Broker-dealers are providing tech education to advisors to ensure that new systems and processes help them build their businesses efficiently rather than serve as stumbling blocks along the path.

“There’s not enough time in the day for [advisors] to do everything they need to do and if they’re trying to figure out how to use something, that’s time away from their clients,” said Raymond James vice president of technology David Lillis.

The goal is to help advisors hit the ground running, he said.

“Whether they’re a new advisor or been with the firm a long time but want to learn a new piece of technology or how to leverage it in their practice, being able to give them that knowledge so that they can use it as efficiently as possible and therefore gain back that time in their day is at the heart of these educational programs,” Lillis says.

Receptiveness to technology may be a hurdle. According to data from Cerulli Associates, the average advisor age is 50.7 as of 2020, whereas the most recent U.S. Department of Labor survey shows a median workforce age of 41.7.

“Adoption is the next great challenge in the advance of advisor technology use,” says Scott Smith, director of advice relationships at Cerulli. Many firms have upgraded their tech platforms in recent years, but in most cases those platforms “are not being used to their full potential,” according to Smith.

“Advisors, like anyone else, are predisposed to learning just enough to recreate the functions of their previous platforms,” he said. “Robust training in addition to advocacy by early adopters among their advisor peers is crucial to increase the effective use of these next generation platforms.”

Last month, Raymond James rolled out an education program dubbed “Tech Savvy” to provide its advisors with technology integration training, it said at the time.

Tech Savvy is focused on deep dives into specific topics, according to Lillis. The program has a track on client management that discusses customer relationship management tools, according to Lillis. The St. Petersburg,Florida-based broker-dealer is piloting a second track on trading and has plans for a third on practice management and reporting, Lillis said.

Raymond James offers three other tech education programs for advisors: “Tech Power Up,” “Tech Essentials” and “Tech Forward,” according to Lillis.

Tech Power Up consists of monthly educational topics on new additions to Raymond James’ internal systems that impact the business processes advisors and their teams use regularly; Tech Essentials is an introductory educational track for advisors who are new to Raymond James; and Tech Forward gives them more extensive training, Lillis says.

Providing tech education to advisors “gives them the one thing that they’re always after, which is time,” Lillis adds.

Raymond James isn’t the only broker-dealer educating its advisors on tech. LPL Financial provides a range of education options to its advisors, according to a company spokesperson.

LPL offers training and education through an Advisor University, which is “a one stop shop” for virtual events and workshops and has a “resource optimization team” to help advisors with the firm’s technology, the spokesperson says. Through the advisor university, advisors can also learn about the technology that LPL’s partners provide, according to the spokesperson.

Additionally, LPL has technology and resources forums that advisors can choose to participate in, based on their interests, responsibilities and roles, according to the spokesperson.

LPL also offers on-demand training for ClientWorks, its internal system, and hosts bi-monthly calls to inform advisors about new technology at the firm, the spokesperson says.