RIA software helps Registered Investment Advisers (RIAs) and financial advisory firms track client data, documentation, and sales contact history. With features for investment information, financial goal setting, and compliance, RIA tools are a management solution for multiple investment adviser needs.
What is an RIA?
A Registered Investment Adviser, sometimes spelled Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a firm that provides investment-focused financial advice to clients. Often, an RIA is not a single person who advises but rather a financial institution. RIAs are expected to serve as a fiduciary—an RIA is bound to honor its clients’ best interests by suggesting investment opportunities that will be most financially beneficial to them.
RIAs work to comply with regulations in the financial sector. Standards for financial compliance include:
- The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which imposes data protection restrictions on financial institutions. Among the requirements are a developed information security plan and data privacy opt-out features.
- The Investment Advisers Act, imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This act requires firms to instate a chief compliance officer and to disclose conflicts of interest in order to maintain their fiduciary state.
Traditionally, RIAs have operated with paper documentation and mail. This approach makes it very difficult to track all documents, especially for firms with a large client base. It’s also a security risk: anyone with physical access to papers can ostensibly see the data. RIAs that need to keep their financial documentation in one location, especially to simplify compliance with SEC regulations, benefit from applications designed for their specific operations. They also increase data security by requiring digital authentication for each user.
What is RIA software?
RIA software includes all digital tools that help investment advising firms manage their client relationships and documentation, maintaining financial forms online rather than worrying about paper and mail. RIA software provides organization for advisory firms and assists them with client self-service — many RIA tools have a service portal through which each customer can view their investment data and financial planning.
Financial planning software
Financial planning software allows investment advising firms to offer their clients a single web portal where clients can perform self-service tasks to develop their financial goals. Financial planning software includes features such as:
- Estimates of costs for large expenses
- Goal setting
- Estate planning
- Financial testing scenarios, with estimated likelihood of both good and bad financial situations
File and document sharing software
File transfer and document management tools, such as Google Drive and Dropbox, help investment advisers store and send client financial information safely. These tools often have security features such as encryption so sensitive customer information is less likely to be seen or stolen. Financial advising requires transferring paperwork, so RIAs benefit from a single application that they can use for all documentation.
Investment management software
Investment management solutions provide clients with an overview of their current investments as well as broken-down data about individual stocks and other ventures. Investment advisers can use the software to bill clients, provide them with reports, and help them create a clear investment path. Features of investment management software include:
- Investment tracking, including stocks tracking, in one location
- Stock value data that regularly updates
- Reporting for investment data over a determined period of time that the client selects
Risk tolerance software
Risk tolerance tools help advisory firms know each client’s exact comfort level with risk. They can then provide specific investment advice based on the risk each investment will require. Risk tolerance software allows advisers to give clients assessments that gauge the maximum level of risk they’re willing to accept. Other features of risk tolerance software include:
- Investment proposal generation
- Documentation for investment strategies
- Compliance for advisory firms
Also read: Best Risk Management Software & Tools
RIA CRM software
RIA customer relationship management (CRM) software helps RIAs and other financial institutions manage their client interactions and business operations, like invoices and compliance with financial regulations. RIA-specific CRM features include:
- Web- or cloud-based portals for managing customer relationships, like deals, pipeline, and messaging
- Reporting, which can provide data like agent performance and contact group segmentation
- SEC compliance assistance
Some CRM software is specifically designed for financial institutions; other solutions are general CRM solutions that can be customized for RIAs.
RIA CRM vendors
Wealthbox is a CRM solution specifically designed for financial advisers. Wealthbox gives RIAs features like client contact grouping, permission controls, and 256-bit encryption. It also offers integrations with estate planning solutions, financial planning tools, and risk and behavioral analysis software.
Redtail is a cloud-based CRM solution for financial advising firms, offering contact notes with dates, pipeline opportunity views, and a mobile application. RIAs can design their own workflows and clone workflow templates, so they can be reused and modified for another process.
Salesforce is a CRM solution with multiple modules, including the Financial Services Cloud. It provides customer financial profiling, policyholder data, and processes for loan officers and borrowers. Salesforce is a solution for larger RIA firms that have the resources and personnel to customize their CRM.
Is your business considering financial adviser software? Read Best Financial Services CRM Software next.