25 Things Financial Advisors Need to Know When Vetting Tech Vendors
By Scott Pittman
Did you know that the average financial advisor’s tech stack includes five different vendors? What’s more, nearly a third of all firms are looking to add at least one more vendor as of this year.
Your tech is the backbone of your firm – when you find the right match, you’re equipped to streamline your processes and better connect with clients and prospects.
With that in mind, it’s important to properly vet vendors before you add them to your tech stack. Grab your pen and paper or dust off that printer, because these are the top questions you don’t want to miss when interviewing a new tech vendor.
25 Questions Financial Advisors Should Ask Tech Vendors
Before you dive into the conversation, I suggest you take a moment to outline what you’re really looking for – are any of these questions a deal-breaker for your firm? Is there a specific feature you’d really like to add to your tech stack? While you want to approach the vendor with an open mind, it’s also important to know your end goals.
On the other hand, the best interviewers know that your script of questions is just a guideline. Allow the conversation to flow naturally and don’t be afraid to dive deeper into a specific topic if you feel so inclined.
Integrations and Implementation
First up, you’ll want to make sure whatever tech you choose to work with will fit into the systems you already have in place. From integrations to set up time, find out if the stars are aligned for this pair.
- Is it Open API or Closed API?
- What integration capabilities does your software include?
- What is the implementation process and timeline?
- What reporting capabilities do you have?
- What are your data storage options and how are data backups completed, stored and secured?
- What amount of configuration is necessary?
- How much customization is available?
Company Culture and Growth
A tech vendor isn’t a one and done deal, it’s an ongoing partnership. Ask the right questions to find out if you have a future together.
- Who is on your team?
- How often will we communicate and with who?
- What ongoing resources do you provide?
- What are your customer retention stats?
- What are your secure development practices?
- How do pricing, payments and cancellations work?
- Is there a user community?
- Do you provide training? If so, what does the training include and what is the cost?
- What’s on your roadmap for the future?
- Do you have any references?
- How do you envision performance and scalability?
Dive into the Specifics
Lastly, there are a few other areas you’ll want to explore before signing on the dotted line.
- What happens to my data in your system and how do I access it?
- How is your application data security structured?
- Are there audit trails in your application?
- Do you offshore or outsource any of your work?
- Is the application highly available?
- How are upgrades made available and when should I expect them?
- What are your throughput capabilities?
If, later on, you find that you have more questions you’d like to ask, don’t be afraid to shoot a follow up email or pick up the phone. A great vendor is always happy to answer any of your questions.
With these 25 prompts under your belt, you’re on your way to a positive and productive path to find your next vendor.
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