The Digital Client Evolution

The Digital Client Evolution

While much has been made of the digital adaptations that the pandemic has forced upon businesses, so too have individuals needed to adopt new ways to manage their finances and interact with their financial advisors. Fortunately, many of the electronic tools required to meet the challenges posed by shelter-in-place orders were already in production, and they also offer substantial benefits in time, convenience, cost, and security. The evolution and ubiquitous presence of smartphones has served to bridge the technical divide that once intimidated so many while serving as the basis for the enhanced security protocols that give comfort to even more. Furthermore, the flexibility of technology allows for clients to craft their preferred experience rather than rely solely on rigid service models. It is reasonable to expect—given the events of 2020—that when ‘normal’ returns, clients will have implemented many new digital measures—like bill pay, eSignature, and Zoom calls—into their standard, personal finance routine. For our part, Sand Hill has invested substantially in this advancement and partnered with our custodians to offer clients a suite of tools that offer convenient solutions without sacrificing safety.

While many of the digital tools that enhance the client experience are not necessarily new, adoption has historically lagged due to security concerns and what many felt was daunting technology.  The smartphone, particularly those equipped with biometrics, has made a sizable difference in the protection of accounts, assets, and personal information. Additional safeguards such as multi-factor authentication, tokens, text messages, and callback numbers have been easily implemented with phones. At the same time, well-designed apps for the phone now offer users an easy and approachable way to interact with their custodian. As an additional client benefit, the direct use of custodian apps for moving money offers expedited processing times while allowing for greater visibility and tracking. The use of digital banking services had already been a growing trend prior to the pandemic. For the first time in 2018, more bills were satisfied with electronic payments than physical checks, while the number of checks written declined by 4.2 billion, or 21%, in just three years.1 Through our custodian partners, clients can pay bills directly from a brokerage account while also transferring funds to themselves and others through a smartphone app.

The original digital goal was paperless statements, which helped to dramatically reduce paper usage but did not eliminate the need to still retain and organize one’s files. Clients are now awash in digital statements, often times secured behind multiple website portals, and still in need of proper storage. Sand Hill has invested in a client vault that was built to satisfy the needs and security standards of billionaire family offices, with unlimited storage and privacy options that, in our view, far surpass those of the free retail options in the marketplace. We, along with our custodians, have also integrated digital signatures into our normal operations as well as our client vault to expedite client directives, while at the same time adding greater precautions to verify identities. And, like many businesses, we have substantially increased our secure connectivity and availability via Zoom videoconferencing to better meet, and speak to, your needs.

Sand Hill is fully committed to providing its clients with a customized experience that fits their unique lifestyle and preferences. In today’s world, and particularly during the pandemic, that often means tailoring our offering with a significant boost from digital tools. If you would like us to construct and assist with the implementation of a personal technology plan to meet your demands for cash management, document storage, and digital security, please do let us know how we can help.


1 – The 2019 Federal Reserve Payments Study

Articles and Commentary

Information provided in written articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice. There is a risk of loss from investments in securities, including the risk of loss of principal. The information contained herein reflects Sand Hill Global Advisors' (“SHGA”) views as of the date of publication. Such views are subject to change at any time without notice due to changes in market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. SHGA does not provide tax or legal advice. To the extent that any material herein concerns tax or legal matters, such information is not intended to be solely relied upon nor used for the purpose of making tax and/or legal decisions without first seeking independent advice from a tax and/or legal professional. SHGA has obtained the information provided herein from various third party sources believed to be reliable but such information is not guaranteed. Certain links in this site connect to other websites maintained by third parties over whom SHGA has no control. SHGA makes no representations as to the accuracy or any other aspect of information contained in other Web Sites. Any forward looking statements or forecasts are based on assumptions and actual results are expected to vary from any such statements or forecasts. No reliance should be placed on any such statements or forecasts when making any investment decision. SHGA is not responsible for the consequences of any decisions or actions taken as a result of information provided in this presentation and does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information. No part of this material may be (i) copied, photocopied, or duplicated in any form, by any means, or (ii) redistributed without the prior written consent of SHGA.


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