Simple demography underscores the growing need for investment advisors. Thus, for insurance companies looking to capitalize on the wave of baby boomer retirements, the question then becomes how best to ready for this wave.

A new report, “Insurer-Affiliated Advisers: How They Work, What They Need,” from Boston-based Aité Group examines the technology and business needs of advisors. The report is based on a Q1 2011 Aité Group survey of 438 U.S.]based financial advisors, 32 of whom are affiliated with brokerages that are parts of life insurers.

While the numbers reveal some commonalities, they also indicate that insurer-affiliated have some special attributes. “One noteworthy feature of the insurance advisers is that many of them have relatively large books of business … significantly more insurer]affiliated advisers have books of business comprised of 150 or greater customers than did the total sample of advisers surveyed,” the report, authored by Aité Research Director Clark Troy, states.

Paradoxically, the survey also revealed that insurer]affiliated advisors average lower levels of assets under management (AUM) than do other financial advisors, with some 78% of surveyed insurer-affiliated advisers have total AUM of less than $60 million, as compared with 59% of the total population of advisors surveyed.

Despite these quirks, the technology needs of insurer-affiliated advisors are pretty standard with applications that support proposal generation, financial planning, customer relationship management and portfolio analytics topping the list. “The importance of technology to insurance]affiliated advisers’ lives and practices is certainly not lost on them,” the report sates. “Because they need to interface closely with the home offices of their broker-dealers, most advisers’ technology provisioning decisions are driven by the platforms made available to them by their broker/dealers.”

However, in the vase of mobile applications the group remains relatively hidebound.

“As is not surprising for a group that is generally slow to change the way it does things, these advisers have held onto their BlackBerry and Palm devices for longer than the general population, and are slower adopters of Android phones,” the reports states.

Nonetheless, Troy expects the group to seek out solutions on smartphones and tablets as they turn their attention to acquiring new business. “Financial advisers live mobile lives, and insurance]affiliated advisers are no exception to this rule. The paradigmatic sales situation for life insurance has long been adviser sitting across a prospective client’s kitchen table from the client and perhaps the client’s spouse, talking about risks and needs and plans. To get to today’s kitchen tables, advisers must be mobile."

-- This article first appeared on Insurance Networking News.