Wealth managers find themselves at a crossroads in the ever-evolving landscape of financial advisory services. The demand for comprehensive financial advice is surging, fueled by clients seeking a complete understanding of their financial lives. Advisors are transitioning from traditional investment management to a more holistic approach to meet this growing need. This shift, however, presents challenges that can impede growth and profitability. The key lies in leveraging the right combination of products, services, and technology to scale a holistic financial advice business.
The Evolution of Wealth Management
Clients now expect a more encompassing view of their financial lives, incorporating complexities like taxes, retirement income, property ownership, and estate planning. This evolution in client expectations and the commoditization of traditional investment management has accelerated holistic wealth management.
Recognizing the need to add value beyond investments, advisors are increasingly adopting a comprehensive planning approach. According to the latest whitepaper from SS&C’s Black Diamond® Wealth Platform, the distinction between investment advisors and financial planners is fading, with a growing number of professionals seeking credentials such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) certification.
“According to the Certified Financial Planning Standards Board, more than 95,000 people held an active CFP® professional certification as of the end of 2022, an all-time high.”
This shift is driven by the multitude of benefits associated with holistic financial planning, offering clients peace of mind and advisors opportunities to address a broader spectrum of needs. For example, advisors can attract held-away assets by addressing client needs beyond wealth accumulation and preservation, such as retirement income, risk mitigation, and asset protection.
Meeting the Challenge with Technology
Historically, the challenge for advisors lay in sourcing data to create comprehensive plans and implement recommendations. As the baby boomer demographic enters retirement at an unprecedented rate, there is an increasing need for accurate, efficient, and timely recommendations for retirement income planning. This demands a technology strategy that provides a scalable, centralized platform capable of delivering a wide array of wealth management services.
The Integrated Approach to Holistic Wealth Management
A scalable solution begins with a centralized wealth management platform that integrates various products and services. At its core is a comprehensive financial planning system, a non-negotiable element for advisors competing for the entire client relationship. With financial planning capabilities integrated into the business's tech stack, the next hurdle is accessing products that enhance the advisor's offerings.
Retirement income strategies, for example, have become paramount. Black Diamond’s whitepaper states:
“With today’s higher interest rates, fixed annuities brought in $41 billion during the Q1 2023 quarter, a 157% year-over-year increase.”
As we can see, advisors are increasingly turning to annuities and insurance products to provide guaranteed returns, with fixed-rate annuities experiencing significant growth. However, accessing and tracking these products within a client's financial picture has historically posed challenges.
Overcoming Challenges with Technology
Access to fiduciary-friendly annuities and insurance products and the ability to seamlessly integrate this information into a client's financial plan has been a longstanding challenge. However, emerging turnkey insurance marketplaces and platforms, such as the Advent Insurance Marketplace Powered by DPL, are designed for RIAs to simplify this process. These marketplaces offer a comprehensive solution when integrated into the advisor's core wealth management platform alongside financial planning capabilities. Advisors can now manage a holistic approach in one centralized place, achieving the scalability the industry has been striving for.
Embracing the Future of Wealth Management
As the wealth management landscape evolves, the future belongs to those who embrace holistic wealth management supported by cutting-edge technology. Advisors who can seamlessly integrate comprehensive financial planning with a diverse range of products and services will differentiate themselves and unlock new dimensions of client value. The journey towards scaling a holistic financial advisory business requires a strategic blend of innovation, integration, and a commitment to putting clients' financial well-being at the forefront. The whitepaper provides a roadmap for advisors to navigate this transformative journey successfully, laying the foundation for a future-ready financial advisory practice.
To learn more, download the complete whitepaper, Scaling a Holistic Financial Advice Business: The Products, Services, and Technology Needed to Compete.
“CFP Board Exceeds 95,000 CFP® Professionals, Increases Gender and Racial Diversity of Financial Planning Profession,” Certified Financial Planning Board, January 19, 2023. https://www.cfp.net/news/2023/01/cfp-board-exceeds-95000-cfp-professionals
Fry, Richard, “Amid the Pandemic, a Rising Share of Older US Adults are Now Retired,” Pew Research Center, November 4, 2021. https://www.pewresearch.org/facttank/2021/11/04/amid-the-pandemic-a-rising-share-of-older-u-s-adults-are-now-retired/