The advisor-client relationship is at the core of every successful advisory practice; and at the core of that relationship is trust. Clients who trust their advisors are more willing to entrust them with more assets and to stay with them through hard times. Properly deployed, technology like account aggregation can help strengthen this trust and deepen the relationship between advisors and clients.
According to a recent study by the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII), nearly two-thirds of clients don’t trust their financial advisor. While this can be alarming, there is an a positive flipside to this statistic: there’s lots of room to grow and maintain trust.
One important part of strengthening trust is understanding: advisors should show that they comprehend and appreciate the needs, circumstances and considerations of a client’s entire financial life. Without account aggregation to provide connectivity to their client’s held away accounts, however, many advisors could be flying blind. Unfortunately, when a client senses that their advisor only focuses on their billable assets, they may suspect that the relationship is one-sided. In a low-trust world, demonstrating a commitment to holistic financial well-being is an important step in the right direction.
The best advisors know that today’s spending problem can become tomorrow’s retirement problem. Managing day-to-day personal finances and developing good financial habits are key elements of an effective advisory relationship. Leveraging account aggregation, financial professionals can take deeper looks at clients’ habits and offer personal financial management (PFM) tools to assist with saving, budgeting, and spending goals (as we previously covered in “Four Tech Initiatives Advisors Should Focus on in 2017″). Today it’s never been easier for advisors to offer a robust PFM experience directly to their clients.
By meeting PFM needs, advisors can minimize the pull that other, competing services or platforms may exert on their clients. Offering aggregation and PFM put advisors squarely in the driver’s seat – in a mutually beneficial way – and gives clients and enjoyable, interactive product that keeps them engaged and loyal to their advisory provider.
Consider this: if a client doesn’t have access to account aggregation, they’d need to manually collect information from across their financial accounts and institutions. Investments, savings, loans, mortgages and more — each adds a new layer of complexity. Sound painful? It is.
As a result, advisors not actively providing clients with account aggregation today are inviting frustration on the part of their clients. And in all likelihood, that frustration colors how they view their advisory relationship. With account aggregation, however, you can dramatically improve their entire experience. Rather than having to memorize multiple interfaces, there’s just one. Similarly, rather than having to walk through dozens of steps before arriving at a net worth picture, account aggregation can simplify the process significantly. A better client experience means a more positive association with your brand and service.
Trust, loyalty, and user experience — all can be improved with smart, seamless account aggregation. Though aggregation may seem like just a data service it’s ultimately about so much more. Advisors looking to shore up their practice, keep clients engaged and deliver a winning value proposition should take account aggregation very seriously as a must-have feature on their platforms.
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