The human touch: How legacy advisers are adapting to the rise of the robo

Tim Bain, a Statesville, North Carolina-based financial adviser, began his career working at Edward Jones Investments 23 years ago by going door to door to sell products to customers.

Now, Bain owns his own company, and has found he’s spending less on gas and doing it all online.

“With Facebook, I get a local audience but it’s a larger one than knocking on doors,” said Bain, who is president and chief investment officer at Spark Asset Management. Bain said he’s still focusing his business on a target geographical area, but tools like Facebook help him reach a larger audience within it. And being “local” — to a point — is important for the community-based advisory services he provides.

For Bain, who promotes his business among his extended network on social media, technology has become an indispensable tool to grow his customer base. It’s an example of how experienced financial advisers are increasingly using technology to enhance their human-advice product offerings. Tech innovation on the product and marketing sides is motivating advisers like Bain to adapt.

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