By: Phill Rogerson
Envestnet’s second quarterly RIA Forum on March 24, 2022, tackled a compelling and influential trend: the focus on personalization in wealth management. Hundreds of Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) from around the country participated in our virtual event, joining Envestnet leaders, a BlackRock model portfolio leader, and a leader from the RIA community to discuss new ideas to help you differentiate your practice and drive growth.
In the second of our quarterly virtual meeting series, sponsored by BlackRock, we explored how important it is for RIAs to connect the needs and circumstances of their clients with the advice and solutions deployed in their portfolios. Few things drive more loyalty than a client’s understanding that the counsel and strategies they receive have been specifically tailored, and we see personalization on the ascendance everywhere. People expect personalization in every aspect of their lives, including specific wealth management products, most notably separately managed accounts (SMAs) and unified managed accounts (UMAs).
Envestnet RIA Forum highlights: Four key takeaways from the leaders
#1. More and more advisors are moving on the journey toward hyper-personalizing client portfolios in a scaled way, advancing what it means to deliver tailored financial advice.
What I see in the market and how I view investment trends moving forward is toward a world where client engagement and more directed and customized solutions will help advisors differentiate themselves. A big part of your value is your ability to keep your clients more engaged and more disciplined with personalized solutions.Dana D’Auria, Co-CIO, Envestnet
D’Auria’s session focused on her market perspectives and how investment trends are leading to more personalization, especially in a volatile environment. She discussed Envestnet’s vision around the Intelligent Financial Life, how hyper-personalization is being brought to consumers, and how Envestnet is helping clients onramp into this hyper-personalized ecosystem.
D’Auria reviewed the investment solutions Envestnet offers to help advisors connect with clients in all aspects of their financial life and covered how advisors are tackling the demand for engagement and customization and the need to differentiate. Especially in market volatility, she referenced surveys that found that if investors are engaged in personalized solutions, they are more likely to stick with them longer and remain committed to their advisors.
2. The significant adoption of model portfolios and managed account solutions is a gateway to future business growth and allows advisors to do more for their clients.
We work with thousands of financial advisors, and one thing is consistent: Time is their most precious resource. With a shift in portfolio construction to managed accounts, there is greater flexibility as the advisor thinks about defining his practice, defining his value proposition, and delivering to his clients.Eve Cout – Head of Model Portfolios, BlackRock
Cout discussed the amount of time many advisors spend formulating and implementing investment recommendations — and the dramatic time savings when they start to build a models-based practice. She referenced how advisors can deepen their book, prospect more, and offer more services with the extra time available.
Cout talked about how easy it’s become to structure a models-based practice, thanks to the evolution of technology. She concluded with the three ways she sees the most successful advisors adopt models.
3. Focusing on the client’s objective is becoming more critical for advisors with the increased availability of personalized portfolios and overlay services.
There is a demand that the advisor broaden his value proposition beyond an investment-centric focus. We see a need for deeper client engagements, the ability to serve more clients and save time.Erik Preus – Head of Overlay Services, Envestnet | PNC
Preus discussed how attitudes around customization and portfolio construction have changed over the past 10-15 years. He talked about how advisors today can create a customized experience as products have become much more available and easily accessible. He spoke about how advisors can access a more holistic wealth management network and ecosystem that brings it all together in one centralized place, such as Envestnet.
Preus concluded by discussing the importance of overlay services to further tailor an account, where investment has seen incredible demand. This is especially the case when it comes to tax management and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations.
4. SMAs and unified managed accounts (UMAs) allow advisors to tailor the client experience to a different level, spending less time on the rebalancing of trade portfolios and more time deepening client relationships and potentially increasing wallet share.
We utilize SMAs because they allow our clients to access institutional-quality investments without the typical hurdles associated with high minimums and fees. Our ability to leverage our size and scale to negotiate lower minimums and fees is beneficial for our clients.David Le – Chief Technology Officer & Wealth Advisor, Beacon Pointe Advisors
Le discussed the dramatic growth of Beacon Pointe, one of the largest independent RIA firms in the nation, and all the factors that have contributed to its success. He described how the firm takes a holistic approach to the client experience, focusing on investments in highly customized portfolios tailored to each unique situation. As a large user of SMAs, Le talked about Beacon Pointe’s vision behind the rollout of a UMA platform: to improve the client experience, improve operational efficiency, and scale the business.
Le concluded with five pieces of advice when getting started in the UMA space: do your research and vet firms to find the right one, establish a deployment team, develop a solid communication plan, set proper expectations across the firm for what the new platform will deliver, and put together a solid training plan.
For more insights from our second installment of RIA Forum, you can watch the replay here. Join this 90-minute virtual event when it’s most convenient for you, and stay tuned for the next quarterly event, where we’ll share more ideas focused on your needs and our vision for the future.
We are Fully Vested in helping you address the key challenges you face as you evolve and grow your business. To learn more about how you can take advantage of opportunities to scale with personalization, better engage with clients and prospects and streamline your operations, connect with us at RIASales@envestnet.com.