Identifying Advisor Pain Points With Adam Holt

Adam Holt is the CEO and Founder of Asset Map, a platform providing interactive financial overviews for informed and empowered decision-making. 

Asset Map surveyed 175 advisors on challenges like accessing next-gen clients, the role of technology, and the industry’s current state. On this episode, Adam breaks down the data and offers his insights into their future impact on advisors and the industry.

Topics discussed:

  • The need for financial advisors to improve communication and demonstrate their value to younger generations, who often mistrust or do not understand the benefits of financial advising.
  • Leveraging technology and modern tools to enhance client engagement and financial literacy, aligning with evolving client expectations.
  • AI’s potential impact on the financial services industry with a focus on how it could transform tasks like communication, workflow management, and possibly even the advisor-client dynamic.
  • Asset Map’s integration with Holistiplan, a tool that helps advisors quickly analyze tax returns, enhancing the platform’s capability to offer comprehensive financial insights on a single screen.
  • Asset Map’s strategic vision to provide a holistic view of clients’ financial situations by layering various types of data, enabling more interactive and insightful financial planning sessions.

Click here to view Asset Map’s Advisor Insights Survey!

Resources: Asset Map

Related: Reaping the Benefits of an Independent Partner With Chris Reaney


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Julia Smollen  00:02

This is Advisorpedia's Power Your Advice podcast, and I'm Julia Smollen. Today we welcome Adam Holt, CEO and Founder of Asset map, a platform providing interactive financial overviews for informed and empowered decision making. Asset map surveyed 175 advisors on challenges like accessing next gen clients, the role of technology and the industry's current state. Adam is here to break down the data and offer insights into their future impact on advisors and the industry. Welcome to the podcast, Adam.


Adam Holt  00:32

Thank you. Julia, great to be here.


Julia Smollen  00:35

So to start off, can you walk us through this advisor survey, how it came about and what the motivations were behind it?


Adam Holt  00:43

Absolutely. You know, one of the things that's been really critical, we keep telling our financial advisor clients to understand their clients like never before, right? Our process at asset map is really based upon a fact, finding experience critical to all advisors - know your client, right? We've heard that before. One of the things that we said, Well, gosh, do we do we knew what advisors are dealing with? And so that was the preamble to doing this survey, is to really make sure that we were on the pulse of what our advisors were experiencing, and what are their bigger pain points.


Julia Smollen  01:11

And what would you say stood out about the responses you got back from these advisors?


Adam Holt  01:15

You know, it's interesting that, you know it's always about what kind of questions you ask, but what was very clear to a big topic that we're all doing with this next generation of succession planning, as well as the greatest wealth transfer, which comes up a lot in stories today, right this big 80 some trillion dollars that's going to move from the Boomers to the next generations of X and millennials is is how under engaged we think that most millennials and next gens are from financial advisors, and it really tends to show that there's a significant amount of, we'll call it mistrust, or distrust or not, not understanding the value proposition of a financial advisor in the millennial community. And that's going to be a real challenge, I think, for a lot of financial professionals hoping to retain assets.


Adam Holt  01:30

Right and in your opinion, what do those stats say about the broader state of wealth management and the industry right now? Are the numbers offering any clues to where the industry is heading in the future?


Adam Holt  02:14

Well, it's very clear that there's been, I think, well, there's been plenty of experiences over the past decade that have caused mistrust of the financial services institutions, from 2008 to things that just occurred, I think, throughout the early years of the millennial generation. And I think one of, one of the things that the survey really tends to focus on, is advisors need to do a better communication of the value proposition, right? So what does a financial professional really provide other than asset allocation or maybe some kind of retirement plan. There's a there's a general obscurity that most advisors, I think, may not be aware of, because their customers tend to know what they do, that the the next generation, the adult children of our aging clients, are starting to get involved in their families or their parents' finances, and they're bringing with them the expectations of the modern product and service, which is on demand when you want it. Add mindful, beautiful, great UX, and I don't think that the traditional financial planner experience is anything like that. So we have a big hill, I think, to overcome. And the best thing that advisor can take away from this survey is that they have to focus on engagement, and that means educating their clients, focusing on literacy, and, of course, bringing modern experiences that they're used to seeing.


Julia Smollen  03:36

And on a similar note, AI is a major focus in current media. Is it having a noticeable effect on the industry right now? Or do you have any predictions about that future impact?


Adam Holt  03:49

Absolutely you know, it's funny to hear all the conversations around AI, but it really hasn't had a really huge implementation in financial services yet. I think it's about fear. I think there's also concerns, for the most part, at least in the larger corporations, that data has to be protected, and there's not a lot of clarity as to what happens once you put potentially client data into AI systems. So there's really, I think, a lot of work and effort there, but it's inevitable. The impacts of AI, especially around communication, marketing and rewriting is very clear. Next Generations of machine learning will probably be able to predict what clients need what. And I think advisors are going to need to harness some of these tools to create acceleration, from note taking to workflow management, CRM integration, tell me what I've got to do next, prioritize and so forth. So I think there's a lot of applications for AI. The irony behind it is that the real question Julia is, how is AI going to disintermediate the financial professional in this current environment is, are we looking at now a robo advisor enabled with AI basically being able to do full service financial planning in the same capacity and maybe faster? Better than a human counterpart, and I think that's the real question. One of the things we've relied upon in this to our crystal ball, if you will, to understand what's going to happen, is that there has been a very clear framework that we have used for years that is true to pretty much most humanity, is that when we have to make complicated decisions. That means, when humans have to make complicated decisions or decisions that have a high cost of being wrong, we tend to seek validation from another person, whether that's relationship advice or tax advice or employment advice, you tend to call the people you trust to get some context. And one of the things that's really clear is that when families, when individuals, lives get financially complex, we tend to seek out some expert resource. Same thing's true in medicine, isn't it, when you have a you learn that you have some, God forbid, malady of some sort, you tend to seek out the most expert person who can give you context and guidance and confidence. So we think that the human advisor still has a role here, but it's very clear that not only is the next generation expecting that we're using these great tools, but that we also leverage them to deliver more humanity. And I think that's the big I think interesting thing about AI is we tend to focus, at least ourselves, on what we call the original AI advisor intelligence, and how do you apply that to in real time, to the client's lives using this new tech? And I think you know, the people who figure this out early will really win.


Julia Smollen  06:32

And changing our focus to asset map. Now, can you walk us through the new integration of Holisticplan?


Adam Holt  06:42

Absolutely, Holistiplan has done a great job of solving a very specific problem advisors have had for years. And if you're not familiar with them, holisticplan, and I'm not, I'm not endorsing them. I don't own holistiplan. I'm just a fan, and it was and it was important, because what they've done is they've enabled advisors, both tax professionals and investment and planning professionals alike, to literally scan 1040, returns and get some insight and feedback from that document, which tends to demystify even the most astute of financial professionals. So accelerating that process and basically giving you the conclusions of someone's tax returns, where their opportunities, tax rates, etc, is a really great utility, and so we had a lot of demand, given they just crossed 30,000 advisors using their tool to integrate that information with asset map. So what you can do today is you can take information from a list of plan that's already scanned a tax return, and you can now update an asset map and then embed those key statistics right into asset map for in meeting viewing. So I can be with you looking at our asset map of a family, and click on the person and instantly see the results of host, the plan tied to that party. And then jump right into the deeper insights, if you want it. So the key for us is to really focus on a zoom out right. We want to see the entire complexity of a household and all the people in it, and now we also want to see the high level tax implications of this family, so we can make better decisions.


Julia Smollen  08:10

What should advisors specifically know about how this is enhancing asset maps functionality?


Adam Holt  08:15

Well the interesting thing about most of the users of asset map is they tend to have the capacity to talk holistically about the whole family. We tend to catalog the members of the household, entities that you control, cash flows, assets, liabilities and insurance policies. So it's really probably the only platform that has this holistic view on one screen or one page, whatever you're using adding the tax layer to it. I've commonly talked about this in many writings and also on presentations, is that the four pillars of financial planning, which are legal, tax insurance and investments, all must be looked at at the same time. And typically, financial planning tends to Micro Focus on investments more than all other things, typically, because that's where advisors monetize it. But that's not necessarily the entire picture. So the key here is to help advisors have a holistic conversations that we're not just a single, siloed professional, but we're actually someone who can have conversations outside of our our typical we'll call it expertise or presumption of expertise, and that's important because the clients are having to make decisions around all these areas, and it's and they can't be myopic. So they're in this bigger version of financial professionals, moving towards a more holistic, comprehensive advisor. They're going to actually have to bring in multidisciplinary approaches, and that's what holistic brand brings to the table for Asset Map.


Julia Smollen  09:43

How does this fit into asset map's long term strategic vision? What can we anticipate over the next six months and even more, into the future?


Adam Holt  09:52

It's a great question. The bigger vision of asset map, as it started, was to just try to view your entire household on one page. How its evolved is actually most professionals use this live in a screen sharing environment or a large display in their conference rooms, and they just throw up everything that's going on in your financial closet so that we can have an honest and open discussion without a judgment for say, in other words, without talking about whether you're going to meet or fail your goals financially. Let's just talk about what you're doing right now and whether this serves you over the years. One of the things that we've gotten is, well, okay, this is now I see the financial closet on one page. Now what right Can I bring in other insights, like tax, like legal like, like asset allocation? Can we look at debt coverage and try to get some feedback as to whether this is, you know, needs attention or not? So the answer to your question is that you're going to see more layering of data, not just like Google Maps allows you to look at a, you know, the restaurants nearby, or the gas stations nearby, that also allow you to click on those restaurants and see, oh, this has got a five star rating, or this is their menu. You're going to see more and more of this interactivity in asset maps, so that you can literally stay entirely in asset map for an entire meeting and see and zoom in, zoom out for different levels of of data, for better insight. So that's the that's the real big vision of asset map. Holistic plan is is one of those we'll call pieces to help us get there. But we're excited about the future, for sure.


Julia Smollen  11:17

Amazing. Thank you so much for joining us Adam and we appreciate the insights and for your time.


Adam Holt  11:24

Thank you, Julia, for all the good work that you and your team do.


Julia Smollen  11:27

To Learn more about Asset Map, please visit Please visit us for timely updates on X, LinkedIn, and Facebook, all at Advisorpedia. For everyone at Advisorpedia and the Power Your Advice podcast team, this is Julia Smollen.