Mounting operational demands, the rapid pace of technology change and shifting investor dynamics are making it difficult to innovate, say many advisors and broker-dealers who attended Fidelity Investments’ recent annual Executive Forum in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The 118 executives who participated in the forum’s poll reported spending 73% more time and resources on risk and compliance than they did 10 years ago. As a result, they are spending 19% less time on marketing/business development and 10 percent less on client service, they said.

On average, the executives polled are dedicating four hours per week to the topic of innovation, which is less than half the time they would like to devote to thinking about new ideas for their businesses, according to the poll.

Slightly more than one-third (34%) believes that technology will be the primary force that drives innovation in the near term. This includes the use of mobile technology, cloud storage and services as well as social media.

“To engage the next generation of investors, advisors should consider adopting technology broadly – not only to help transact business and service investors as efficiently as possible but also to be more transparent, to better communicate and to allow investors to be more involved in the process,” Sanjiv Mirchandani, president of National Financial, Fidelity’s clearing and custody business, said in a statement.

The participants polled noted big shifts in investor behavior. Almost two in three (64%) said that investors today are more risk averse. Twelve percent reported that investors are more engaged in the investment process, and 7% said they want greater transparency and increased communication through email, text and social media.

More than 350 executives of broker-dealer and registered investment advisor firms attended the Executive Forum held April 30 – May 2 in Scottsdale, Ariz.