Technology Still Challenges Advisers

Advisers rank acquiring the right back-end resources and technology as a top business challenge, according to the 2012 Scottrade Advisor Services RIA Study.

The business challenge is topped only by client acquisition, reacting to new regulations and market volatility.

Registered investment advisers (RIAs) continue to look for products and services to help serve their business needs, and also improve their bottom line, said Brian Davis, director of Scottrade Advisor Services. “Regulations and market volatility are ongoing challenges advisers have to react to, and earning new business is paramount in growing a business,” Davis said. “An adviser can take control over what back-end resources and technology they select, often easing the effects of the other business challenges.”

The market volatility has left many investors—particularly younger ones—with more questions than answers. Despite having the most time until retirement and the highest tolerance for risk, the study shows advisers report the majority of Generation X (ages 29 to 44) and half of Generation Y (ages 18 to 28) clients are maintaining their investment risk profile.

A majority of the advisers of Gen X investors (two-thirds) and Gen Y investors (three-quarters) are telling these clients they will need at least $2 million saved in order to retire.

Nearly half the advisers polled said the economy has impacted the way they have managed their business in the past year. Of those, 52% have invested in new software, and nearly one-third have invested in new hardware.

Planning tools for advisers are one of the most important custodial offerings for RIA business, behind rebalancing tools and integrated fee management, the study shows. Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices are becoming more commonplace in an adviser’s toolkit.

As connectivity is more often a given, the technology landscape has become cluttered with a growing number of new options. Nearly one-third of respondents said researching and selecting the right technology for their business is one of the biggest obstacles they faced when they first became an adviser.

“As we focus on providing engaging experiences, evolving solutions and exceptional value to our clients, Scottrade Advisor Services has grown to be a reliable partner for more than 1,100 RIAs,” Davis said.

The 2012 Registered Investment Advisor Study polled 304 registered investment advisers online from May 17 to 30. Advisers answered questions on a range of topics, from client base changes and behaviors to changes in business practices over the past year.

Scottrade Advisor Services is a business unit of Scottrade Inc., the online investing firm.

More information about Scottrade Advisor Services is here.