Wealth Managers must embrace cloud, mobile, and the paperless office


That's what David Drucker and Joel Bruckenstein, authors of the forthcoming "Technology Tools for Today's High-Margin Practice," say: Today's wealth management firms must innovate their technology in order to survive.

Namely, traditionally IT-phobic wealth advisory firms must fully automate their businesses, trash the mountains of paper and start adopting cloud and mobile technologies.

Here's a preview of their Q&A with Reuters:

Q: How do advisers get new technology innovations past compliance?

Joel Bruckenstein: Whenever somebody feels uncomfortable with something in this business, the first line of defense is to say "I'm not sure it's compliant." Advisers shouldn't use compliance as an excuse not to do this. They should find out the best practices surrounding different technologies by talking to their broker-dealers, custodians or even regulators. Outside experts can also help advisers deal with concerns they have about keeping their client information safe on new technologies.

Q: Why is cloud computing one of your favorite tools?

Bruckenstein: If you have all your data on a server in your office and that hard drive crashes, you have to fix it. But if you're running in a cloud-based system, with a company like Salesforce or RedTail, they're maintaining the hardware. The cloud can also help companies avoid making big capital outlays for hardware every few years, and it helps keep things running smoothly in natural disasters.

Q: You also expect to see advisers get more mobile. What are some key ways this will happen?

David Drucker: In the old days, a typical client meeting might involve printing out a lot of paper - an agenda, graphs and so forth. Nowadays advisers are just showing the clients the data on an iPad. Also, a lot of advisers are making use of the mobile applications designed by their custodians, which allow them to use their smartphone to go into their custodial account and check their clients' balances, and even do some trades.

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