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How to Build an RIA Tech Stack


Having the right technology can be critical to a registered investment advisor’s success. However, knowing what to include in an RIA tech stack may take some thought and planning to ensure you have the right tools to meet your needs. This guide offers some helpful suggestions on what to include, along with tips for building out a tech stack from scratch.

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What Is an RIA Tech Stack?

An RIA technology stack refers to all the tools that are necessary to run an RIA firm. That can include software and services for managing the front, middle and back ends of your business.

Why do RIAs need a tech stack? Having the right technology is important for growing your business and making sure everything runs smoothly every day. Here are some of the key benefits associated with building out a tech stack. Here are some of the key benefits associated with building out a tech stack.

  • Investing in tech tools can help you streamline operations, potentially saving you both time and money.
  • Financial advisor technology can improve client experience, leading to increased loyalty and retention rates. Improving client satisfaction could also help you to generate new leads in the form of referrals.
  • Incorporating tech into your advisory business can help you to better meet compliance guidelines and protect client information.

Exploring the possibilities that technology has to offer could also make it easier to compete alongside other RIA firms that are innovation-positive. Failure to adapt to changing technologies, meanwhile, could mean getting left behind.

What to Include in an RIA Tech Stack

A financial advisor working with a tech manager to build an RIA tech stack

What your tech stack looks like can depend largely on the needs of your firm. Identifying your business’s pain points can help you narrow down which solutions might be appropriate. Generally speaking, an RIA tech stack may include any of the following tools.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools

Customer relationship management software can help RIAs simplify collecting and organizing client data, making their lives easier.

A good CRM program should allow you to set up automated workflows for tasks like onboarding and off-boarding, email marketing and lead generation. The ability to share is another good feature to have if you’d like to be able to make client information accessible to other members of your firm.

Financial Planning Software

As an advisor, you spend a significant amount of time offering financial advice to your clients. Financial planning software can help you create customized plans more efficiently by providing the necessary tools. Some of the features that you might look for when choosing a financial planning software include:

  • Client-led planning tools
  • Integrations with other RIA tech tools
  • Interactive simulators and calculator tools
  • Detailed analytics reporting
  • Customizable planning templates
  • Access to a secure client planning portal or dashboard
  • Superior customer service and support

Choose a software program that can help you create charts or graphs. These visual aids will be useful for showing your clients their net worth and financial goals. By using this program, you can easily keep track of important financial information.

Portfolio Management Software

Portfolio management software acts as a complement to financial planning tools in an RIA tech stack. In terms of what kind of capabilities you should be looking for here, that can include things like rebalancing, trading, tax management, and legacy or estate planning. You may also be interested in software that incorporates tools for risk management, data aggregation, and/or lead generation.

If you’d like to separate some of those functions and you have the budget to do so, you might consider separate tools for trading and rebalancing, or a different software program that handles risk analysis. Of course, a more centralized approach could mean less jumping back and forth between tools or programs to manage client portfolios.

Virtual Conferencing Tools

RIAs are increasingly taking client meetings and team meetings online. While in-person meetings aren’t likely to disappear any time soon, having the option to meet via video chat is worth considering. Virtual conferencing can save you and your clients time, and it can also be a more convenient option if you have clients who are busy and can’t make it to your office on a regular basis.

Compliance and Cybersecurity Software

Compliance is something RIAs must take seriously, as failing to meet regulatory guidelines could leave your firm open to penalties. Likewise, protecting client information is equally important, particularly given the uptick in cyberattacks and fraud.

RIA compliance software programs can help you to identify areas where your firm may be lacking and address potential security concerns. Capabilities can extend to:

  • RIA registration with the SEC or state regulatory agencies
  • Employee compliance
  • Cybersecurity
  • Archiving and information management
  • Audit preparation

Having this type of software is no substitute for hiring a compliance officer, which is something that’s required under SEC registration rules. Investing in compliance and cybersecurity software can help to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks due to oversight.

Other Financial Advisor Technology Tools

In addition to the tools mentioned so far, there are some other additions you might want to make to your RIA tech stack. They can include:

  • File management and sharing software programs
  • Task management tools
  • Instant messaging tools
  • Word processing programs
  • Payroll and accounting software
  • Scheduling software
  • Calendar tools
  • Email marketing software

Doing a technology audit can help you identify what systems you already have in place for simplifying tasks and what’s working (or not). If you don’t have a chief technology officer, you might consider hiring one or at the very least, seeking a consultant with an RIA tech professional who can offer insight into which tools might be most useful and necessary to have.  

Bottom Line

A financial advisor plans an RIA tech stack

Building an RIA tech stack can take time but it’s worth the effort if you’re ready to embrace the possibilities that tech has to offer. With the right technology in hand, you can operate your firm more efficiently and better serve your client’s needs, both of which can help you to scale and grow over the long term.

Tips for Growing Your Advisory Business

  • SmartAsset AMP (Advisor Marketing Platform) is a holistic marketing service financial advisors can use for client lead generation and automated marketing. Sign up for a free demo to explore how SmartAsset AMP can help you expand your practice’s marketing operation. Get started today.
  • Scheduling tools and AI tools can help to streamline your marketing efforts online. For instance, you might use ChatGPT or similar AI technology to generate social media content or email newsletters. And scheduling tools can make it easier to feed your social media followers a steady diet of content, without having to be perpetually online.

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