With one month remaining in another exciting year in financial services, 2018 rolls in at a record pace. Tax reform continues its march, the bull is still roaming the streets, and advancements are coming at the speed of light. Three things front-and-center in the new year will be; employees, strong alliances, and technology (a given).
Let’s begin with the most important: employees. Our employees will continue to demand more from us than ever before. But it will not be all about the “benjamins”. Employees will crave your attention, and more of their time. They will want more education than ever before. Employees see the marketplace broadly and are realizing they must remain ahead of peer competition to remain relevant in the workplace. This will require new internal communication paths driven by firm principals, and will incorporate virtual learning.
Employees also want more time for themselves. Firms offering unlimited time-off and evolved work schedules continue to accelerate. With the anxiety families face today for a minute of personal and family time, this will be in hot demand in the new year. Consider revamping incentive programs incorporating time versus financial reward.
A secondary trend is reduced employee output. There is a relative downward output trend appearing in today’s job marketplace. Simply put; give me more and I will still give you less. Reviewing processes and constant open communication are the first two combatants to this growing trend.
Employees are also becoming harder to find. Let us clarify—well-equipped and trained employees. October’s National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) reports 59% of small businesses are hiring workers, although 88% of those businesses said that there were few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. We would argue this is far greater in financial services. The issue of talent search will continue to deepen and require you to find key sources for talent aid [hat-tip to FIG Talent Solutions]. The heart of our business will require fresh attention.
It has been vogue for well over a decade to align with centers of influence to aid client planning needs. In the coming year, this should be a mandate for financial services businesses. Do not brush this off another year.
Formally (emphasize) landing central alliances will wrap you in to the integrated Wealth Counselor™ concept we believe is the new norm in professional financial services. It also blankets the drastic rise in consumer complexities. Clients cannot afford to make investment and insurance decisions without understanding present and future taxation.
Often, taxation must include legal planning. Clients need legal advice while making financial decisions. Thus, the planning circle continues.
Clients may also seek integrated planning on their own, as they have for years. In the new year, clients want their advice integrated to remove any superfluous noise. Consider creating planning groups or investigate bringing this in-house.
Who doesn’t love to talk technology? Those petrified of it. Some of you reading right now are in that camp (breathing exercises may be applied while reading). Financial technology (FinTech) is evolving faster than ever. What once took years to execute in finance outside of Wall Street, is happening in months. You must adapt, since it will not.
We predict the iPhone X will cause major disruption and opportunity in finance. Why? The iPhone X is the first real handheld device to allow augmented reality (AR). As users of all demographics become more comfortable with AR, virtual reality (VR), and voice control via the new phone technology, they will begin to demand it more from the services they use. This will include financial services. Data shows consumers are more comfortable communicating virtually than live, and this trend will soar with the artificial advancements. Stay close to groups like Financial Independence Group, your clearing and custody firms, and technology rags for ongoing recommendations and offerings.
Employees, alliances, and technology are three of many exciting opportunities awaiting us in the new year. 2018 will be filled with extreme advancements finally coming to financial services. Be alert and nimble, and reach out for consulting expertise to help you grow.
Surge Business Consulting
December 2017. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information. Sources: Surge Business Consulting, October NFIB release. This is not tax or legal advice and is the opinion of its authors, Surge Business Consulting, only.