How tech can help you win the talent war

Smiling man works on a laptop

Tech-forward RIA firms had a big advantage early in the pandemic. They were able to seamlessly shift to remote work without much disruption to clients. And at a time when everyone felt isolated and uncertain, tech-savvy advisors with the right tools kept their clients up-to-date on their portfolios, the markets, and the changing realities of their world.

Advisors at firms with outdated or cumbersome technology were frustrated at this time. And for some, that frustration has only grown.

J.D. Power's annual U.S. Financial Advisor Satisfaction Study found that in 2020, although 92% of respondents said that they rely on core technology tools provided by their firm, only 48% said that the technology was very valuable.1 In 2021, the same study found that among advisors with the lowest overall satisfaction with their firm, only 35% said their technology had improved in the past year.2

Illustration of a man and woman with various technology icons above their heads.

There are many factors that lead an advisor to switch firms. Many advisors are saying that technology is one of them. Here's why.

Good tech helps advisors please their clients

The pandemic made us all experts on Zoom, Teams, and Meets. Today some clients like that they have the option to pop into a video call for a short meeting rather than driving across town. They also like that they can check their accounts online and share planning docs via secure, online portals. 

For younger clients, the ability to open accounts, sign documents, and move money digitally is table stakes. Many clients also want tools that provide information and invite them into the planning process. And clients of all ages expect that anyone at your firm can answer basic questions and get them what they need quickly—making an integrated CRM system and planning software an integral part of your tech stack.

For entrepreneurial advisors, this ability to deliver the experience each client wants—on or offline—translates into client retention and referrals. Firms that do not have the technology that clients want can struggle to grow. That's not where a star advisor wants to be.

Spend less time chasing paper

Illustration of a man chasing paper around an office

How many people like their work, but dislike all of the hoops they have to jump through, the slowdowns and frustrations throughout the day, the breakdowns that keep them from being their best?

Inefficient technology can make life hard for an advisor. Chasing down paperwork, reentering data and fixing all of the typos, troubleshooting problems that shouldn't happen. It can wear a person down. 

It can also suppress asset and client growth. Advisors who spend their days laboring through tasks are doubly frustrated because each unproductive hour is time away from work that can bring in new clients and grow portfolios. 

Firms with powerful technology and intelligent workflows make administrative tasks simpler and are better able to keep processes moving. The ability to remove the friction that frustrates most people is attractive to advisors who are motivated to build up their practice.

A data-driven approach can win more clients

Top advisors know that you can't limit your business development to a small network of people. You need to find ways to market to folks who would never find you in the usual places and then nurture those leads with a mix of personal connection and data-driven approaches.

RIA firms that effectively use their CRM system to target their marketing to ideal clients and to stay in touch with prospects increase their chances of finding and winning new clients. As a result, more firms are prioritizing this data-driven approach.

Schwab's 2021 RIA Benchmarking Study found that firms ranked acquiring new clients through digital channels in their top priorities and more than 70% of firms generated leads from their websites, virtual prospect events, and online advertising.3

Compete for talent from every angle

Businesses in every industry are struggling to hire good people because, while compensation is still a priority, other factors matter more now than they used to. Today, technology is one of those factors. Firms that invest in technology to improve the client experience, speed up workflows, and win new clients have a better chance at wooing advisors on the move.

What you can do next

  • Schwab's enhanced digital onboarding tool guides you and your clients to open, fund, and set up accounts in minutes. Watch this short video to learn more about how it works. 
  • Not sure where to start? Get tips for jump-starting your digital efforts.
  • Consider a custodian that invests in your success. If you're thinking about becoming an independent advisor, contact us to learn more about the benefits of a Schwab custodial relationship.


1 J.D. Power, "Investment in Technology Key to Winning War for Financial Advisor Talent, J.D. Power Finds," July 2020.

2 J.D. Power, "Wirehouse Wealth Management Firms Struggle to Keep Advisors Satisfied through Pandemic and Beyond, J.D. Power Finds," July 2021.

3 Results for all firms with $25 million or more in AUM. 2021 RIA Benchmarking Study from Charles Schwab, fielded January to March 2021. Study contains self-reported data from 1,340 firms. Percentage of firms generating leads is based on firms that track leads and indicated generating one or more leads from tactic. Past performance is not an indicator of future results.