ORANGE, Calif., April 22, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Financial technology consultants Neal Quon and Blane Warrene are on a mission to educate advisors and broker/dealers on cybersecurity risk. Dubbed "fee-only tech consultants" because they are only paid by their clients for the advice and insights they provide (never by the tech companies themselves), the duo has been on the road, on the phone, and on the web with one big rallying cry: productivity and protection.
To support their expanded mission and demand for services, the firm has added two new staff members and plans to add two more in the near future.
RECAP OF RECENT EDUCATIONAL EFFORTS
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP FOR THE INDUSTRY: Co-Founder Blane Warrene was a keynote speaker at the 2015 Tech Leaders Conference in Dallas, Texas. Tech Leaders' audience is the C-Suite of the independent financial services channel. His session, Cybersecurity and Financial Services: Science or Art?, explored the landscape financial firms face in protecting their data, devices and systems. "The massive shift to cloud applications and mobile devices has changed the game for our industry," said Warrene. "We are in an always-on environment. Advisors and supporting organizations need to recognize the serious nature of online security and understand how behavior is as critical to security as the hardware and software we use to secure those devices and systems."
CONSULTING EXPERTISE FOR TD AMERITRADE: Warrene was also a speaker at the TD Ameritrade National Conference in San Diego. He discussed privacy and security for the socially engaged financial advisor. "Social media is key to any business development strategy," Warrene said. "But using digital outlets like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter means managing risk beyond compliance. It includes strengthening the security of online accounts, plus understanding how and where the data travels." Warrene went on to provide tips and advice on enhancing online security while remaining active on social networks. "As advisers renew their focus on cybersecurity, one important area not to overlook is passwords. While choosing the right technology is an important component of reinforcing our security when online, so is correcting some of our bad habits when it comes to password security," said Warrene. He also discussed trends in technology for financial advisors and how to avoid mistakes with technology spending. "One of the biggest mistakes advisors make is not focusing on their mobile strategy and dealing with the devices they use in business, including security, how to extend their office to become more portable, and how others consume the things they produce and share in a mobile fashion."
Warrene and QuonWarrene co-founder Neal Quon also met with advisors at TD Ameritrade's Digital Consultants' Lounge, where they fielded numerous questions on social media, data protection, mobile communications, technology purchases and software / app use and integrations.
PARTICIPATION AT T3: Quon attended the Technology Tools for Today (T3) conference in Dallas in February, where he immersed himself in learning about new technology for RIAs and IBDs. "Especially this year, when the SEC and FINRA released their guidelines, cybersecurity has been a heightened area of conversation," said Quon. "While there is no clear standard at this time, advisors and financial firms need to be documenting that they are doing everything they can do today to respond to a threat. You have to be nimble to respond to every evolving threat."
"Guarding against advisor error must become part of an advisory practice," Quon said. "That includes informing clients during account onboarding about cybersecurity policies. Registered Investment Advisors have a fiduciary responsibility to act prudently when it comes to cybersecurity," cautioned Quon. "You have to practice fire drills. Ask yourself: 'Does it feel safe? Is this website suspicious?' Have written policies and procedures around your cybersecurity. At QuonWarrene, our mantra is documentation."
Quon also recorded a "key take-aways" video while at T3, with additional thoughts on technology and data security.
CYBERSECURITY EXPERTS FOR IMPLEMENT NOW: Quon and Warrene were invited to serve as cybersecurity experts for The Independent Advisor's Implement Now Practice Management Virtual Summit in March. QuonWarrene provided a free giveaway that provides security tips and tricks for financial advisors. Additionally, they provided a special discounted rate on their Technology Spot Audit, QuonWarrene's proven introductory process to validate the security, privacy and continuity of advisor's systems and service providers. The Spot-Audit Report provides specific feedback including recommendations for changes to procedures while also advising on possible apps or providers who can help continue to streamline practice operations while limiting disruptions to productivity or the client experience. Download the recordings at www.implement-now.com.
UPCOMING EDUCATIONAL EFFORTS
PARTICIPATION AT SEI CONFERENCE: QuonWarrene has been invited to present on Practice Management and Technology Trends at the SEI Conference in Tucson, Ariz. from May 3-5. "We are excited to play a part at this industry leading event," Quon said. "As always, our focus will be on productivity and protection for financial firms."
DIGITAL LAB AT MORNINGSTAR INVESTMENT CONFERENCE: QuonWarrene will in partnership with Impact Communications run the digital lab at the Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago from June 24-26. "It is always a pleasure working with Marie Swift and her team," Warrene said. "We have partnered on other endeavors for broker/dealers and custodians so this should be a lovely evolution of the two firms' joint capabilities."
ADVISOR WEBINAR SERIES: QuonWarrene will offer a free online monthly webinar series for financial advisors who want to learn more about using technology in their practice. Their next webinar, entitled Mobile Productivity, is scheduled for Wednesday, May 20. In this webinar, advisors will learn about mobile policy for their business, including selecting the best devices as well as effective apps for productivity and security. They'll also cover the Apple Watch. The webinar scheduled on June 17 focuses on Evaluating Vendors. To register for these upcoming webinars, visit http://spotaudit.quonwarrene.com/webinar.
ABOUT WARRENE AND QUON
Blane Warrene – Recognized as an industry leader in financial services business development and technology, Blane Warrene has worked in progressive roles in operations, technology and compliance in the industry. He co-founded Arkovi Social Media Archiving in 2009 with Carl Cline and Tyson Lowery, successfully raising capital and delivering a modern software-as-a-service solution for business use of social media. Warrene also co-founded QuonWarrene with Neal Quon in 2009, a consulting company through which the duo provides technology thought leadership and advice. In October 2012, Arkovi was acquired by RegEd. Warrene continues to advise the industry through QuonWarrene. In addition, Warrene is a sought-after speaker and panelist at industry and corporate conferences where he brings a fresh and innovative approach to business issues. An avid blogger and well known on twitter, @blano, he is actively engaged in social media and providing thought leadership on the topic of compliant communications.
Neal Quon – Neal Quon began his career in the financial services industry in 1997. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University and holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Family Financial Planning. Having been an independent advisor gives Quon an understanding of the challenges financial advisors face when selecting the tools to best meet the needs of their practices and their clients. He helped establish the technology for a Texas-based Registered Investment Advisor as he also built his initial book of business. Quon has also bridged many channels in financial services, with a consistent focus on the front office of operations. He has worked for and consulted with many of the industry's leading service providers such as Albridge Solutions and CashEdge, Inc. Quon also directly coached financial advisors, serving as the Practice Consulting Manager for the Pacific Life group of broker/dealers prior to their sale to LPL. In founding QuonWarrene with Blane Warrene, Quon brings client-facing technology expertise and first-hand experience to the firm. He speaks regularly at industry events, providing insights on practice management issues today. Follow @nealquon on Twitter. View firm overview video at https://vimeo.com/120632278 or learn more at http://www.quonwarrene.com.