As any advisor in the wealth management business is well aware, being able to harness technology to your advantage is a vital part of the job these days. The digital era means financial planners have a great deal more tools at their disposal, but the development of technology has not been entirely to their advantage. The rise of robo-advisors is one such change that has made the life of an advisor in 2016 that bit more challenging.
The internet age also means investors have a wealth of information readily available to them, so clients are that much more clued-up when they walk in the door. As a result, those who make a living through offering financial guidance need to be one step ahead when it comes to the latest technology and how best to use it.
Luckily there are products out there that make wealth management that bit more manageable, and in a plethora of ways. EquiSoft is an industry leader when it comes to the design and development of digital business solutions and the company has excelled in providing these products and services particularly in the wealth management space.
In fact, after its foundation in 1994, the firm’s very first program was tailored to advisors, as EquiSoft Vice-President, Wealth Management Solutions, Jonathan Georges outlines.
“EquiSoft was formed to develop the first version of WealthElements,” he says. “It was originally marketed as a product called Asset Allocation Analyst, which was exclusively focused on asset allocation and investment portfolio construction. Today, Asset Allocation Analyst is but one module (albeit a very important one) within the WealthElements suite of integrated tools.”
Needless to say perhaps, but that program has morphed considerably in the interim period, reflecting the changing face of the advisory business. Central to improving the product was ensuring that advisors could have a one-stop-shop for all the tools they need to take a holistic, 360 degree view of their client’s or prospect’s wealth. One of the biggest challenges with adding functionality to any software is ensuring that it remains easy and efficient to use so that advisors can devote more time to managing and nurturing client and prospect relationships.
“We enhanced it with additional features – retirement planning, saving for a child’s education, life and living benefit insurance needs,” says Georges. “All that functionality was carefully added over the years to keep that balance between ease of use and comprehensive analysis.”
Of course, even before the latest incarnation of WealthElements is released, the team at EquiSoft will already be working on the next version. Such are the realities of the business.
“Originally the application in the mid-90s was not web-based, it was a locally installed application that came in eight separate diskettes,” says Georges. “Furthermore, every month we were sending out investment fund database updates to reflect the latest fund holdings and fund performance within the application.”
Today, offering a web-based system means much less work for the mailman, but plenty of effort for the developers of the software.
“With the evolution of technology we moved web-based a number of years ago and part of the challenge there is you don’t know what web browser the user may have,” says Georges. “So the challenge is being up-to-date with any of the enhancements the web browsers may make because we have to compatible at all times – not to mention all the additional security requirements.”