Independent credits ability to lure new advisors with its commitment to cutting-edge tech hub
Harbourfront Wealth Management will add five to six large advisor teams to its roster by the end of 2020 – and credits its investment in technology as a key attraction.
The independent, based in Vancouver, exceeded its 2019 tech budget by more than 50% in the first six months of this year and believes that, alongside its specialization in alternative investments and the equity upside for partners, this is a big recruitment driver.
Harbourfront’s technology hub consists of: an online client and advisor onboarding digital platform; automated web-based communication systems; customized automated fee billing systems; high-end UMA platform and customized client statements; PM discretionary platform; and a remote global VPN access.
CEO Danny Popescu told WP he is also a strong advocate of social media and helping advisors build an online presence. The firm offers custom website design for all teams, along with social media advice and content consultations. The company has processes in place to ensure all social media content stays compliant, while there are plans in 2021 to expand its digital marketing toolset for advisors as well as enhance the mobile experience for clients.
Popescu said: “We have always focused on providing a modern, agile technology platform for our clients, advisors and back-office staff. During the COVID 19 pandemic this existing emphasis on technology allowed us to support a seamless onsite and offsite work environment for our team.”
Harbourfront has grown its AUA despite the pandemic and, over the past six months, has onboarded bank firm advisors as well as independents. Popescu believes the big banks are still struggling with paperwork as they don’t have electronic signature systems to help fast-track account openings.
He said “Many large independent dealers who may still be using scanned copies as opposed to DocuSign for their account openings will lag behind – this is a system Harbourfront has been using for quite some time now.
“The agility of private firms to integrate new technology much quicker than the traditional institutions has allowed us to be better prepared for situations such as the pandemic and to continue business as normal.”
Mark Pinto, EVP, Leadership & Growth Strategy, added: “Our vision to implement state of the art technology pre-dates COVID19. It illustrates a mindset and culture that will continually evolve to be at the forefront of this industry. Vision and effective execution empowers us to pivot in hours rather than months. This is our DNA and we are proud of it.”