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27 February 2020

The 2020 T3 Advisor Technology Conference

By Tim Welsh

The 16th annual Technology Tools for Today (T3) Advisor conference was hosted in sunny San Diego over the President’s Day holiday weekend. During the event, over 700 attendees gathered to see the nearly 100 technology firms display, demo and discuss all things advisor tech.

Product leaders from the Black Diamond® Wealth Platform, Kyle Fleming and John Milne, were on hand to discuss ways to build trust through lasting client relationships.  During his opening, Milne asked advisors, “What does trust look like in today’s digital world?” His point was that technology and our use of it can return very different outcomes, citing examples of popular apps such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.  If users have a good experience with these technologies, then they tend to trust them for future interactions.  However, if users do not have a good experience, then it is very easy to immediately delete the application and never look back.

In today’s digital world, advisors must ask themselves how well do clients trust our apps and online presence?  Does our technology hinder or help in building trust?  To meet the needs of the modern advisor, Black Diamond is rolling out a dashboard enabling advisors to have an at-a-glance view into all of the clients’ information, planning results, performance, money moves, balances, positions, and more.  “If you can use all of the information at your fingertips to quickly respond to clients in an expert fashion, then you will build and enhance trust,” said Fleming.

In a nod to the future of the profession, and to spur interest and innovation in advisor technology at the university level, T3 hosted the popular third annual Student Competition. Featuring college CFP programs from around the country, teams competed for recognition in RIA technology development. This year the participating teams came from Utah Valley University, Winthrop University, University of Georgia, and San Diego State. The ultimate winners came from BYU Idaho and they built a public facing retainer fee calculator that drew rave reviews from the judges. 

Rounding out the conference was the much-anticipated T3/Inside Information Advisor Software Survey.  T3 host Joel Bruckenstein and long-time collaborator Bob Veres partnered to gauge the health, growth and usage of the software industry. The results showed a dramatic increase in the number of technologies available in the wealth management support ecosystem.

Over 5,000 advisors weighed in on over 500 different applications as to their popularity, usage levels and overall advisor satisfaction.  Despite the many newcomers, top brands and incumbents, such as Black Diamond, scored highly in terms of market share and advisor satisfaction.  However, what concerns Bruckenstein the most is the low usage of Cybersecurity applications (7%).  “This is the biggest threat to the industry by far, yet advisors are more than complacent, they actually have their heads in the sand,” he lamented.

The conference finished up with over 40 smaller and emerging technologies introducing their solutions in a frenetic session of 12-minute flash demos. If these levels of volume and interest at T3 are representative of the health and vibrancy of the advisor technology industry, then advisors are in for some bright days ahead.

To learn how Black Diamond can help you deliver a transformative advisor-client experience, visit blackdiamond.advent.com or email info@advent.com. To learn more about what went on at T3, check out the many tweets on the #T32020 hashtag on Twitter.