According to a new white paper released today by Pershing LLC, a BNY Mellon company, the number of digitally-enabled advisor firms is growing steadily as firms adopt technologies to differentiate their practices, attract new clients and enhance operational efficiencies. The paper, The Emerging Digital Advisor, looks at how advisors are using technology with clients, how digital tools can positively impact advisor-client relationships and advisors' views on the impact digital capabilities will have on the industry.
The Emerging Digital Advisor was commissioned by Pershing and produced by Aite Group, which in October 2015 conducted an online survey of 403 U.S. financial advisors of varying sizes and broker-dealer affiliations.
The study found that nearly two-thirds of all practices have at least some interest in using digital advisor technology, which includes tools such as tablets, video conference, client website, chat or co-browsing software, and mobile devices. Of these practices, 20 percent of advisors are "very interested" in leveraging new digital advisor technology over the next few years. However, only five percent of practices have launched a digital advisor service. Most expect to launch digital solutions on a piecemeal basis based on advisor needs and demands.
"As digital technologies continue to surface, awareness and adoption among advisors is likely to grow over the next several years," said Ram Nagappan, chief information officer of Pershing. "By incorporating digital technologies, an advisor can enhance the entire advisor-client relationship at once—helping the practice become more efficient and client-centric."
The study also found that more than 90 percent of digitally-enabled advisors increased their assets under management, with more than a third of the practices growing by more than 10 percent in the last twelve months. Digital practices also experienced higher growth in revenue over the same time period. Of those surveyed, over 70 percent of digitally-enabled practices increased revenue by 5 percent or more; with 38 percent of practices reporting revenue increases of 10 percent or greater. By comparison, just over 50 percent of traditional advisors reported growth of 5 percent or more.