On today’s broadcast, find out my picks for the best advisor technology of 2013, how building your own workflow with Internet services just got a bit easier, and how you can let prospects you’ve never seen before tour your office, virtually.
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2013’s Best Tech for Advisors from Morningstar Advisor
[December has clearly arrived, as I, like many of you, have endured sub-zero temperatures while on the road, but it also marks the release of my column on my top advisor technology picks for the year. Each year I highlight what I feel is the best back office technology, the best client-facing technology, and the best overall innovation for the year.
So taking the honor as this year’s best back office technology winner are two recipients, LPL Financial and Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services. Both companies launched mobile check deposit support earlier this year using apps on mobile devices. While advisors using mobile devices to deposit client checks might not seem very sexy, the capability does reduce many of the challenges when dealing with paper checks deposited in the traditional ways.
Next up is this year’s best client-facing technology, which is awarded to Riskalyze. You’ve heard about Riskalyze before on several of my earlier broadcasts, as they’ve gained significant momentum among advisors seeking tools to objectively quantify each client’s unique risk tolerance. Their reasonably-priced tools allow you to better measure how your clients respond to market volatility, instead of leaving an assessment up to your own intuition and gut feelings.
Finally, this year’s innovation of the year award goes to Trade-PMR for its introduction their bold Fusion Advisor Workstation. This growing custodian delivered a shot across the bow of its larger competitors by pushing the envelope on the custodial technology interface. Its Windows 8-inspired design and touch responsive support unveils a completely new way to manage your client’s financial assets, so look for the competition to play catch-up next year to the new bar established by Trade-PMR.
There’s a lot more to my best technology picks of 2013, including products deserving honorable mention, so be sure to read the full article for all the details.] This is my fourth year positioned in the hot seat of a high-stakes evaluation process that can literally make or break the future of an advisor technology provider!
[Next up is an interesting development on connecting Internet services so you can build your own simple workflows. One service I wrote about last year is IFTTT, an acronym for If This Then That, which allows you to perform an action in one Internet service using a trigger from another.
A second service receiving a lot of attention this week is Zapier, which announced an extensive redesign of its interface and expanded support of over 250 integration partners. There’s no end to the number of cool things that can be done with these services, so be sure to read up on Zapier’s announcement to see how you might start using the service for your own clever workflows.] Today we’re launching a brand new web app and announcing that we now have over 250 integration partners.
Create your own Street View from Google Maps
[And finally, you know how handy it is to use Google Street View to check out unfamiliar places before you travel. Well did you know that you can now duplicate the experience by creating a virtual tour of your business for clients and prospects? Starting this week, Google announced that you can use your own photos from your Android phone or a digital SLR camera to construct a 360 degree photo sphere of your business.
While the direct financial planning applications of a photo sphere are pretty nonexistent, I think setting one up for your business is a very clever way to market yourself to prospects that want to work virtually with you, but still appreciate the environment and people you support that help contribute to their financial success.] Well, starting today, it’s now possible for you to build your own Street View experiences to do just that. Using a new feature in our Views community, you can easily connect your photo spheres to create 360º virtual tours of the places you love, then share them with the world on Google Maps.