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Here’s How to Up AUM Without Swelling Your Payroll

September 28, 2017

As the summer season wraps up, advisors are setting their sights on year-end planning for clients and a busy fourth quarter. The end of the year often presents new selling opportunities, but as your firm prepares to take advantage of the growth potential, many advisors are faced with a conflict: Add more staff to account for the anticipated extra work, or continue to operate under constrained resources, thus limiting your ability to add revenue? New technological innovations are making this challenge far less daunting as more firms are opting to harness the power of technology by automating scalable and repeatable practices.

The benefits of automating your team’s workflow can make an impactful difference in your overall firm cost structure, specifically when considering the potential ROI. For example, wealth management firm Foster Group has invested in automation technology significantly over the past four years and has since reduced per-client costs by 31%. In a benchmark study of over 7,000 wealth management firms conducted by Charles Schwab, Foster Group’s cost per client was 62% lower than the average and 49% lower than the best-in-class firms – all because of automated practices.

Automation opportunities are endless as technology evolves but the key is to isolate areas that create additional work for your team and prevent them from performing client-facing activities. Here are three areas where you may have hired added resources in the past but where you can automate instead.

Managing your team’s workday and reporting practices: One of the biggest opportunities for automation lies in how you and your team manage your time and how business processes are institutionalized across your firm. Workflow and reporting processes are an excellent starting point for automation because each task has a direct impact on how time is spent as well as how much time can be allocated to fostering new relationships. Automating time-intensive daily tasks, such as organizing call-backs, starting new paperwork and managing recurring meetings, boosts overall operational efficiency and successfully frees your team’s resources. Ultimately, these capabilities mitigate the need for dedicated staff to support such administrative tasks.

Keeping track of client relationships: How you and your team organize your day has a trickle-down impact on how you interact with clients. While automating workflows can yield a better overall client experience, automating your client-facing interactions via CRM software can strengthen your relationships. The advisor-client relationship is especially vital in today’s post-fiduciary landscape as clients seek more transparency. CRMs are becoming increasingly sophisticated as they house client-specific information in one place, letting you quickly reference and export data on clients and prospects. With all information stored together in an accessible manner, it is easier to implement applications that can automatically populate forms and documents to move processes along quickly and efficiently.

Calendar organization and scheduling procedures: Scheduling meetings is a particularly time-consuming activity and tends to be an area where companies add staff to act as a liaison between advisor and client. Without this support, scheduling can become a headache when juggling multiple calendars and ensuring your client’s time is best used. Scheduling applications, like Calendly or a Salesforce-based scheduling tool, are available to make calendar organization simple. These solutions are especially beneficial during growth phases as you balance meetings with existing clients and isolate time to uncover and nurture new leads.

The bottom line is firms need to increase their capacity to achieve real and sustainable growth. Technology is one way to do so by boosting overall efficiency while redirecting key staff members’ time to tasks that will generate more revenue. When your team spends less time on administrative tasks, they have more bandwidth for client-facing initiatives and prospecting.