5 Big Tech Trends in the Financial Advisory Industry

From the Desk of Jim Eccleston at Eccleston Law Offices:

According to InvestmentNews, the five best and brightest tech trend in financial services industry are the wizardry of “big data” algorithms, wearable tech for go-anywhere advisers, video-game-inspired business applications, deep content analysis by supercomputers such as IBM’s Watson, and software that has an uncanny ability to read facial expressions and emotions.


Tech teams in the financial services industry are studying how to use big-data analytics and statistical probability to better know their customers, including advisers and their clients.

Big data is so big that even the smartest of technophiles have a hard time managing it. This is because it encompasses a huge flow of information about customers, products and services that companies have been gathering for years.

Much of this information, whether collected from traditional or digital databases, has moved into the cloud and continues to grow exponentially.


Technology will be less visible as computers disappear into user-friendly hardware.

Fidelity has designed an “office of the future” prototype on its Smithfield, R.I., campus that shows registered investment advisers how they will use all that new technology to better engage with their clients. Improved video conferencing and better gadget management also will catch on in the smart office. Moreover, Fidelity was the first major brokerage firm to make a public foray into wearable technology six months ago when the Fidelity Labs research and development unit was granted early access to Google Glass and created a Glassware app that lets wearers focus their vision on a logo of a publicly traded company to generate a real-time market quote, according to analysts at online and mobile research firm Corporate Insight.


Advisers take their work seriously, so the idea of bringing game dynamics into their practices to encourage desired client behavior can make them nervous. But consumer websites and online communities have been using game mechanics to motivate participation and loyalty for years. For example, Money Mind’s web app is played as a question-and-answer game by couples to determine whether each partner is most driven by fear, happiness or a need to commit. Advisory firm United Capital Private Wealth Counseling has used its Money Mind Analyzer to work with 45,000 clients and prospects since 2010.

More participants in the financial services industry are starting to venture into the new frontier of “gamification.”


IBM is actively seeking to use Watson, IBM’s supercomputer which could sort and analyze vast amounts of data faster than its human competitors, for industrial applications, as the supercomputer is moving into the realm of financial planning.

On a “Watson in finance” web page on its website, IBM states that Watson is being designed as “the ultimate financial services assistant,” capable of performing deep content analysis and evidence-based reasoning to help advisers make informed decisions about investments, trading patterns and risk management.


Advisers will be able to do some conjuring of their own with voice, mood and facial analytics.

For example, Pershing is using voice analysis, a technology that is catching on at call centers. Customer calls to Pershing are analyzed for empathy expressed by company representatives, silent time on calls and behavioral cues when customers use phrases such as “I’m so frustrated” and “I can’t believe this takes so long.”

Beyond voice, cloud-based emotion capture technology now under development uses computer vision to recognize viewers’ emotional responses to products and services.

Already, products such as Affectiva Inc.’s Affdex, Emotient.com, Face.com, Noldus Information Technology’s FaceReader and Sightcorp, have arrived on the market to provide companies with consumer analytics based on age, gender, eye tracking, facial expressions, mood and attention level. For example, Sightcorp’s webcam eye-tracking software lets companies detect where product users’ attention is focused in a controlled lab setting.

The attorneys of Eccleston Law Offices represent investors and advisers nationwide in securities and employment matters. Our attorneys draw on a combined experience of nearly 50 years in delivering the highest quality legal services.

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