When you consider the sheer amount of paperwork that pre-tech RIAs had to deal with, it’s mind-boggling how anything got tracked, stored, or for that matter, executed. The digital revolution, expedited by the global pandemic, brought an unprecedented change in how we process and store information. Everything from e-signatures to e-mail has revolutionized the way we do business in the financial services industry.
When you’re starting out as an independent RIA, you likely have an understanding of the basics that you need in regards to IT, and there are certainly many options for RIA software out there. Computers, email providers, websites, etc. are all decision moments for you. One software choice that is likely not lost on you is the type of financial management software you should use for your firm.
Picking the right technology platform can seem daunting, but you’re likely more qualified than you think to choose the right technology for your firm.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
If you’re jumping out on your own from a large firm, you have a major advantage. You’ve been using software for years that you’ve become accustomed to. It may be as simple as purchasing your own plan with the technology you were using so that you can hit the ground running, but more importantly, you have a frame of reference of what you don’t like on that platform.
Of course, you may be leaving where you are to get access to some of the leading advisor tech out there. Knowing what you didn’t like about your previous software is a great reference point for searching for something you do like. If your previous platform underperformed in a certain area, you can now look for software that will be optimized for your preferences.
Your IT responsibilities don’t end at picking portfolio management, risk or financial planning software. You’ll also need to consider outfitting your entire office with technology. This includes things like all the hardware, phone lines, electronic locks and everything in between. Remember, you’re not just the CEO, but the CTO as well.
IT is More Than Computers
If you’re confident in taking on that responsibility by yourself, that’s a great advantage, but know that you can create more time for client centric activities by partnering with companies that specialize in helping you hit the ground running, especially when it comes to IT and security.
Selecting the right tools is critical for any industry, RIAs included. You’ll need to make sure that you do your homework, think about every aspect of your technological presence, and then make decisions based on your needs.
There are plenty of resources on the web to get you started and companies are eager to provide you with demos or take your money, but don’t make hasty decisions. Be sure that your clients are ultimately the best beneficiaries of your IT decisions.