We are excited to announce the preliminary results of our annual systems and operations survey of registered investment advisor (RIA) firms. These results, coupled with in-person surveys conducted by RIA in a Box staff members with several successful advisory firms, demonstrate the importance of the selection, implementation, and integration of modern software tools for investment advisory firms interested in growing their client base and assets under management in a scalable manner. No matter the size of the RIA firm, there are now numerous options available to an investment adviser interested in operating a faster-growing, more efficient advisory firm.
An overwhelming percentage of surveyed advisory firms consider growth a key priority for 2014. Of those firms interested in growing, most plan to do so via organic solicitation of new clients rather than through the collection of more assets from existing clients or the acquisition of other RIA firms. Regardless of the methods by which RIA firms plan to grow, the operational challenges associated with a growing advisory practice stand out as the primary barrier to growth.
Our research indicates that a well-constructed operations platform is formed via the implementation and integration of best-in-class software to fulfill the following functions:
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Investment reporting and portfolio management
- Financial planning
- Document management
While the implementation of such software has traditionally required large up-front investments of time and money and a substantial amount of technical expertise, the development of modern, cloud-based solutions has opened these possibilities to even the smallest advisory firms.
Using the preliminary results of our survey and the anecdotal evidence gathered during our visits to the offices successful advisers, we are excited to offer a sneak peak into the characteristics of an operations platform that allows an advisory firm to grow quickly without compromising quality of client service or greatly increasing costs.