July 11, 2012 08:50 ET

SEI Survey: Advisors Stuck in Tech Status Quo as Integration Frustrations Remain

Majority of Advisors Seek Streamlining, Yet Still Using Multiple Systems

OAKS, PA--(Marketwire - Jul 11, 2012) - Advisors are frustrated by the lack of integration between their technologies, yet they continue to use a large number of vendors and systems, according to an SEI (NASDAQ: SEIC) survey released today. When asked what aspect of technology they find the most challenging, respondents identified integrating their various systems and software as the top answer. While more than half of those polled (61 percent) conceded that their technology would be easier to manage if they streamlined services and reduced the number of vendors, only seven percent said their technology tools and software are fully integrated. The results point to the lack of real movement toward integrated technology solutions in the industry, despite the ongoing demand from advisors.

The survey, completed by nearly 250 advisors, also addressed areas of infrastructure, purchasing patterns, and plans for the future, in addition to the benefits and challenges of technology. While the majority of advisors polled (66 percent) said technology has been mostly beneficial to their firms' operational efficiency, most believe there is still room to improve. The overwhelming majority of respondents (86 percent) admitted that there are aspects of their firms handled manually that could be done more simply through better technology use.

On the topic of integration, respondents pointed to better end-to-end processes as the most likely benefit (39 percent), followed by improved client experience (33 percent). When asked the most important benefit of integration for clients, respondents pointed to better reporting most often (25 percent), followed by a better website experience (23 percent). 

When asked where they are currently using technology to improve business practices, those advisors surveyed pointed to financial planning most often (77 percent), followed by CRM (74 percent), and document management (56 percent). The majority of respondents (66 percent) said they knew "enough to get by" when asked about their levels of comfort with their firms' technology. Less than a third (27 percent) said they were "pros." 

"In the last decade, advisors have embraced technology and experienced the business benefits but they realize integration offers a whole new level of value for them and their clients," said Steve Onofrio, Managing Director, SEI Advisor Network. "Unfortunately, as the survey demonstrates, while most advisors see the benefits of integration, very few have actually been able to achieve it. We believe advisors who use integrated technology solutions will be the most successful going forward."

"Most advisors will admit they're not techies, but the business benefits of technology are impossible to ignore," said Steve Zimmerman, President of VF Investment Services Corp. in Wayne, PA. "Unfortunately, many of us have become our own worst enemies as we keep adding technologies to the mix in search of more efficiency. What's becoming clear is that no matter how many systems we bolt on, we'll never achieve the ROI we're looking for unless those systems can work together in an integrated way."

When asked about the likelihood of future technology investment, 73 percent of those polled said there is at least a moderate probability they will purchase some sort of new technology in the next 12 months.

A copy of the results can be obtained here.

About The SEI Advisor Network
The SEI Advisor Network provides financial advisors with turnkey wealth management services through outsourced investment strategies, administration and technology platforms, and practice management programs. It is through these services that SEI helps advisors save time, grow revenues, and differentiate themselves in the market. With a history of financial strength, stability, and transparency, the SEI Advisor Network has been serving the independent financial advisor market for more than 16 years, has over 4,900 advisors who work with SEI, and $32.6 billion in advisors' assets under management (as of March 31, 2012). The SEI Advisor Network is a strategic business unit of SEI. For more information, visit

About SEI
SEI (NASDAQ: SEIC) is a leading global provider of investment processing, fund processing, and investment management business outsourcing solutions that help corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and ultra-high-net-worth families create and manage wealth. As of March 31, 2012, through its subsidiaries and partnerships in which the company has a significant interest, SEI manages or administers $428 billion in mutual fund and pooled or separately managed assets, including $189 billion in assets under management and $239 billion in client assets under administration. For more information, visit