In a recent FA Magazine zoomcast, “How The Right Tech Choices Can Propel Your Practice in 2021,” hosted by Envestnet | Tamarac, Julie Williams, Tamarac RIA Sales Manager and Michael Reed, COO of Dakota Wealth Management, discussed the importance of the right tech stack as advisors think about evolving their business. As a follow-up to this successful event, we’ve invited Michael Reed to share his insights and perspectives as our first guest blogger.
By: Michael Reed, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Partner, Dakota Wealth Management
Our firm, headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, and with offices across four states, has deep roots in wealth management and a history of successful growth. While the global pandemic has created challenges for countless advisory firms across the country, many related to inadequate technology, at Dakota, our business has thrived as we experience a significant uptick in organic growth. I attribute much of this success to our seasoned team of advisors and investment professionals and our focus on proactive preparation and robust technology.
When I think back to what has made Dakota so successful since our founding in 2018, two foundational tenets come to mind. First, we live, eat, and breathe a proactive business culture. In addition to our investment and advisory teams, we have a dedicated operations team with no client-facing responsibilities. This structure gives us the ability to carefully think about all our team members’ needs and ensure that we deliver the transformational wealth management experience our high-net-worth clients deserve.
Secondly, we consistently maintain focus on our plan. As our team concludes each year, we take the right amount of time to celebrate successes and achievements. We then concentrate on clearly articulating the coming year’s assumptions and develop our goals and business plans for paced execution.
Early on, our leadership team, led by Peter J. Raimondi, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Dakota, committed to investing in the best — the best team members, the best culture, the best technology, the best systems, and the best professional development. With M&A as such an essential element of our growth strategy, it often requires a flexible technology partner that can scale with us in parallel. Our partner firms have unique challenges, and we need to deliver equally unique tech solutions.
Here are four tips to help advisors propel their practice and stay ahead of the curve:
- Invest time in a formal planning process. Envision the big picture goals and work backwards. Take the time needed to articulate each and every step along the path. Put your plan in writing. Make sure all team members have a say in the firm’s goals. Client-facing teams will have a different perspective than those on the operations team. Make sure they are in alignment, and they will ensure your business is protected.
- Understand all tech needs and requirements. Solicit feedback from all members of your team on what technology resources they need to be successful. We found it important not to get enamored by the shiny new object everyone’s talking about. Instead, think about what is relevant to the needs of your team members and your clients. You must balance efficiency and effectiveness.
- Conduct a thorough request for proposal (RFP) process when searching for a tech partner. We went through a three-month RFP process that started with bringing our team together to articulate all the future system requirements clearly. We were very disciplined and thorough in our approach, confident that we understood our entire team’s needs, and determined to find a partner who could meet them.
- Focus on the adoption of your technology. When it comes to new technology, the biggest challenge is always adoption. If the internal team does not have the appetite to adopt the technology, you are wasting your money. Pace the adoption of technology around each team member’s needs by looking at their level of understanding and technology literacy. Then, take the time to educate your end-clients on the value of technology. It’s just another way to enhance client relationships and build your value proposition.
Building a tech partnership
One of the critical factors that helped us decide on the right tech partner was the vendor’s focus on onboarding, training, and ongoing support. As part of the RFP process, we moved away from some vendors who did not understand how important this was to our vision for the future.
In the end, it became clear that Envestnet | Tamarac came out head and shoulders above other potential vendors – from the platform’s advanced functionality to customer service and the technical expertise of the company. Since we implemented Tamarac Reporting and Tamarac Trading in June 2019, the Tamarac professionals have been by our side every step of the way — as a collaborative business affiliate and long-term partner.
To learn more about how Dakota Wealth Management conducted a technology vendor review and found the right partner, read the case study here, or watch the replay of the recent zoomcast, “How the Right Tech Choices Can Propel Your Practice in 2021.”
Envestnet | Tamarac is committed to supporting your technology needs through best-in-class solutions that include portfolio rebalancing, performance reporting, customer relationship management software, and so much more. Time to rethink your tech stack? Visit www.tamaracinc.com or give us a call at 866-525-8811.
The information, analysis and opinions expressed herein are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Envestnet. These views reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of writing and are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing contained in this piece is intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type.
Dakota Wealth Management and Envestnet are separate and unaffiliated firms, and are not responsible for each other’s services or policies. This blog should not be construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular product, service, or firm.