In the last ten years, the financial world has accelerated its adoption of digital experiences and reliance on technology solutions, such as robo-advisors, which are now commonplace in the wealth management industry. For Ben Treece, a registered investment professional whose father also ran an RIA for three decades, technological advances must not come at the cost of a caring and human approach to supporting clients.
“When I was working for my father, he had a very high-touch mantra,” says Treece. “At the end of the day, clients are looking for a hands-on approach with an advisor that they know they can call and actually talk to.”
These values led Treece to the like-minded San Blas Securities in 2021, where he is now a senior advisor.
Introducing San Blas Securities
Headquartered in Atlanta, San Blas Securities is a full-service broker-dealer with a platform that includes capital markets and an independent network of advisors. The firm is known for its ethos: listening, long-term relationship building, and the right level of personalized advice.
“The client comes first no matter what,” says Treece. “Our job is not to make our clients rich but to keep them rich. What I like most about the mentality at San Blas is that slow, steady, and consistent is the key to our firm’s growth.”
“From my perspective, my goal is to make sure we are doing the best we can at a household level.”
Treece’s client base consists of investors close to retirement age — and who aren’t digital natives. Even for this group, CircleBlack’s technology is intuitive.
“Clients really enjoy the platform,” says Treece. “With CircleBlack, it’s relatively seamless to transition between screens, which makes it easy for clients and advisors to get on the same page.”
Moreover, Treece views CircleBlack as a company that can remain agile and adaptable to his firm’s evolving needs.
“The team at CircleBlack is always looking for the next enhancement to make advisors’ lives easier,” Treece elaborates.
What all-in-one tech enables
CircleBlack, which has been in place at San Blas for almost three years, is the first all-in-one platform that Treece has used in his career. In prior roles, working for his father’s firm, he was using a mix of spreadsheets, hand-written notes, and reporting from custodians.
CircleBlack has become a focal point of his daily routines.
“It’s my first experience with a product that is so well-rounded and encompasses not only client-level detail but also household-level detail and a CRM that’s a one-stop-shop for anything that my clients need,” Treece says. “CircleBlack is my first login in the morning when I come into work, check my email, and get ready for my day by reviewing some holdings and accounts.”
Treece elaborates that CircleBlack’s interface helps him enhance the quality of interactions with his client base. More specifically, he speaks to the availability of performance reporting capabilities to keep conversations focused, constructive, and on track.
“CircleBlack gives me a clear way to measure account performance against different benchmarks and to provide clear explanations to clients,” explains Treece. “The software has made the experience of working with clients a lot more seamless.”
“It gives me a well-rounded look at exactly what’s going on with my overall book of business, and then I can dive into an individual household or client-level detail to see what’s going on with each person.”
Responsive, on-point perspective
Delivering exceptional service to every client is Treece’s North Star. That means leveraging CircleBlack’s integration ecosystem to build a comprehensive technology stack.
Currently, Treece utilizes CircleBlack along with Redtail and Nitrogen to manage discussions with clients.
“Recently, I was on a call with a client, and we were talking about the current economic outlook from both an equity and fixed income perspective,” says Treece. “During that conversation, I logged into CircleBlack to provide a household-level perspective of their wealth. I was able to show the client their allocation to equities and investment-grade bonds. I was also able to provide a clear perspective of money sitting in cash for deployment into different areas or sectors.”
“Without a solution like CircleBlack, I’d need to manually tally up these various perspectives. With CircleBlack, the transition between screens is relatively seamless.”
More productive discussions with families
Among families, there’s often more than one decision-maker involved with the wealth management equation.
“As an example, I was recently on the phone with a husband and wife couple from a rural part of the United States,” explains Treece. “The husband has a slightly more aggressive portfolio than the wife. When speaking with them, I was able to give them a clear understanding of their risk tolerance numbers in addition to the rationale behind those scoring.”
“It’s very helpful to be able to sit down and be able to navigate back and forth between individual client level detail and then household level detail to discuss how the two play off each other — especially what each individualized portfolio means for the overall household and its assets.”
Being ready for every conversation
“Clients are always going to need confidence in an advisor and a firm’s ability to provide answers to questions or needs,” says Treece.
Treece elaborates that technology is critical to building this trust.
“Advisors will need to master the ability to integrate and understand the full capabilities of new technology,” says Treece. “On the other side, it’s about maintaining that high level of touch.”
“There’s a unique opportunity for advisors to really work with clients on that educational front.”
CircleBlack is here to help
CircleBlack is an all-in-one management platform for financial advisors. We help RIAs communicate and collaborate better with their customers.
To learn how our software can help you build, manage, and grow your financial advisory practice, get in touch. After reading this article, you may be interested in learning more about our branded app, performance reporting capabilities, and client portal.
This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal, or tax advice.