Driving a digital-first culture

Submitted by Brian.Lavelle on October 21, 2020

JALINA: Hi, everyone, I'm Jalina Kerr, head of Advisor Services Client Experience, and this is Schwab @Home.

For the past two decades we've hosted our SOLUTIONS event, which really brings advisors together to learn more about our service and product offerings, and really take advantage of the technologies that we provide. We were looking forward to hitting the road this summer for our live events when COVID derailed us a bit, but we've pivoted and we're going to be hosting a virtual event. We've also been able to design more of a curated track, where we have foundational, intermediate, and advanced days for all of the advisors and advisor employees that are attending.

So, today, we wanted to talk to an advisor client who has spent some time at SOLUTIONS and has also really embraced digital adoption at their firm. So I'd like to welcome Matt Reiner from Capital Investment Advisors. Thanks for being here. Can you take a moment and introduce yourself and your firm, please.

MATT: Yeah, so we are Capital Investment Advisors headquartered here in Atlanta, Georgia. I'm a managing partner and a senior investment advisor. And our whole goal is to help retirees find happiness in retirement.

JALINA: As you are well aware, we are all having to make adjustments to how we're working in this current environment. So I thought it would be helpful to hear from you a little bit on how you've pivoted and what things are you taking advantage of?

MATT: I mean, we always were debating whether we wanted to do videoconferencing with our clients, but we thought it may take away from the personal touch. But what we found is it's efficient, it's effective, and it's still personal.

Also, internal communication. We have never communicated more than we are right now, along with DocuSign, something that we weren't doing a lot of in the past has now, you know, elevated drastically. And those are things that would have taken years that were fast-forwarded and we did within three months, which is really an incredible feat for our firm. And I think that we're seeing it across other firms, as well.

JALINA: I wonder, too, if you could pivot now and talk a little bit about digital adoption. Your firm's been a tremendously strong adopter. How have you created a digital-first culture at your firm?

MATT: I mean, it starts with knowing your 'why,' and understanding why you go into work every day or why you get online every day and the help clients.

The second is a culture of learning.

You're going to fail and you're going to have to iterate, and you have to have that culture of learning where everybody is okay with failure. And then the last is adopting technology.

Digital transformation and new technologies don't work great always out the gate and there's always issues. And if you don't have that culture of learning, you're going to throw the technology away right out of the gate, and it's not going to allow for you to innovate, iterate, take a step back, and figure out how to move forward with this technology.

And that's what firms have to embrace, and our firm's done a really great job.

JALINA: Well, Matt, thank you so much. I hope we get to see you in person in the not-too-distant future. And thanks to everyone out there listening. Again, I'm Jalina Kerr, and this is another edition of Schwab @Home.

Matt Reiner, CFA, CFP®, of Capital Investment Advisors, gives his insights on how to lead a digital-first culture at your firm.

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