The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it trying economic times for clients and their advisors. Like during the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009, clients are rethinking their money decisions, monitoring their investments and rebalancing their portfolios to weather the current economic storm. Clients now depend widely on technology to reassess their financial positions and goals. That gives advisors the opportunity to increase engagement with clients by helping them leverage these tools more effectively.
The season finale of eMoney’spodcast, That Makes Cents, address the impact financial technology has had on wealth management over the past decade. Host, Spencer Israel, chats with Chad Porche, VP, User Experience and Design at eMoney, and Brad Arends, Co-Founder and CEO of intellicents® , about bridging the gap between financial planning and technology.
eMoney’s Porche, who has been at the firm for nearly a decade, discusses how his team helps users—both advisors and financial planning clients—maximize eMoney’s platform. “We identify what their needs are, what they’re asking for, how they’re using things in the wild,” he explains. “We do design thinking across the organization, collaborating with partners and stakeholders to do design workshops and facilitate conversations,” he continues.
Arends’ firm offers fiduciary investment consulting for 401(k) and 403(b) plans and personal wealth planning for clients at all income levels. He uses eMoney to help his clients manage the vast array of financial products they get from their employers. A lawyer by trade, he returned to work in his family business after law school where he has remained for 35 years.
It’s his commitment to everyday Americans and their families—the 99 percent as he calls them—that keeps him there. “Our battle cry,” he declares, “is to over-serve the under-served, to make sure that they too can realize the American dream of financial fitness.”
intellicents works with C-suite executives in the top 1 percent, but he says their true focus remains on the Americans who derive their income from them as their employees. They have “been abandoned by the typical private wealth manager, who tends to focus just on the top 1 percent,” he continues.
“They’re the people that have a great need for financial planning services, but don’t think they have enough wealth to get them,” Arends explains. Yet, they have the same financial issues as the wealthy, especially during financial crises like America is confronting with COVID-19. In his experience, they don’t have the training to make financial decisions that are now more than just employer benefits decisions. To help, he says, “We put together people smarts, supported by great technology.”
Porche and Arends also discuss how technology supports the behavioral changes that might be necessary during an economic crisis. Porche says most people are afraid of finance if they don’t have much wealth, especially if they’re behind their peers . Technology gives them tools that, in collaboration with their advisor, helps educate them and allows them to monitor their progress.
But Arends, who says 90 percent of his clients request advisor help, stresses the importance of that advisor-client relationship. “A huge part of our job is to educate and then from there, we have to be willing to actually give them advice,” he asserts.
The guests talk more on the podcast about how technology bridges the gap between finance and technology to help financial planning clients manage their wealth. Listen to Episode 6 of “That Makes Cents” to learn how technology can enhance client engagement, especially during the COVID-19 economic downturn.