A Firm has Developed a Model to Meld a Robo with a Human Advice Offering
Source: FAIQ, Jun. 28, 2018
RITA RAAGAS DE RAMOS, SPECIAL PROJECTS MANAGER, FINANCIAL ADVISOR IQ: Hi. I'm Rita Raagas de Ramos for Financial Advisor IQ. And with me is Brian Vendig, president and managing executive at MJP Wealth Advisors. I understand that your firm has online advisory services. Is that your version of a robo advisor, or does the client have access to an advisor?
BRIAN VENDIG, PRESIDENT AND MANAGING EXECUTIVE, MJP WEALTH ADVISORS: So this is where we're trying to definitely add some value to our clients. So our robo advisor platform actually gives a client an opportunity to work with a live advisor. It's just that, whether due to where they are in their process of starting out, in getting comfortable working with a wealth advisor, or if they're focusing on cost, or maybe they're just on the go and really appreciate running their lives with their thumb on a smartphone, we'll be able to give a client access to kind of meet those disciplines.
But then we want to form a relationship with that client through the technology, so they will speak to an advisor over the phone or over email, and also have an opportunity to Skype, to do face-to-face over the web. But really, it's more of trying to cater to a convenience and keeping costs appropriate for certain clients relative to the attributes that they appreciate.
RITA RAAGAS DE RAMOS: What's the reception been like for this service?
BRIAN VENDIG: Sure. It's helped out actually quite a bit in the next-generation clients within our firm. So relationships that we might have with one generation of client, it actually has been an enabler to help the next generation start to save and think about planning for the future a little earlier than maybe their parents might have.
It's also catered to clients where, no matter what you discuss, cost is a primary attribute in the decisions that they make, but at the same time, they also realize they need the help to work with a wealth advisor or a financial planner. So it's also opened up doors for some people where they've been hesitant to have a fiduciary advisory relationship, and actually now it's created more of a balance, where everyone can get best of both worlds.
RITA RAAGAS DE RAMOS: Why did you feel that there was a need to come up with the service in the first place?
BRIAN VENDIG: I just believe in giving clients choice, and giving my team choice in how we want to help people. We're focused on helping our clients at the end of the day. And if this is a means to reach a different audience that provides some diversification in our clientele, while at the same time doing it in a medium that caters to the way people want to understand financial information, and at the same time having a relationship with us, it seemed like an area that was worth to offer.
RITA RAAGAS DE RAMOS: Is this an extension of your belief in technology, and how technology can enhance your practice and the way you invest your client's money?
BRIAN VENDIG: Absolutely. You're spot-on. We are very heavily invested in software and technology tools that help us bring things to our clients, that help to create an element of transparency and awareness and a point of connection so that they always feel that MJP Wealth Advisors is thinking of them.
And at the same point in time, it helps us create an environment where we can run a more efficient business. And as a result, that's a mutually beneficial relationship. So this is just an extension of things that we've already started in the past that's helped us have a reputable business over time.
RITA RAAGAS DE RAMOS: When you say mutually beneficial, how has technology actually helped your company grow, and how has it helped benefit your investors?
BRIAN VENDIG: In helping our investors, it's given them the ability to better understand what's in their financial portfolio that's being managed by our firm. It also gives them the ability to use tools. If they are a quasi, let's say, do-it-yourselfer, they can also have access to tools to run some analyses on their own, and compare and contrast with some of the work that we've done. It also gives them the ability that, if they want to have their own financial dashboard or scorecard of where all their financial assets and liabilities are, we can enable that to them so that they can have everything kind of all in one place.
And on our side, it's really just improved our efficiency in processing transactions, staying up on client requests, so that, at the same point in time, none of our clients feel like they have to wait in case they have a need or a question. And that's why I think, for both parties, it's been beneficial.
RITA RAAGAS DE RAMOS: Thank you, Brian.
BRIAN VENDIG: Thank you. Thank you for your time.