Redtail Technology has published a fresh crop of results from its 2018 Gen Tech Survey, with the goal of better understanding how financial advisers and their staff are using practice management technology solutions.
The survey generated responses from 2,250 advisory industry professionals. According to the firm, 47% were financial advisers or planners, 44% were administrative employees of advisory firms, and 9% worked in technical support within a financial advisory company. To better compare generational differences, respondents provided their age and were divided into Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. Baby Boomers and Generation X still make up the lion’s share of advisers and advisory firm staff, with Millennials representing just 343 respondents.
Boomers lead embrace of mobile CRM access
Redtail researchers says Baby Boomer advisers are actually “more mobile and technologically savvy than many might think.” Notably, more than half of Baby Boomer (52%) and Gen X (58%) advisory employees access their company client relationship management (CRM) platform via mobile or tablet devices, more than Millennial advisory employees (50%).
More than half (54%) of all respondents use mobile devices and tablets to access their CRM, Redtail says. Additionally, most Gen-Xers (89%) and Baby Boomers (86%) cited little hesitation around adopting a centralized CRM solution.
“Two conclusions can be drawn,” the survey report says. “The wealth management community is more tech savvy than the industry has previously acknowledged, and the CRM is occupying a more established position within the fintech space.”
Redtail researchers say survey results show advisory employees are using tablets and phones to access their CRM as needed, across every generation. At the same time, mobile usage still lags behind desktop and laptop usage. This indicates CRM mobility needs improvement across the industry, Redtail says.
Millennials drive broader technology use
While Boomers are more likely to use mobile connections to the CRM system, the use of technology systems in an advisers’ business negatively correlates with age, according to Redtail. In other words, Millennial respondents were found to be the biggest users of practice management and client service technology systems, followed by Gen X and then Boomers.
According to the survey, digital trading software and compliance technology are lacking in usage. Financial planning software, used by 79% of respondents, is the most commonly used technology followed. This is followed by digital client portals (57%) and risk profiling/analysis technology (51%).
By comparison, just 9% of firms reported using digital trading software, and 31% reported using compliance technology, across all generations.
Succession planning lags
Overall, Redtail finds 77% of those surveyed are not part of a succession plan, neither as a successor nor impending predecessor. While 16% of those surveyed across generations are successors, only 7% indicated they are retiring and have a succession plan in place.
Simply put, firms are not addressing succession planning as proactively as they should be, Redtail says.
“Having a clearly defined succession plan in place, where younger advisors and staff are contributing toward the firm’s ongoing future success, can positively affect hiring and retention later down the road,” the analysis says. “A succession plan that addresses this is key to both new client acquisition and client retention.”
The report concludes that, amid a rapidly evolving financial services and the fintech landscape, advice providers should keep a close eye on the technology needs of staff and clients.
“The desire to implement further efficiencies into an advisory business via technology is not limited to Millennials,” the report emphasizes. “Older advisers are adopting and utilizing technology at a similar frequency as younger advisers, and technology firms can no longer afford to overlook aging firms as a target market—particularly those that need help formulating succession planning strategies.”