Despite rarely working from home in 2019, technology advancements set advisors up for success as COVID-19 stay-at-home orders were enacted earlier this year
Redtail Technology (“Redtail”), a leading provider of client relationship management (CRM) solutions for financial services firms, published the results from their 2020 “Working Remotely” survey, which set out to uncover how advisors adapted during COVID-19.
Redtail surveyed more than 1,750 financial advisory employees and discovered that the large majority of respondents (86%) were prepared with the appropriate technology for a seamless transition to work from home. However, working remotely brought on new challenges, one of which was how to continue to build and maintain client relationships. Respondents noted that using existing modes of communication, such as phone (97.4%), email (96.3%), and video (80%) were the most effective ways to communicate with clients.
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“2020 has been the year of adaptation for the financial services industry. The technology enabling remote work has been available for years, and advisory firms were able to quickly transition to work from home during these uncertain times,” said Redtail Technology CEO Brian McLaughlin. “While the industry has historically been an in-person business, I think we all discovered that clients can still be serviced effectively, regardless of where their advisor is located.”
In 2019, two-thirds of respondents (66.7%) never or rarely worked from home, however, 64.7% of respondents now believe they will work from home at least one day of the week moving forward. The majority of financial advisory employees (74.3%) did not experience an interruption of their revenue stream due to working from home, and nearly 5% were even able to grow their revenue as a result of the transition, despite the economic uncertainty!
Additional findings from the survey reveal:
- More than half of the respondents (60.3%) reported that increasing engagement with existing clients was the number one priority, and reaching new prospects was the second (17.8%).
- A quarter (25.9%) said that even though they are not on social media, they will consider using it to reach clients.
- As expected, respondents dealt with various challenges while working remotely:
- 43.5% experienced social isolation or disconnect from co-workers
- 41.7% dealt with family distractions
- 35.2% reported a lack of office supplies
- 73.3% of respondents plan to return to their office in some capacity once they can, while 6.9% of respondents are giving up their office entirely.
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“The most surprising thing to me was the complete flip in advisors’ mindset related to work from home from 2019 to 2020. It seems the workforce has changed entirely, and advisors will continue to work remotely in some capacity or another for the foreseeable future,” McLaughlin concludes. “While this hasn’t been an easy year for anyone, I commend advisors for how quickly they adapted. Financial advisors are in this business to help their clients, and it has been refreshing to see them continue to leverage the technology to do so, without skipping a beat.”
The majority of firms surveyed range from under $500M AUM to $1B+ and primarily have 2-10 employees. 60% of respondents were female, with most respondents between the ages of 35-59 years old. Redtail donated $1 for every survey response to National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc (NACME) or No Kid Hungry, based on the respondent’s preference.
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