The financial advisory industry is in the midst of a transformation due to challenges from increasing consolidation, changing client needs,
new technologies and a growing shortage of talent, according to the Pershing
CEO Lisa Dolly.
Dolly highlighted these four trends
as one of several keynote speakers at
the June 6-8 Pershing Insite conference in Orlando, Florida, which attracted over 2,000 registered investment
advisor and other attendees. BNY
Mellon-owned Pershing, she and other
executives pointed out at the event,
now has some $615 billion of RIA assets
on its platform.
Bigger is better. “We should expect
there will be much greater concentration of assets in fewer broker/dealers
and RIAs,” said Dolly.
Consolidation in the industry will
continue as firms look to add efficiencies and private equity firms continue to
finance acquisitions, especially of RIAs
with $1 billion or more in assets under
management. They certainly have the
money for it — $1.7 trillion in assets that
are uninvested, according to Dolly.
Life management trumps investment management. Clients want their
financial advisors to provide more than
They want help with their earnings — careers — and spending — “
holistic planning,” the CEO explained. They
essentially want advisors who can successfully address the anxiety they experience over multiple money matters.
Technology has yet to be exploited.
“Our industry is lagging way behind”
in the use of automation, robotics, self-
service, artificial intelligence and bio-
metrics, said Dolly, noting the benefits
AI, for example, can help predict client behavior, and biometrics, by improving personal recognition capabilities of
software, can provide more cybersecurity. “Technological advances will happen … disrupting and improving the
industry,” she explained.
The talent shortage will become
much more severe. “We have an aging
workforce and firms are struggling to
attract talent,” Dolly said.
“We should expect labor costs to
increase and a significant need for technology to solve that problem,” which
also will cost firms, she added. On the
labor front, the executive anticipates
stronger demand not only for advisors
but also for data engineers, regulatory
experts and financial analysts.
Beyond these growing trends, the
industry is at root about the people it
serves, according to Dolly. “They will
forget what you said, forget what you
did but never forget how you made
As financial advisory firms embrace
technology to stay competitive and
enhance in-house operations and rela-
tionships with clients, they should
consider this: “Technology is the great
equalizer among firms big and small,”
according to Evan LaHuta, head of client
experience at BNY Mellon. “Everyone
starts to look the same, so how do you
Another Pershing speaker — Bill
Winterberg, founder of FPPad.com, a
consulting firm that helps advisors adopt
technology in their practices — sug-
gested that advisory practices embrace
easy-to-use technologies to stay in touch
with clients, including:
• Flash briefings, audio content that
plays on smart speakers like Alexa.
Advisors can discuss the local real estate
market or other topics and “become
part of a client’s everyday routine.” All
it takes, said Winterberg, is a telephone
microphone and using services like sto-
ryline.com, which publishes flash brief-
ings for free. “It’s a new way to meet
• Video content on You Tube to com-
municate with clients and others and
publicize your views. Typical YouTube
content consists of speeches and other
presentations, many with visual aids like
charts and graphs.
• Secure CRM software that allows,
for example, clients to transmit documents to your office using their phones.
Winterberg recalled a story about Galen
Herbst de Cortina, a young financial
advisor and online gamer, who lets clients send him their latest contracts with
sponsors by taking a photo of the contract on their smartphone, then sending it via text or email. Many banks let
clients to deposit their checks that way.
By Bernice Napach and Janet Levaux
Trends, Tech in Focus at Pershing Insite
Meanwhile, Dynasty Financial rolls out an enterprise group to help partner firms
with $1 billion-plus in assets address growth opportunities and challenges.