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Despite fears of a tech-led revolution, automated advice and natural-language artificial intelligence are not yet ready to eclipse traditional advisors. Indeed, those technologies may never be ready to take over the human element.

Major advances across the financial planner’s toolkit are making tools more useful and efficient. Vast improvements also allow advisors to build broader and deeper relationships with clients — and, perhaps most importantly, justify their fees.

“We recently purchased Social Security analysis software [that] is very robust and goes much deeper into planning around when to take Social Security,” says one advisor at a national RIA and one of the respondents in this year’s exclusive Financial Planning Tech Survey. “It’s not cheap, but has helped us close $15 million in business over the last year.”

In the study of roughly 1,000 advisors — from independent RIAs to planners affiliated with a broker-dealer to other types of advisors — some surprising and counterintuitive ideas about the tools of the present and the future were revealed.

While wealth management firms of all sizes are trying to streamline their operations to benefit clients, smaller firms, especially, are focused on ways to enhance the human element and provide smarter, better and more sophisticated advice.

The information gathered in the survey can help provide a road map for technological advancements in the years to come.

Click through our slideshow to find out which technologies advisors think will have the largest impact on the industy in 2018 and beyond. The answers may surprise you.

To see more insights from our annual survey, please see our interactive graphic: Tech Survey: The forces reshaping wealth management


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