We cannot emphasize enough the impact that artificial intelligence (AI) and automation (specifically Robotic Process Automation) has had, and will continue to have, on our industry. In fact, most advisors have grown so accustomed to their benefits, that they may not even realize the daily impact to their practices and clients. Consider your custodial platform and the way a client’s information seamlessly prepopulates in the system if he/she/they already has an account there. Or think about quarterly performance reporting; with the push a few buttons, you can generate reports for every single household in just a few minutes. AI and automation help reduce costs, increase accuracy in processes (like account opening) and ultimately create capacity for advisors, conceivably leading to increased revenue and profits.
There are challenges, however, that individual advisors face as it relates to embracing this new age of technology and fully automating their operations. First of all, some advisors are not yet reaping the full benefits; advisors within larger institutions are oftentimes limited to the systems and tools available at their home firm, many of which are siloed, fragmented, and outdated.
Advisors who CAN build their own tech stack often struggle with “technology overload” and feel paralyzed by the many options and customizations. In addition, training staff can be challenging. Even with access to the best operational tools, many advisory teams still use excel spreadsheets to manage and analyze data about their practices. Finally, redeploying human capital towards revenue-generating activities is no easy feat. Work expands to fill the time we have to complete it, so ironically, just because capacity has been created, does not necessarily mean the time will be filled with productive work.