RBC Wealth Management introduces new business planning technology for advisors

While there has been significant progress in technology to help clients achieve financial goals, tracking progress towards a financial advisor’s own business objectives is still largely a pen-and-paper affair.

Advisors with a clear and documented business plan are 92% more productive than those without, according to Laura Cheeley, RBC Wealth Management director of practice management. Yet only one in five practices have such a plan.

RBC is giving advisors a new digital tool to help close that gap, Cheeley says. The program was piloted in September and is now being rolled out to RBC’s entire workforce of 2,000 advisors. More than 150 practices have already adopted the technology, Cheeley says.

Like client-facing financial planning software, RBC’s Business Compass provides a digital hub for advisors to define business goals and track progress according to metrics like assets under management or number of households. Advisors that want to go more in-depth can also use Business Compass to define a value statement or marketing objectives.

“We see it as a blueprint for an advisor’s practice,” Cheeley says. “What does the business hope to accomplish, and how are they going to accomplish it?”

The tool helps create accountability among team members, she adds. Tasks tied to specific goals can be assigned through Salesforce, and field managers can use Business Compass to see individual practice’s progress and business strategies.

This kind of accountability can help turn an abstract business plan into concrete results, says Matt Granski, president of Miracle Mile Advisors, a Los Angeles-based RIA.

“There is a wide gap between writing down a business plan and executing one,” Granski says in an email. “Business Compass seems to be the reality check that a lot of advisors need.”

Most advisors prefer to spend time on clients or investments rather than practice management tasks, but having a digital tool could help them run a better business, says David Geibel, president of Girard, the wealth management division of Univest Financial.

“You can draw similar parallels to doctors and lawyers practicing their craft versus running their business,” Geibel says.

The tool was developed fully in house and integrates RBC’s recently revamped advisor technology hub. The tool is not available to independent advisors through RBC’s custodial business.

Though RBC field leaders can see an advisor’s objectives and progress on Business Compass, adoption will not be required, nor will it be used to evaluate advisor performance, Cheeley says.