Technology’s Role in Investment Transparency

The financial services industry is still recovering from the effects of the financial crisis. Lasting effects include new regulations and clients taking an increasingly active role in their economic destiny. Underpinning much of this is that all industry participants—investment managers, clients, and regulators—are clamoring for greater transparency.

Technology is making it easier to meet this demand.


One positive from the crisis is that it has created new client experiences and a new role for financial advisors. Clients are now in charge, and we’ve seen a revolution around what they want and expect. They demand real-time information in everything they do, whether it be shopping or accessing investment information. The smartphone, in particular, has facilitated this. So the confluence of investors clamoring for transparency and technology creating a new, more empowered investor, means that firms that do not address these changes will run the risk of losing their clients.

This is a seminal moment for an industry that was shrouded in secrecy and black boxes. Today, financial intelligence—through transparency and paired with more high-value advice—is the only way that the financial services industry can survive. For example, online access and portfolio automation have allowed clients full access to their accounts and greater insight into its machinations. We think this gives investors more piece of mind and a longer-term view of their goals while allowing the advisor to be more strategic with their advice.

As the protector of the client relationship, the advisor must focus on the role they should occupy—the giver of financial advice. This advice should take into consideration the whole client, meaning their evolving situations, values, and expectations. With transparency and technology at the forefront of this, much of the heavy lifting is accounting for a higher value relationship between the client and his or her advisor.

Aside from the personality and desire to develop a relationship with the client, without the proper tools, an advisor has no chance to meet client expectations and simply will become a servicing agent. Advisors must adapt to this reality, or an uncomfortable reality awaits them. We think this is a positive outcome the came as a result of the financial crisis.