July 20, 2017 Update

July 20: 2 minute read

I haven’t published new content to FPPad since March 2017, so here’s some quick insight on things behind the scenes.

I’ve published several videos to the FPPad YouTube channel, including longer discussions with RIA in a Box and Snappy Kraken that include product walkthroughs. Subscribe to the FPPad YouTube channel AND click the bell icon to receive notifications when new videos are posted. Arguably that’s the easiest way to see what gets published, as I don’t always follow up with an update via email or even a new post to the FPPad blog.

Generally, I’ve been posting regularly to Twitter, including links to insightful interviews, previews of the #FuseUtah hackathon coming in September, and a new savings account startup that might, just might, pay 2-4% interest on your cash (pending a planned release in October, which you should know, is more like a guideline than a definitive date).

But in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes, I’m still focused on covering companies, trends, and issues in financial adviser technology, but the volume and frequency of my content has trailed off over the last six months.

Here are three main reasons why.

First, I took on several retainer engagements in H1 2017 to create marketing materials for social media channels for several companies including Morningstar and Redtail Technologies. Here’s some Morningstar promotional material we produced and here’s what we’re working on with Redtail: (and when I write we, I mean Steve Biermann and I). As I created more video content personally and for FPPad (I have something like 400 videos on that channel), I discovered that 1) I liked the creative process, and 2) I’m actually pretty good at creating compelling videos, and 3) more companies want to increase their footprint in the online and social content marketplace to promote their brand and communicate their story.

Second, I took all of June and half of July off to go on a 32-day trip to Yellowstone and back with my family, and I decided to make a daily vlog of the trip. In my 39 years I’ve never been to that part of the country, and I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to take it all in for a month and at the same time capture each day’s moments in a permanent family movie.

And finally, I’ve taken advantage of the slow summer to figure out more scalable ways to continue to add value to the thousands of you who have subscribed to FPPad without overwhelming too many of you with a barrage of disparate pseudo-content updates. I don’t quite have the answer of what format(s) that will take in the near future, but I do know that I’m not giving up on fintech or the importance of the financial advice you deliver to clients.

There are still millions of Americans who aren’t getting the financial advice from which they can benefit tremendously, and I firmly believe that the application of financial technology can increase access to financial advice at a price most Americans can afford.

So if you have comments or suggestions on what would benefit you as a subscriber, or if you just want to offer words of support, hit me up on Twitter or email me at

Thank you!

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The Financial Advisor Technology Landscape: March 2017

Curious which companies make up the financial advisor technology landscape? Then have I got a chart for you!

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The Financial Advisor Technology Landscape as of March 2017. Copyright © 2017


Betterment introduces Plus and Premium hybrid advice plans featuring in-house CFP® professionals

The lede!

  • Betterment adjusts its default fee structure to 25 basis points for accounts of all sizes for what is now called Betterment Digital (the 35bps, 25bps, and 15bps tiers are gone)
  • Betterment customers who formerly qualified for the 15 basis point tier will see their fees increase 67% to 25 basis points. Some customers are not pleased
  • New Plus and Premium plans are offered that introduce hybrid advice engagements from human advisers for an additional fee
  • Betterment Plus includes an annual planning call with the in-house adviser team and support via email. Betterment Plus pricing is 40 basis points and requires a $100,000 account minimum
  • Betterment Premium include unlimited contact with the in-house adviser team via phone and email. Betterment Premium pricing is 50 basis points and requires a $250,000 account minimum
  • All Betterment plan fees are capped, charged only on the first $2 million of a customer’s balance.
  • Betterment is introducing the Betterment Advisor Network™, launching with roughly ten advisers who have complete the Betterment vetting process, all of whom must hold the CFP® certification
  • There is no fee to be included in the adviser referral network
  • Betterment receives no referral fees for directing customers to any specific adviser in the referral network
  • Customers who work with an adviser in the Betterment referral network pay a fee of 25 basis points on their assets in their Betterment account. The adviser can set an additional fee on top of Betterment’s fee for services provided

Betterment introduces hybrid advice plans with access to in-house CFP® professionals

Betterment announced today that the company will introduce hybrid advice offering with access to an in-house team of financial advisers.

For the full details from Betterment, see the post below from the Betterment website:


The Best of Both Worlds: Smart Technology + Financial Experts

Fee Fallout

One unfortunate consequence of the new 25 basis point pricing structure is the elimination of the 15 basis point tier that formerly applied to accounts over $100,000.

Reaction on Twitter was swift, as these customers will see their fees increase by roughly 67%.

Fee Parity Between Retail and Advisor Platforms

Despite the frustration of customers who formerly qualified for the 15 basis point tier, Betterment Digital’s pricing establishes parity with the pricing offered in the Betterment for Advisors (formerly Betterment Institutional) service.

Since the Betterment for Advisors introduction, I had been critical of the conflict the different pricing tiers presented for advisors who chose to implement Betterment for Advisors for their clients.

I often questioned how an adviser could meet his or her fiduciary obligation to clients with over $100,000 in assets, as that client would pay fees of 15 basis points using a “retail” Betterment account, where a minimum fee of 25 basis points would be charged on a Betterment for Advisors account, for asset management services that I felt were essentially equivalent.

Today, that fee disparity, and the fiduciary quandary, is eliminated, but at the expense of raising fees for customers who qualified for the former 15 basis point tier.

Betterment undercuts Personal Capital

One other observation is Betterment Premium now enters the competitive hybrid advice market, a space dominated by Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, that is also occupied by Personal Capital and the Schwab Intelligent Advisory offering scheduled to debut sometime in the first half of 2017.

Betterment Premium is more expensive than the 30 basis point fee Vanguard Personal Advisor Services and the 28 basis point fee from the upcoming Schwab Intelligent Advisory, but at 50 basis points, the service undercuts Personal Capital’s current 89 basis point pricing.


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FPPad Bits and Bytes for January 27, 2017

CFPB Requests for Information: Consumer Access to Financial Records:

This week’s update starts with a quiet, yet noteworthy escalation in the battle for access to consumer financial data collected by many of the account aggregation companies, as eight of them announced a new coalition called the Consumer Financial Data Rights industry group.

Who’s part of this group? Names that should be familiar are Envestnet | Yodlee, Betterment, and Personal Capital, with less-familiar B2C startups Affirm, Digit, Kabbage, Ripple, and Varo Money rounding out the list.

See, back in November 2015, large banks like JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America “throttled” access to customer account data by account aggregation services that ultimately ended up on sites like, Personal Capital and others, causing users of those services to have inaccurate information on their account transactions and investment holdings.

The banks acknowledged the throttling, saying they did it out of concerns for account security and to protecting customer data. Oh really?

Because by my research, account aggregation has been around for the better part of 28 years. How many known security breaches have been reported by the account aggregators? Zero.

So now all of a sudden the banks are concerned about security?

Obviously, there is some tension here, and I’m sympathetic to both sides.

And the tension is significant enough that even the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken interest in the issue.

So here’s what I want you do to. When you’re done listening to, or reading, this week’s update, go to where I have links for this week’s stories, and at the top I’m going to link to the CFPB’s request for information about the use of account aggregation services.

If you’re using account aggregation to enhance the advice you give to your clients, or even just to see a comprehensive picture of their net worth, consider adding your comments on the rights you feel consumers should have to give permission to third-party aggregators in order to access their data.

Because if you don’t take the opportunity add your two cents, you can’t complain about what happens with the future of account aggregation.

I’m going to stay on the topic of account aggregation with the next story, because I find it interesting that this week JPMorgan Chase just announced its own agreement with Intuit to offer client account data access through an API.

So what’s different about this API? With most of the existing aggregators, a Chase customer would have to enter their username and password into account aggregation which would then go out and log in to the Chase servers, usually overnight when it’s not very busy, and pull in the account transactions. This new API, however, allows Chase customers to grant access to Intuit right within their Chase account. They don’t need to give their username and password to Intuit.

That’s great if customers who want aggregation operate within the Chase and Intuit ecosystem, but where I live in the real world, accounts are held all over the place.

I’m concerned that Chase will start reducing account access to aggregators like Envestnet|Yodlee, Fiserv’s CashEdge, and maybe even eMoney and force them to program to this new API. Now if the new API doesn’t cost anything, it’s probably a good thing, and certainly helps protect the security of a customer’s username and password, but if Chase starts charging a fee for access to this new API, well, that starts to get a bit political.

And another unknown is how Finicity may or may not be affected by this, because if you recall, Intuit said it was shutting down support for its account aggregation APIs and transitioned sales and support entirely over to Finicity. If a Chase client enables the API for Intuit, does that mean the Chase account data will be available through the Finicity relationship as well?

If *you* happen know the answer, let me know, and I’ll post a follow up and keep you in the loop.

So why spend all this time on account aggregation? I’m glad you asked! It’s because I continue to see strong demand for account aggregation services, with one example just this week where Wealth Access, operating out of Nashville, TN, announced that it now has $41 billion in assets tracked on its platform from 130 wealth management organizations, with both figures up over 50% from this time last year.

And in an email I received from Personal Capital, they’ve now crossed over $300 billion in assets that are tracked with their digital tools, of course, all powered by account aggregation.

And with the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, even with it’s fate in jeopardy, the momentum is already growing where advisors may need to use account aggregation to get the full picture of how a client’s existing portfolio is allocated BEFORE making a recommendation on how to make changes in a new portfolio.

How can you do that?

Unless you want to gather reams of paper statements from clients, the answer is account aggregation.

I’ve linked to all of the stories mentioned in this week’s broadcast over on my website, so be sure to check them out over at

And next week I’ll be attending the TD Ameritrade Institutional National LINC conference along with my executive producer Steve Biermann, so if you’ll be at that event, be sure to stop me in the hallways and say hello.

And that wraps up this week’s broadcast on the best in advisor technology and more. If you have something to say, or have a story you think should be featured in a future episode, please send me a tweet on Twitter, I’m @billwinterberg, or if you’re not already receiving my email newsletter, you can sign up at

Thank you so much for listening, I’m Bill Winterberg, see you next time.

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for January 20, 2017

In this week’s top advisor technology stories:

  • Starburst Labs, the creators of Wealthbox CRM, raised $6.25 million in new capital
  • The XY Planning Network inks an enterprise pricing deal with eMoney Advisor
  • Morgan Stanley pays a $13 million settlement for billing mistakes across 149,000 customer accounts, and
  • Document management provider Cabinet Paperless gets acquired by PSIGEN Software

Starburst Labs raises $6.25 million in new capital

This week, Starburst Labs, which is the New York City-based company (formerly known as Gotham Tech Labs) that makes Wealthbox CRM, announced it raised $6.25 million in Series A funding. Back in December when the Financial Planning Magazine technology survey came out, Wealthbox CRM was one of the few movers and shakers in that survey who rose up the ranks in overall adoption. Most of the other companies basically stayed in the same positions as in previous surveys.

So Wealthbox CRM basically launched from zero on February 11th 2014 (which I remember because February 11th is my birthday) and in under three years has ascended to the level of industry adoption to compete with well-known CRMs like Redtail, Salesforce, and Junxure.

What’s interesting, though, is that Starburst has three other products in addition to Wealthbox CRM which are InvestorSay, an online community centered around investing ideas,, a plugin for simulated stock trading contests, and Wealthbase, a question and answer website that reminds me a lot of Quora.

So the Series A funding won’t exclusively support Wealthbox CRM, because I’m sure it’ll be allocated across all four products, but at least the new investment will do more than just keep the lights on at Starburst’s SoHo offices. Now, they don’t have a personal chef on site, but the offices are more than adequate to support the work the team needs to get done.

And don’t forget, Wealthbox CRM is included in the technology package for anyone who is a member of the XY Planning Network, which is growing at its own eye-opening pace, so I’m not at all concerned that the product might go away anytime soon. An acquisition is a whole other story, but that’s a risk you take with any independent technology provider you use in your business, and isn’t a risk that’s exclusive to Wealthbox CRM.

So with that, let me just say that I believe Wealthbox CRM deserves a little more respect and recognition in the industry for the adoption it has already earned among advisors in just a few years.

The XY Planning Network inks pricing deal with eMoney Advisor

Speaking of XY Planning Network, they’re also in the news this week after announcing a partnership with eMoney Advisor, where members of the network will receive enterprise pricing to emX Pro.

emX pro is the top of the line package that offers planning modules for cash flow, estate, investment, and retirement illustrations above and beyond the client portal and account aggregation in the less expensive tiers.

Retail pricing for emX pro is around $3800 a year, so enterprise pricing probably knocks off 10 to 20 percent, but it doesn’t bring the price down to the $1000 a year range for planning software like MoneyGuidePro and inStream that offer pricing discounts to XYPN members.

Morgan Stanley pays a $13 million settlement for billing mistakes

I have two more quick stories worth mentioning: First, I saw that Morgan Stanley was ordered to pay $13 million to settle civil charges brought by the SEC after the Commission found that more than 149,000 clients were charged excess fees of more than $16 million between 2002 and 2016 as the result of billing errors. The firm also failed to comply with custody rules by not conducting surprise audits on client accounts for which the firm had custody.

So accurate billing is one of those things than often goes under appreciated inside your advisory business. If you have robust portfolio accounting systems like Orion, Envestnet | Tamarac, Advent, AssetBook, and others, it’s probably built in and pretty seamless. But I know some firms still calculate fees using custom Excel spreadsheets, and if that’s you, this action against Morgan Stanley should be a reminder for you that it’s probably time to replace your Excel spreadsheets with a more robust and less error-prone accounting system.

Cabinet Paperless gets acquired by PSIGEN Software

And to wrap up advisor technology news, I saw that Cabinet Paperless, a document management company based in Huntsville, Alabama, was acquired by PSIGEN Software for an undisclosed amount. PSIGEN offers document scanning and capture technology, and it’s safe to say that once you capture a document electronically, you’ll need a good solution to index, store, and archive all that information, hence the acquisition of Cabinet.

Someone challenged me last week about why I think advisers are behind on technology adoption, and when I think of document management, this one of the solutions where I think I’m correct in that a minority of advisors have purchased and implemented a robust solution here. Your top contenders here are Laserfiche, Cabinet, NetDocuments, and possibly Sharepoint if you can justify the cost and customization required to make it work right in your firm.

Soapbox: Incremental Care > Acute Care

So moving on, I didn’t come across any cool or disconcerting apps this week to share, so i’ll get right to the soapbox to wrap up this week’s update.

Sometime in the next few days, I hope you’ll take about 20 to 25 minutes to read an essay in the New Yorker by Dr. Atul Gawande about incremental care, or primary care, and the differences and tradeoffs of that kind of physician interaction compared to acute care, or the interaction one might receive from a specialist.

Yes, there are some connections with health insurance and health insurance , but this essay helped me set aside my own political believes and consider what I want from my long-term healthcare interactions.

I’m one of the fortunate ones; my wife works for a big employer that offers a high deductible plan with subsidized premiums and very good coverage. I try not to loose sight of how much of a privilege it is not to have to worry each year about our family’s coverage. But that’s not true for millions of americans nationwide. And I’m sure many of your clients, especially your small business owners, spend a lot of time each year evaluating some very difficult choices around the coverage for their employees, as well as coverage for their own household. Many of you, as owners of independent RIAs, are in the same boat.

So that’s why this essay was a compelling read for me. It was worth 25 minutes of my time, and I hope you’ll find it’s worth your time, too.

I’ve linked to all of this week’s featured stories over on my website, so be sure to check them out over at

And that wraps up this week’s broadcast on the best in advisor technology and more. If you have something to say, or have a story you think should be featured in a future episode, please send me a tweet on Twitter, I’m @billwinterberg, or if you’re not already receiving my email newsletter, you can sign up at

Thank you so much for *reading*, I’m Bill Winterberg, see you next time.

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Balance Financial to shut down January 31, 2017

In an email to current users, Balance Financial, a personal financial management app acquired by TaxAct in 2013, announced it will shut down operations on January 31, 2017.

See the email announcement below:

Balance Financial shutdown email announcement sent to users

Balance Financial was an alternative to well-known personal financial management apps, or PFM, such as and Personal Capital that performed account aggregation to deliver a consolidated dashboard of a user’s financial accounts.

In the wake of Intuit’s decision to discontinue its Financial Data APIs, any PFM apps using Intuit’s aggregation had to migrate to other account aggregation options (See How Intuit’s account aggregation shutdown may impact the fintech solutions you use)

One provider, Guide Financial, shut down as a result of the change combined with other changes in its business model (See Guide Financial to shut down operations on October 11.)

I listed Balance Financial as a potential alternative for Guide Financial users, but quickly removed it since I had no success in connecting with the company for a statement regarding support for the application in the near future.

Alas, it seems that TaxACT is not interested in supporting Balance Financial beyond January 31, 2017.

I suspect that the number of advisors using the Balance Financial app is very low, likely below a dozen, so few are likely to be affected by the shutdown. What’s less clear is how many retail customers Balance has and what alternatives they find offer similar functionality and pricing to that of Balance.

Have any tips? Feel free to contact me.

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Tour the LPL Financial campus in Fort Mill, SC with Victor Fetter

In a follow up to our first stop on FPPad Tech Tour, we reconnected with LPL CIO Victor Fetter to tour the finished Carolinas campus complex in Fort Mill, SC.

Fetter gives us an overview of the spaces created to encourage collaboration and innovation, all in support of the tens of thousands of financial advisors who work with LPL Financial.

(Click here to watch the tour on YouTube)

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 16, 2016

On today’s broadcast, Schwab announces its Schwab Intelligent Advisory services, Finicity raises $42 million for account aggregation, Envestnet|Tamarac rolls out Yodlee, and more.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by eMoney Advisor, featuring a new Client Onboarding process as a part of their leading client experience. Onboarding replaces printed fact-finding documents with an automated, digital workflow, allowing clients to populate their own personal financial information online from anywhere — adding an extra layer of convenience and efficiency to your service.

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For more information on eMoney’s Client Onboarding tool, visit today.

Here are the links to this week’s top stories:

Schwab Announces Schwab Intelligent Advisory™ from Charles Schwab

[Now the big story this week is news from Charles Schwab, as the largest custodian for RIAs announced plans to introduce Schwab Intelligent Advisory™ in the first half of 2017. In the press release, Schwab’s Neesha Hathi said that Schwab Intelligent Advisory is designed for emerging or mass affluent investors who don’t have complex financial situations, features access to CFP® professionals who are available by phone and videoconference, and charges fees of just 28 basis points (disclaimer!) with a maximum of $3,600 a year.

Now this isn’t as much of a technology story as it is a marketing story, because the technology for Schwab Intelligent Advisory portfolio management is that same that powers Schwab Intelligent Portfolios for retail investors and Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ that you can use in your own RIA if you custody assets with Schwab.

But, how does that make you feel knowing you’re using the same technology that your custodian will use to offer its own human-assisted advisory services to mass affluent clients?

So I was asked if I thought RIAs should be concerned about this announcement, and I said yes, RIAs should absolutely be concerned. Look, when it comes to getting a prospect to buy what you do, most of the time it’s not what you say, it’s what people hear, and I’ve gotta admit, prospects are hearing comprehensive plans by CFP® professionals with 24/7 access, all for 28 basis points (disclaimer!)? Unless your prospects hear something far more different and compelling from you, I just can’t believe they’ll be willing to pay more than three times the price of Schwab Intelligent Advisory for your services.

And I’m not ignoring Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services, which also employs hundreds of CFP® professionals and charges 30 basis points (thank you!), with more than $40 billion on the platform and growing. A few of you have told me that you’ve lost clients to Vanguard’s service, which is also likely going to happen with Schwab Intelligent Advisory, but the difference with Vanguard is that they’re not also soliciting your custody business while simultaneously soliciting mass affluent clients.

But the executives at Schwab surely know what they’re doing, and I think they know their target RIA client pretty well, which I suspect largely enforces client account minimums of a million dollars or more, so Schwab Intelligent Advisory really isn’t a competitive threat, because it’s not intended for the high-net worth clientele targeted by the largest RIAs that generally choose to custody with Schwab.] Charles Schwab today announced plans to expand its suite of wealth management and advisory services with the launch of Schwab Intelligent Advisory, a hybrid advisory service that combines live credentialed professionals and algorithm driven technology to make financial and investment planning more accessible to consumers.

Finicity Secures $42 Million in Funding to Accelerate New Solution Development from Finicity

[Now one of the things not mentioned about Schwab Intelligent Advisory is account aggregation, which is the focus of my next two stories, starting with Finicity, as the company announced it secured $42 million in a new funding round led by Experian.

This is the first time I’ve mentioned Finicity in my broadcast, but I have a popular post on FPPad from March of this year when Intuit announced it was shutting down their Financial Data API and selected Finicity to offer façade APIs to developers who needed to transition off of Intuit’s aggregation.

In the wake of that change, Guide Financial, which was acquired by John Hancock in the summer of 2015, shut down back in October, but other than that I haven’t heard of other significant disruptions among other tech providers.

What remains to be seen is whether or not Finicity makes an attempt to offer aggregation services to advisers, either directly or by partnering with existing technology providers, so if you have some intel you can share with me, I’d appreciate the heads up, otherwise advisers can continue to engage aggregation providers such as Morningstar ByAllAccounts, Aqumulate, eMoney, Quovo Wealth Access, and Envestnet|Yodlee.] Finicity, a leading provider of real-time financial data aggregation and insights, has secured $42 million in new funding. Experian, a global innovator in consumer and business credit reporting, led Finicity’s Series B round, along with a venture debt facility provided by Bridge Bank and participation from existing investors.

Tamarac Incorporates Yodlee’s Data Aggregation into Advisor Xi® from PRNewswire

[And speaking of Envestnet|Yodlee, my last story highlights the rollout of Envestnet|Yodlee to the Envestnet|Tamarac platform. While at the Schwab IMPACT conference in October, I had a chance to connect with Brandon Rembe to get a quick update on what this new feature means for advisors.

I’ve linked the full interview over here and in the description below, but let me just finish by saying that technology like account aggregation is still a bit of a differentiator for you, since it helps you know as much as you can about your client’s total financial picture, and not just what clients have at one custodian, such as, ohhh, Charles Schwab, which is a complete coincidence.] Envestnet | Tamarac now enables advisors to add assets and liabilities to households in Advisor View™, helping them expand their focus and deliver more holistic advice to clients.

A few parting words:

Before I sign off, you need to know that I have some big plans in the works for FPPad content in 2017. I’m not going to go into the details right now, but what you will notice is that this broadcast, the almost-weekly videos, will be taking a bit of a hiatus for a few months.

But don’t worry, I’ll still be providing my independent insight on financial technology that thousands of you count on as you navigate what I feel is an exciting, unprecedented opportunity in the business of financial advice.

So connect with me anytime on Twitter, I’m @billwinterberg, or sign up for my email newsletter at

Here are the stories that didn’t make this week’s broadcast:

Scottrade® Advisor Services Clearing Paths for Advisors with New Tech Agreements from Scottrade

Scottrade® Advisor Services now has agreements with two leading industry solutions providers to help RIAs run their day-to-day routines. Scottrade signed agreements with Morningstar, Inc. and Orion Advisor Services, LLC to offer their services at a discount.

Yahoo Says 1 Billion User Accounts Were Hacked from NY Times

Yahoo, already reeling from its September disclosure that 500 million user accounts had been hacked in 2014, disclosed Wednesday that a different attack in 2013 compromised more than 1 billion accounts.

A Note From Chris O’Neill about Evernote’s Privacy Policy from Evernote

We recently announced an update to Evernote’s privacy policy that we communicated poorly, and it resulted in some understandable confusion. We’ve heard your concerns, and we apologize for any angst we may have caused.

Introducing Asset Classes from Riskalyze

Advisors have been asking for better ways to visualize portfolio allocations, and we’re excited to announce today that we’re rolling out Asset Class coverage for all portfolios in Riskalyze!

Personal Capital Adds $1.5 Billion in AUM and Closes $100 Million in Financing in 2016 from PRNewswire

Personal Capital, the leading digital and professional advisor based wealth management firm, today announced that IGM Financial Inc. has completed the firm’s Series E round. Additionally, Silicon Valley Bank has extended $25 million in credit to the firm.

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 16, 2016

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 16, 2016

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 2, 2016

On today’s broadcast, Vanare becomes AdvisorEngine after a $20 million dollar investment, RightCaptial gets a favorable review, and Addepar opens up about the capabilities of its technology.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(WatchFPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by eMoney Advisor, the leading provider of digital wealth management solutions. eMoney just introduced two new Advanced Analytics products: Advisor Analytics Pro, offering advisors and support staff deeper business insights, and Office Analytics, offering never-before-seen firm-wide insights.

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Featuring a customizable Analytics dashboard, an expansive library of new and interactive data charts, and more, eMoney’s Advanced Analytics solutions will help you put your data to work and uncover more opportunities. For more information the eMoney Analytics solutions, visit

Here are the links to this week’s top stories:

Vanare gets $20M in funding from WisdomTree, and rebrands itself from Financial Planning

[First up is news from Advisor Engine, which you may recognize under the company’s former name of Vanare. The name change was carried out as WisdomTree, the exchange-traded fund sponsor and asset manager, announced a $20 million dollar investment in Advisor Engine for 36% equity in the company.

This investment is the latest example of ETF issuers getting in the automated investment service space, but remember, BlackRock acquired FutureAdvisor, Invesco acquired Jemstep, yet WisdomTree chose to make a minority equity investment. I’m just not exactly sure why they didn’t acquire the whole business, but then again, I’m not the one that has to cut a check for $50 million dollars.

So let me connect some dots. All of the automated investment services are putting downward pricing pressure on asset allocation and periodic rebalancing. So in general, margins for traditional portfolio management are being compressed. You can either add value elsewhere, or look for ways to save on operational costs for your business.

AdvisorEngine’s new capital means it likely won’t shut down anytime soon, AND, the company recently added support for custody services at Apex Clearing, which could be a potential way you reduce your operational expenses AND allow you to pass some of those savings directly to your clients, all from a white-labeled solution.

For me, that’s why this transaction is an interesting one to keep an eye on.] WisdomTree is providing [Vanare] with an injection of funds in a bid to better position itself for industrywide changes wrought by new technologies and stiffer regulations, according to CEO Jonathan Steinberg.

Is RightCapital the right fit? from Financial Planning

[Next up is news about RightCapital, as Financial Planning magazine columnist Joel Bruckenstein reviewed the financial planning software and offered his take of where it fits in the marketplace. One of the distinctive features RightCapital offers is the ability to generate simulated tax forms so you can actually see how decisions on deductions, distributions, and taxable withdrawals will impact a client’s personal tax return.

Also, just because RightCapital has a fresh and modern UI doesn’t mean it’s a solution only for younger clients. RightCapital’s robust modeling of asset withdrawal strategies was highlighted in the review, allowing clients to simulate the best withdrawal strategies when factoring in Social Security and tax-deferred tax-free retirement accounts.

Of course, there’s much more to the review, but overall, RightCapital gets recommended as a more-than-adequate application for the mass affluent market. A 14-day free trial is available so you can evaluate the solution for your clients’ needs.] The middle ground in financial planning software is exactly the niche that RightCapital is targeting, according to co-founder Shuang Chen.

Addepar’s strategy: Focus on HNW, arm advisers with digital tools from Financial Planning

[But, if your business serves high net-worth households, this week’s final story on Addepar should be worth taking note. The investment management technology company appears to be opening up a bit more about exactly what it is they do.

In an interview with SourceMedia managing editor Suleman Din, Addepar’s CEO Eric Poirier described how much of the high net-worth marketplace has been historically addressed by custom Excel spreadsheets.

When clients start identifying assets like their limited partnership interests, equity investments, venture capital, and so on, most off-the-shelf solutions just aren’t compatible with the esoteric properties of these assets. But that’s been Addepar’s focus for five years, according to Poirier.

That kind of development sets Addepar apart as the Ferrari of the investment management technology space and is appropriate for households that require that kind of horsepower, and while that power certainly scales down to more traditional accounts with stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds, I suspect you’ll find it’s a bit overkill in capabilities and price if your business primarily serves the needs of mass affluent households.] While other fintech startups claimed they would disrupt the wealth management industry, Addepar has taken the tack that it can make it better.

Here are stories that didn’t make this week’s broadcast:

Future ready: Seismic moves for digital wealth management from Financial Planning

A close examination of the [2016 FP Tech Survey] data reveals other interesting trends, including which broker-dealers, custodians and third-party tech providers seem to be the best at meeting advisers’ needs, where advisers can get a good return on tech investment and how the next generation of advisers approaches tech.

Digital advice expects big growth from banks from Financial Planning

Digital advice as an industry will take off once it is built into retail banking, capitalizing on an investor segment ignored by wealth managers, says SigFig CEO Mike Sha. That’s why, announcing his firm’s newest partnership with Citizens Bank, Sha predicts his platform will reach half of all U.S. households by next year.


Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 2, 2016

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 2, 2016

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2016 Black Friday deals for video creators

I’ve aggregated the best Black Friday deals I could find on audio and video gear you can use to create online content for your business.

Check out the list below, and if you find any great deals I haven’t listed, leave a link in the comments below or send me a tweet to @billwinterberg.

NOTE: Links to products on Amazon are my affiliate links, so I earn 4 to 6% if you use the links to purchase. Also, links to online sites may not reflect Black Friday pricing until Thursday or Friday, so check back often if the prices don’t yet match the prices I cite in this post.

Last updated November 26, 2016 at 9:51 AM

GoPro Hero 5 Black/Hero 4 Silver

gopro-hero-5-blackTarget has the GoPro Hero 5 Black (view the Target Black Friday ad) for the regular price of $399, but for Black Friday the purchase comes with a $60 Target gift card.

For an even better deal, Sam’s Club has a GoPro Hero 4 Silver bundle at $199 (view Sam’s Club Black Friday ad) with a dual charger, extra battery, and a 16GB microSD memory card. That’s a great deal for a more-than-adequate GoPro, since the Hero 4 Silver is what I use for my own action shots. Amazon has the Hero 4 Silver for $278 with no accessories and Walmart has it for 293!

Canon EOS Rebel T5i/T6i

t6i-250Best Buy has the Canon EOS Rebel T6i bundle for $699, (view the Best Buy ad) which includes an 18-55mm lens, a Rode VIDEOMIC GO and a 32GB SD memory card. Why do you want the T6i? Because it has a flip-out LCD screen, so you can view the screen when you are filming while holding the camera towards you (aka “selfie” mode).

The Best Buy T6i bundle is a much better deal than Target’s sale of just the camera and lens for $649. That Rode VIDEOMIC GO and memory card are worth more than $50!

Amazon has last year’s Canon EOS Rebel T5i version available with a “Video Creator Kit” for $649 that includes a Rode VIDEOMIC GO and a 32GB SD memory card. The bundle also includes extra batteries and a carrying bag. For just $50 more on the Best Buy bundle, you’ll step up in sensor quality (see below) but give up a battery and a carrying bag.

The biggest difference between the T6i and T5i is the sensor, with the T6i featuring 24.2 megapixels and the T5i at 18 megapixels. Honestly, if you’re uploading video you shoot in 1080 HD to YouTube, you’re probably not going to see a noticeable difference between the two. But if you plan on using the camera for filming in front of a green screen, you’ll want to go with the bigger sensor of the T6i (with the caveat that perhaps a completely other camera is in order for green screen work with a full-frame sensor, lower compression, and on and on, but that will cost thousands of dollars).

Both the T6i and the T5i come with the standard 18-55mm lens, which is fine to first get to know how to use the camera, but you’ll likely want to purchase a wide angle lens (like this Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 for $449) that works with this camera.

Mevo by livestream

You can get the Mevo bundle from livestream this week for $549 which includes the camera, Mevo Boost external battery and network adapter, and a carrying case.

If you don’t know how you could use the Mevo in your business, watch the video below I made at the livestream booth the 2016 NAB Show.

Apple MacBook

My 13″ MacBook Pro is a workhorse, supporting real-time video editing and uploading while on the road. For Black Friday, Best Buy has select MacBooks up to $200 off, so check their website and see if any of their deals are ones you can’t pass up.

LED Lighting

The Fotodiox Black Friday deals were only available on Friday, so I’ve removed the links to the LED lighting that was on sale.


Best Buy has this Sunpak TravelLite Pro 63″ tripod for $49 this week (view the Best Buy ad). While not as high quality as a MeFOTO or Manfrotto collapsible tripod, the Sunpak doesn’t come with the $200 price tag.

Speaking of Manfrotto, they have Black Friday specials including the BeFree One tripod for $99 (a great deal while supplies last, but I didn’t see any inventory when I checked Thursday at 9:35 AM) and $100 off select carbon fiber tripods.

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