors. This is my manifesto.
Websites were a difficult business five years ago. The free templated sites were terrible and if you wanted something sleek you would have to build it yourself or spend thousands of dollars on someone who would. IIROC and MFDA have regulations mutual fund dealers have to abide by, creating complications. Today there is a plethora of reasonable options. The simplest is heading to Advisor Websites. They will work with you to build out the site that you need, provide supporting services to make sure your site stands out online, and help you deal with regulatory challenges.
Other options include using Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace to name a few. As a guy who has a flair for design and likes to get his hands dirty, I built out a placeholder site on Squarespace which you can find here. I spent $35 and 2 hours compiling and building this site. I have no coding background and the images were taken from Pexels, where they are available for free without copyright infringement.
CRM and managing client records
Much like websites, the evolution of contact management systems has been rapid. The 1980’s began with simple contact managers (basically a digital version of the Rolodex), to locally hosted CRMs (Pioneered by Goldmine and Act!) to cloud-based CRM (ie Salesforce).
From a paper-based system to a cloud-based management system in 25 short years, we’ve come a long way as an industry. The next radical shift is insurance specific enterprise management systems and the shift is already happening. These systems will not only streamline and simplify data entry, but using machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide potential upsell opportunities and automated service touchpoints. Paperwork will be a thing of the past and the advisor’s focus will strictly be on service.
Finaeo will be the industry standard platform within the next five years for life insurance and group benefits advisors. The front end CRM includes speech-to-text and an automated financial needs analysis tool to eliminate multiple entries. On the back end, Finaeo has built out a quoting support tool to clean up the mess that is sourcing multiple quotes from multiple carriers. I strongly advise our clients to get familiar with this new wave of technology, because with the drastic efficiencies being built in, these tools can accelerate your business.
Process automation is an inevitability and we are seeing specialized advisories becoming full-service shops. If back-end processes are becoming automated, what’s stopping a life insurance advisor from positioning group benefits, wealth, property and casualty, mortgages and real estate? Rather than having “a guy” for each category, more consumers are looking for a trusted one-stop shop for their finances. Positioning mutual funds as a life insurance advisor puts a heavy regulatory and financial burden on the average advisor.
In the new Bionic Advisory, partnering with robos like WealthSimple, JustWealth and WealthBar eliminate the process and regulatory burden while giving your clients top of the line service and support. This shift is already taking place with PPI’s recent partnership announcement with WealthBar. I recommend having all three as options as they all have unique strengths and one particular robo may be a better fit for your client. What about group benefits? The first step in automating aspects of group client servicing is Honeybee by Benecaid. It’s so simple to use, a layman can figure it out and Honeybee was built to work with advisors to service their clients. Though group benefits are vigorously being shopped around by clients, Honeybee is just one area of many where efficiencies can be built in. Many robo advisories (not these listed necessarily) are realizing that working against relationships that advisors have cultivated is incredibly challenging, so we’re seeing many of these robos shifting towards a partnership model to facilitate an advisors business. Expect robo services to expand into property and casualty and mortgages in the coming years.
Advisors often tell me about their daily routes. For a Toronto based advisor, that might look like a start in their North York office to grab documents, drive to Pickering to visit a client, swing by a prospect in Scarborough on the way back, and then maybe, just maybe, make a guest appearance at an event on the Danforth. When it comes to servicing clients, transportation may be more than half of the struggle.
There are occasions where an in-person visit is not necessarily warranted and given our harsh winters, not possible. There is numerous software that is available to simplify the meeting process. GoToMeeting, Join.Me or Google Hangouts are easy to use and the younger generations are generally familiar with them. On these platforms, you can also share documents and run educational webinars. Ask that quintessential Millennial in your book of business to join you for your webinar!
Trends in Personal Finance & Insurance
People rely on their financial advisor for trusted advice and expert opinion. Naturally, if they want to learn about what cryptocurrencies are and what role they should play in their financial lives, they turn to their advisor! Should they be leveraging tools like Planswell and Modern Advisor to facilitate their financial plan/wealth management? You should have an answer. Now is a time of unprecedented and rapid change in the financial industry. If a tech-savvy millennial who also happens to be the recipient of intergenerational wealth transfer starts hammering you with these questions, the inability to communicate on the same level only distances these prospects and clients away from you. One of the most underused tools for financial advisors is Reddit. It’s like a modern-day Ask Jeeves. If you have any questions about insurance, personal finance, technology, vagabonds, corgis etc, you can ask them here or peruse to keep your finger on the pulse of industry trends. Decades of experience with an understanding of contemporary financial trends puts you on course to becoming a juggernaut Bionic Advisor.
One of the best bits of advice I heard for advisors was from Grant Hicks’ book Guerrilla Marketing for Financial Advisors. He advises advisors to set aside time every week to work on their business. Not prospect for new business or service existing clients, but through staff training, courses, process improvement or technology education (hear his podcast here in early 2018).
I hope this article presents you with some possible points of discussion.
Please tweet me @FinaeoGreg.
About Gregory Rozdeba
Gregory Rozdeba runs Partnership Development at Finaeo. He is a Finance and Accountancy graduate from UOIT and has worked as an Account Manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise dealing with hardware and software datacenter deployments. Greg has completed his LLQP and has advised thousands of insurance advisors on how to transition from simple CRMs and paper-based systems into Bionic Advisors. He enjoys reading, eating and won’t stop blabbing about cryptocurrencies.
Author: Greg Rozdeba
Partnerships at Finaeo.com. Helping financial advisors grow their books through digitization.