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FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 26

On today’s broadcast, Schwab releases Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ into the advisor marketplace, Advent rolls out a new advisor experience for Black Diamond, and TD Ameritrade Institutional assembles dozens of vendors in Chicago to help you move your business forward.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(WatchFPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Autopilot, the only automated asset management platform built on the power of the Risk Number™.

Autopilot powered by CLS Investments and Riskalyze

Powered by CLS Investments and Riskalyze, Autopilot empowers advisors to revolutionize their business model, profitably service clients of all sizes, and democratize access to investment advice with a client service platform embedded directly in your firm’s existing website. Sign up for a demo today by visiting fppad.com/autopilot.

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

Schwab Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ from Schwab.com,

Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ ETF List: Evaluation and Selection from Schwab.com, and

Schwab Wealth Investment Advisory, Inc. Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ Disclosure Brochure from Schwab.com

[This week’s top story comes from Schwab Advisor Services, as the company officially rolled out its Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ solution to advisors that was first mentioned back in episode 158, which I will try to link right over here. One change of note is that Schwab increased the number of available ETFs to more than 450 from the original 200 announced back in March, but the platform fees remain unchanged.

So I looked into the disclosure materials and uncovered a few items that I think you should know. First, anytime a new client signs up, you, the advisor, are required to make a final decision to select a portfolio strategy for that client. Until you make that decision, your clients’ cash will be held in the sweep program.

Second, accounts over $50,000 are eligible for tax-loss harvesting, but hold on, you, the advisor, must use the software built in to Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ to activate and implement the tax-loss harvesting strategy.

And third, at any time, clients can authorize you, the advisor, to suspend trading due to “market conditions” and then reactivate trading “when the Advisor decides it is appropriate to do so.”

So I don’t know about you, but this sounds like Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ doesn’t really streamline any of your portfolio management activities, it may actually increase your workload a bit, which is ironic given the automated focus of the program. It’s definitely not a set-and-forget automated solution, and for this added workload in your business you’ll earn how much in new revenue? That’s what I thought.

And before I forget, Schwab says that the system “will not monitor the type and amount of capital gains” so you’ll have to manage that information in a separate solution, say Schwab Advisor Portfolio Connect or perhaps PortfolioCenter, if you want to report on the gains and losses in each client account. Oh, one more thing, as of today, the mobile app isn’t yet ready.

But to be fair, this is version 1.0 of the solution for advisor, so if anyone is listening out there, maybe you can get Schwab to acknowledge these opportunities to make Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ an attractive technology solution for your business.]

Advent Debuts the All-New Black Diamond Wealth Platform for Advisors and Wealth Managers at AdventConnect 2015 from Advent.com

[Next up is news from Advent, as the company held AdventConnect, it’s annual advisor conference in Las Vegas last week. The company used the event to showcase the next generation Black Diamond® wealth platform, which was being called “BD3” during internal development.

Gone from the Black Diamond name are the Performance Reporting label and the old widgets and BlueSky titles, which is now being replaced by the wealth platform description that represents the radical refresh of the advisor experience.

The main advisor dashboard now uses tiles that you can customize based on the information you want at a glance, portfolio performance graphs are much more streamlined, report pages contain relevant portfolio data without being overly crowded and busy, and a presentation mode is now built in to give you a way to walk through reports while redacting confidential client data.

Advent also announced a new initiative called Black Diamond Link, which adds “bi-directional, workflow-oriented integrations” with a variety of third party technology providers, including MoneyGuidePro, AdvisoryWord, XLR8, Junxure Cloud, Advisors Assistant, and Redtail Technology.] On the heels of last year’s unveiling and this year’s rollout of the new Black Diamond® investor experience, Advent today showcased its next generation Black Diamond® wealth platform. The next generation platform which has been dubbed “BD3” by clients and the development team, as it represents the third generation of the Black Diamond® platform, has been a multi-month effort to redesign and reinvent Black Diamond® to go beyond its roots in performance reporting.

Technology Innovators Get High Marks for Maximizing Integrations for Independent Registered Investment Advisors from MarketWatch

[If integrations with best-in-breed solutions sounds familiar, that’s because TD Ameritrade Institutional offers a similar platform under Veo Open Access, Schwab Advisor Services offers OpenView Gateway, and Pershing announced its own API store just a few weeks ago.

And for custodian-agnostic integration providers, Orion Advisor Services has been offering integrations to their advisors for several years. Full disclosure, you should watch my first vlog about Orion. So Advent, welcome to the club!

Now speaking of integrations, I’m going to wrap up with news from TD Ameritrade Institutional, as the company held its 6th annual technology summit in Chicago this week for Veo Open Access integrated solution providers. The number of solution providers now stands at 91 representing over $300 billion in assets advised across all of the technology solutions.

I’m running out of time for this broadcast, and I made a vlog about my trip to the Tech Summit in Chicago, so just watch the vlog and you’ll be up to speed on how this custodian is helping advisors like you take their business to the next level.] To help independent registered investment advisors (“RIAs”) keep pace in an era of accelerating technology change, TD Ameritrade Institutional1 has pursued a unique strategy of collaboration, harnessing the innovative and cutting-edge work of an entire community of technology leaders through its Veo Open Access vendor network.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 26, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 26, 2015

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FPPad vlog 003: TD Ameritrade Institutional 2015 tech summit

In vlog 003, I flew to Chicago to attend the TD Ameritrade Institutional 2015 tech summit.

Every year TD Ameritrade Institutional hosts a tech summit for vendors who are part of the Veo® Open Access ecosystem.

Get an exclusive look inside at what goes on at this summit and how TD Ameritrade Institutional works with integrated solution providers to help advisors build better businesses with technology.

I’d love to hear your questions and comments, too. Add them below or send me a tweet to @billwinterberg.

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FPPad vlog 002: The future of wealth management

In vlog 002, I flew to New York to attend an event focused on the future of wealth management. Don’t be too surprised by what you see an hear in this recap of my 36-hour experience in the Big Apple.

I’d love to hear your questions and comments, too. Add them below or send me a tweet to @billwinterberg.

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 12

On today’s broadcast, Pershing partners with a new company for your digital advice delivery needs, Wealth Access continues its growth in the PFM space, and find out how open source code called Wealthbot could pose a serious challenge to automated investment services.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(WatchFPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

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

Pershing Implements Multi-faceted Digital Enablement Strategy to Help Advisors Embrace the Digital Revolution from Pershing, and

Pershing Introduces Managed360™ to Help Advisors Efficiently Grow Their Managed Accounts Business from Pershing

Marstone Digital Wealth on the web

[Let’s jump right in to this week’s top story with a recap of the Pershing INSITE conference held in Orlando last week, as one of the top institutional custodians for advisors made several technology-related announcements. First up is news of a partnership to allow advisors to offer their own white-labeled online investment service which will be powered by a company called Marstone.

Now if the name Marstone doesn’t ring a bell, don’t worry, because it’s only the second time I’ve even heard of them after a chance encounter I had with company executives at the IBM World of Watson event last month. In fact, the company is so new that their latest Form ADV disclosure shows assets of just $15,500 held in two clients accounts. That’s right, two accounts.

Now the few screenshots available from the Marstone website show a reasonably attractive interface, but with a retail investor offering that’s still in beta and an advisor solution that has yet to roll out, it’s just too early for me to say whether or not Marstone is going to gain wide adoption among advisors, especially when there are more seasoned competitors out there like Jemstep, Betterment Institutional, Oranj and more.

But, Marstone will be the first of several anticipated solutions that will integrate with Pershing’s NetX360 platform for advisors as well as the NetXInvestor solution for end clients.

Pershing also announced a new managed account solution called Managed360 that will leverage investment strategies and managed portfolio offerings from Lockwood Advisors, which also happens to be an affiliate of Pershing. Also coming in the future is a Pershing API store which is a catalog of APIs along the lines of the TD Ameritrade Institutional Veo Open Access platform, allowing third-party providers to more easily integrate with the Pershing ecosystem.] At its INSITE™ 2015 conference, Pershing LLC, a BNY Mellon company, today announced a multi-faceted digital enablement strategy designed to revolutionize how advisors and investors work together in 2015 and beyond.

Wealth Access Hires 7 Veterans to Continue Growth from PRWeb

[Next up is news from Wealth Access, the Nashville-based provider of a personal financial dashboard for high net worth clients, as this week the company announced the growth of its business with seven new hires in the last few months, as well as a 350% year-over-year increase in total assets aggregated in the platform, a figure that now exceeds $20 billion.

You know that merger and acquisition activity in the personal financial management space this year has been on a tear, with Fidelity acquiring eMoney, Northwestern Mutual scooping up LearnVest, and John Hancock picking up Guide Financial, so Wealth Access is pretty much one of the last independent PFM platforms out there serving advisors that has no direct custodial or insurance company connection.
So like I’ve said in previous broadcasts, you would be wise to keep an eye on this company.] Wealth Access, an innovative high net worth personal financial management platform for advisors, announced growing momentum in the adoption of the Wealth Access technology solution by advisors, with record year over year growth and the hiring of seven senior technology and financial services veterans.

Wealthbot.io from GitHub

[And finally, wrapping up the week is an interesting discovery I made on the Internet called Wealthbot. Now stick with me on this one. Wealthbot is open source code published on the GitHub repository that can be used to create your own wealth management platform.

Not satisfied with the commercial wealth management solutions available today? That’s right, you can now build your own robo advisor, I mean, automated investment service. Now developers should get excited about the possibilities here, but advisors using Wealthbot directly? Well, that’s probably not going to happen without significant help from programmers.

But here’s the thing: online services like Wealthfront, Betterment, Future Advisor, even Schwab Intelligent Portfolios have attracted huge amounts of attention and venture capital for their software-based investment algorithms. So what happens to the value of those companies when code that mirrors their functionality is published on the Internet, for free?

Could Wealthbot be the next WordPress, OpenOffice, or Firefox of robo advisors? That, ladies and gentlemen, is why you’re watching FPPad Bits and Bytes.] Wealthbot.io makes it easy to launch a Wealth Management Platform. Build and customize your very own version of a robo-advisor.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 12, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 12, 2015

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Robo Advisors: What you pay versus what you receive

Robo Advisor: What you pay versus what you receive

Robo Advisor: What you pay versus what you receive

Low fees are good, just remember not to shortchange yourself on the services you receive.

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Robo advisor is a perfect moniker and here’s why

tl;dr: Algorithms are incapable of giving financial advice, so the oxymoron “robo advisor” is a perfect moniker. Know what you’re getting (and not getting) from automated investment services.

“I am tired of the whole robo thing,” says Motif Investing CEO Hardeep Walia.

Personal Capital CEO Bill Harris bemoans, “We are not a robo advisor.”

Wealthfront CEO Adam Nash retorts, “New tech doesn’t always fit neatly into a bucket.”

Cry Me a Robo River

To the automated investment services, I say,

“Boo hoo.”

NOW these services are beginning to experience how it feels when others, right or wrong, control the conversation about their business.

Most journalists, reporters, TV anchors, correspondents, bloggers and more don’t really know what makes any of the automated investment services different from one another, so most simply package them up into one catch-all term “robo advisor.”

Let’s face it: “robo-advisor” makes for great click bait. If it didn’t work (and generate clicks and eyeballs), editors and producers would stop using it. (You clicked to land here, didn’t you?)

But please, asking everyone to stop using “robo advisor” because it misrepresents what you do or somehow marginalizes your service in some way?

I submit to you Exhibits A and B.

“You don’t need that guy,” gloats Wealthfront’s ad.

Sure, because most financial professionals out there are just glorified psychics, spiritualists, or stock market prognosticators whose only tool for financial advice is a crystal ball!

Please.

The financial services industry has seen this marginalization long before automated investment services arrived.

Living In Glass Houses

The fiduciary financial professionals should be just as upset about this gross characterization of fortune tellers as the automated investment service providers are about the term “robo advisor.” (people who live in glass houses…)

“Stop comparing us to fortune tellers!”

“We are not personal psychic advisors!”

Perhaps Wealthfront paints with too broad a brush. Ok, so here’s Exhibit C:

Wealthfront: Don't Pay For Expensive Financial Advisors

Wealthfront: Don’t Pay For Expensive Financial Advisors

See? “Don’t pay for expensive financial advisors.”

Why not?

Because Wealthfront is the end-all-be-all service that investors need? Because Wealthfront does the exact same thing all fiduciary financial advisors do? Because all your financial needs are met by Wealthfront’s software?

Ask a Question 100 Times…

Go ahead, go to any automated investment service website right now. Wealthfront. Betterment. Future Advisor. Even the anti-“robo-advisor” Personal Capital. (*read my note below)

Fill out their questionnaire. Complete a free “Investment Checkup.”

What is the answer you get?

The answer from ANY of these services is ALWAYS to invest.

ALWAYS.

There is no Plan B, no backup option, no alternate strategy.

There’s no, “You really should first pay off your high interest credit card balances.”

No, “You should save up an emergency fund where you can access the money quickly.”

No, “You should create a will and advance medical directives first in case something were to happen to you.”

But ask automated investment services a question 100 times, “What should I do with my money?” and the answer is always going to be the same:

Invest in a diversified portfolio of low cost ETFs.

It’s the only answer these services have. There’s nothing else.

It’s not financial advice. It’s not wealth advice.

It’s barely investment advice.

It’s an investment recommendation. The output of a calculator.

Sophisticated or not, automated investment services are ALWAYS going to recommend investing your money.

There simply is no other result to offer. The algorithms today are incapable of suggesting anything but investing.

So Why Robo Advisor?

So why robo advisor as a moniker?

Because it is a oxymoron, a name that contradicts itself.

Algorithms, software programs, aka “robots” are incapable of making judgment calls and evaluating emotions or feelings in the calculation process.

Robots can’t give advice.

Robots can only decide based on ones and zeroes. True or false.

Sure, an algorithm’s answer can be associated with a level confidence (recall IBM’s Watson playing Jeopardy), but each discrete answer is associated with a level of confidence based off of a set of discrete factors evaluated in the calculation process.

An algorithm’s output is a result. Functions return arguments.

But don’t call that advice.

Know What You’re Getting

As with most decision-making processes, there’s often a big difference in what you can do and what you should do.

What is important to you? How does a decision make you feel? How do you prioritize your goals?

Can your entire life, your goals, your dreams, your aspirations be captured in a four question survey? A ten question survey? Even a hundred question survey?

For automated investment services to survey the market and say “Hey, we can improve investing outcomes by building a software program that does everything on the cheap!”

The questionnaire is only part of the advice process, it is not the start and finish.

And then there’s the talk of disruption, mainly coming from the media (I don’t recall any of the automated investment services specifically saying they intend “to disrupt” the financial services industry).

What industry are automated investment services attempting to disrupt, anyway?

Vanguard, the mutual fund giant, has been offering diversified, low-cost investment products and services quite successfully since the 1970s.

Just remember that the next time you consider the services of an automated investment service, know what you are getting.

Do your homework.

You are getting the results of a calculator.

The calculator is programmed to give an answer.

Not advice.

Not from a robot.

Don’t assume that the answer you get is the best answer for your situation.

Who you are as a person cannot be summed up in an online questionnaire.

 

*Note: Personal Capital toes the line on the robo advisor definition. Users complete the Investment Checkup and receive a target asset allocation illustration based on answers to the short questionnaire. However, specific mutual funds and ETFs are not recommended, so it’s not explicit. Users do get a basic automated investment allocation recommendation with no human intervention, but it’s up to the user to connect each recommended asset to a specific mutual fund or ETF to purchase. Users who want specific fund and ETF recommendations must engage Personal Capital for traditional investment advice rendered by human advisers and pay Personal Capital’s standard fees. This formal engagement is not robo advice.

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 5

On today’s broadcast, Guide Financial gets scooped up by an insurance company, Fox Financial Planning Network wants to help you with your online investment service adoption, and WealthMinder raises fresh capital to give you an edge over robo advisors.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(WatchFPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

This week’s episode of Bits and Bytes is brought to you by Total Rebalance Expert, the industry’s largest, privately owned portfolio rebalancing software provider.

trx 600

TRX now offers TRX Edge, a completely rewritten rebalancing platform optimized for the web as well as mobile devices. Sign up for a demo of TRX Edge by visiting http://fppad.com/trx

 

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

John Hancock Acquires Software Provider Guide Financial, Inc. As Part of Companywide Long-Term Innovation Plan from John Hancock

[This week’s top story comes from Guide Financial, because while I was enjoying clam chowder in a Boudin sourdough bowl in San Francisco, the company announced it was acquired by John Hancock, the life insurance, mutual fund, and retirement solution provider. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Now if you’re a regular viewer of FPPad Bits and Bytes, you should remember I highlighted Guide Financial in episode 124 when the company announced an agreement to white-label its solution for members of the Garrett Planning Network.

That was more than a year ago, and I’m told that the adoption of the white-labeled solution was below expectations. So fast forward to today on the heels of fintech acquisitions of eMoney Advisor, Upside, NestEgg Wealth, and LearnVest and you’ll quickly realize that industry behemoths like John Hancock are eager to cater to tech-savvy customers with slick, user friendly online experiences. Guide Financial is just one of the many online startups in this space building such a platform.

In the press release, John Hancock said that Guide Financial will operate as an independent group, so I can only speculate whether or not Guide Financial will remain independent or if some financial product upselling and/or cross marketing will weave its way into the solution. So stay tuned.] John Hancock announced today that it has acquired Guide Financial, Inc., a San Francisco-based software provider for financial advisors. Guide Financial builds software that enables investors to make better financial decisions and build wealth, utilizing artificial intelligence, behavioral finance, and seamless advisor integration. Terms were not disclosed.

Fox Financial Planning Network Launches AdvisorTouch Symphony from PRNewswire

[Next up is more news regarding online investment services, as the Fox Financial Planning Network recently announced a new program called AdvisorTouch Symphony. If you missed the news because you were out riding a cable car, AdvisorTouch Symphony is essentially a turnkey roadmap you can implement to add an online investment service to your business.

Under the program, you’ll receive step-by-step guidance on how to adopt these new tools, with Jemstep Advisor Pro being the first automated investment service of choice, and you can expect several other online services to be featured in the near future.

Pricing for firms with one to three advisors is a one-time fee of $5,500, and larger firms will be charged based on their size and need for customization.

This gets you the practice management resources, but this fee doesn’t include additional compliance guidance and resources available from National Regulatory Services, or the optional cybersecurity consulting from True North Networks which were both named in an alliance with AdvisorTouch Symphony. Whew! Got that?

So if you want someone else to show you how to add an online investment service to your business, this is one resource to be sure is on your radar.] Fox Financial Planning Network (FFPN) announced today the launch of AdvisorTouch Symphony, the only program of its kind to help financial advisory firms harness the power of combining robo-technology with practice management. FFPN created this program to demystify robo-technology for advisory firms and provide a detailed road map through every aspect of the implementation process to help firms maximize the benefits of its use.

This Reston startup raised $1.45M to bring financial advisers to the masses from BizJournals.com, and

Beyond the Robo-Advisor from Financial Advisor Magazine

[And finally, this week’s broadcast wraps up with news on WealthMinder, because while I was pillaging and plundering with pirates of the “you can’t say that on YouTube,” the company announced a new round of fundraising to the swashbuckling tune of $1.45 million.

WealthMinder is, surprise surprise, yet another while-labeled advisor solution for online service, only this one goes beyond basic asset allocation recommendations by incorporating goal planning. To get a deeper look at WealthMinder, coincidentally, Joel Bruckenstein reviewed WealthMinder in his column for Financial Advisor Magazine this month.

To cut to the chase, clients and prospects log in to WealthMinder and choose goals they’re planning for, they aggregate their investment accounts using an integration from Yodlee, and WealthMinder ultimately generates an initial financial plan based on some basic assumptions, and yes, the plan can include investment recommendations, too.

For you, the advisor, you can log in to your dashboard and view all the plans that clients have created, which includes their recommended actions, and then you can proactively offer your services to help clients implement the next steps. There are a reported 26 firms using the platform today, and the pricing to advisors comes in at $10 per month per client, but you can offset the cost by collecting a monthly subscription fee from clients who want to use the WealthMinder platform.] WealthMinder, a Reston-based financial marketplace that looks to connect financial advisers with people who aren’t considered wealthy, has secured $1.45 million in seed funding led by two West Coast venture capital firms — Green Visor Capital and Signatures Capital.

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

Morningstar to Add Portfolio Rebalancing Capability for Independent Financial Advisors, Powered by Total Rebalance Expert from Morningstar

Morningstar, Inc., a leading provider of independent investment research, is working with Total Rebalance Expert (TRX) to add rebalancing functionality to Morningstar Office, the company’s practice and portfolio management system for independent financial advisors.

Vestorly Announces the Integration of Its Smart Digital Content Technology on to Pershings NetX360® Platform from Marketwired

Vestorly today announced the integration of its smart digital content technology into Pershing’s NetX360® platform.

Tech Review: New Bet on Financial Health from Financial Planning

Consumers seem to be buying into the idea that these devices can help improve their physical health, so why not create similar mobile capabilities to track financial health?

 

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 5, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 5, 2015

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FPPad Vlog 001: Doesn’t consulting make you biased?

I’m experimenting with a vlog here on FPPad, where you can learn about the things I do to create content for FPPad, how I learn about new technology for financial advisers, and see what goes in to following the rapidly evolving landscape of technology in financial services.

In this first vlog, see what I do when I’m not in the studio filming FPPad Bits and Bytes. Plus, learn how my business makes money, who serves the best burger in Omaha, who is Steve Biermann, and how I separate consulting from reporting on technology providers.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse of life in FPPad.

I’d love to hear your questions and comments, too. Add them below or send me a tweet to @billwinterberg.

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 22

On today’s broadcast, Advicent rolls out Figlo to advisors in the United States, YCharts raises another $6 million to dethrone the industry’s dominant research terminal, and SEI rolls out a new program designed to streamline your internal workflow.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Croesus, the affordable all-in-one portfolio management & CRM software for RIAs. Over 9,500 investment professionals use the Croesus application to manage more than $700 billion in assets, and Croesus is offering a 50% discount on set-up fees for Advent Axys users until June 30th.

Croesus

To learn more about Croesus or to sign up for a free trial, visit fppad.com/croesus.

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

Advicent Unveils the Figlo™ Client Centric Planning Tool from Advicent, and

Advicent and Redtail Partner through Figlo™ Integration from Advicent

[This week’s top story comes from Advicent, as the company announced the official release of the Figlo™ interactive planning tool in the United States. You should recall that Advicent announced the acquisition of Netherlands-based Figlo back in September 2014 which I covered in episode 141, so they’ve wasted very little time to introduce the planning tool to advisors here in the U.S.

Figlo has nearly 20 years of history in the European marketplace and will bring a suite of features stateside that you should find compelling, especially if you strengthen your client relationships through comprehensive financial planning. So here’s what you can expect:

Figlo offers a prospecting and lead generation tool called Figlo Leads, the Figlo planning tool presents an interactive lifeline and goal gauge for plan illustrations, you can collaborate with clients using the client portal and secure document vault, and you can streamline client data entry through a new integration announced this week with Redtail CRM. The integration is a one-way connection with Redtail to start, but you can expect the data synchronization between the two programs to deepen over time.] Advicent Solutions, the leading provider of SaaS technology solutions for the financial services industry, announced the U.S. release of Figlo™, an interactive financial planning tool within its complete product offering for financial professionals. Advisors leveraging Figlo™ technology will have more opportunities for interactive, meaningful and impactful conversations with both prospects and clients.

YCharts Closes $6 Million Investment Round, Hires Morningstar’s Jeremy Diamond as Growth Accelerates from BusinessWire

[Next up is news from YCharts, as this week the provider of research and interactive charts announced series C funding to the tune of about $6 million, bringing its total funding to approximately $14.5 million. YCharts was founded in 2010 and positioned itself as an alternative to higher-priced research terminals, and in less than five years, the company is proving to be a very powerful and popular research tool for portfolio managers, wealth managers, and independent RIAs.

Back in episode 133, I told you about the new dashboard rolled out by YCharts, but at the time, research was limited to equities and ETFs. Fast forward to today, and YCharts now also offers extensive data on over 40,000 mutual funds. So once again, if detailed research and data plays a significant role in your investment process, you might find YCharts to be an attractive alternative to the high-end terminals so prevalent in the industry, but one that’s available at a fraction of the price.] Shawn Carpenter, co-founder and CEO of YCharts, the Financial Terminal of the Web, announced the closing of a C round of venture funding of about $6 million and the appointment of Jeremy Diamond as chief revenue officer of YCharts. These moves coincide with an acceleration of the company’s growth.

SEI’s ProcessWise Program Introduces New Workflows Designed to Maximize Advisor Efficiency and Productivity from MarketWatch

[And finally, rounding out this week’s broadcast is news from SEI, the turnkey asset management provider, that just released a new workflow program called SEI ProcessWise.

Once again, back in 2014 at the T3 conference, I covered SEI’s announcement of their partnership with Redtail CRM, MoneyGuidePro and ActiFi to develop an automated workflow solution for advisors. SEI ProcessWise is the first product of this partnership that is being rolled out to the roughly 6,100 advisors that work with SEI.

SEI ProcessWise provides 48 step-by-step workflow processes that address a variety of client service, account maintenance, and portfolio management activities, and for advisors who already use Redtail CRM in their business, SEI will preconfigure those workflows directly within Redtail to facilitate adoption. In addition to the workflow configurations, SEI is also including three months of training to help advisors implement the automated workflows into their business for a nominal cost.] As financial advisors look for new sources of productivity and efficiency, SEI announced today the launch of SEI ProcessWise, a comprehensive workflow program which streamlines client interactions, sales, marketing, and practice management tasks.

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

NFP Advisor Services Adopts Vestorly to Strengthen Advisors’ Digital Presence and Help Drive Business from PRNewswire

NFP Advisor Services, a leading independent broker-dealer, announced it will provide integrated access to the Vestorly solution to all affiliated financial advisors which includes over 1,400 registered representatives.

Finovate Spring 2015 Demo Archives from Finovate

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 22, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 22, 2015

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 15

On today’s broadcast, the SEC issues an alert about automated investment tools, see how Envestnet is ready to leverage its recent acquisition of Upside, and, find out which fintech buzzword has huge implications for your business.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Riskalyze, the company that invented the Risk Number™ and named as one of the world’s 10 most innovative companies in finance by Fast Company Magazine.

Riskalyze

Advisors use Riskalyze to show prospects they’re invested wrong and prove to clients they’re invested right. See how the Risk Number can grow your business today by visiting riskalyze.com/fppad to book a guided tour.

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

Investor Alert: Automated Investment Tools from the Securities and Exchange Commission

[This week’s top story comes from the Securities and Exchange Commission, as the industry regulator recently released an investor alert concerning automated investment tools, more commonly known as, well, you know where I’m going.

In its five-point alert, the SEC urges all investors to understand terms and conditions of any online service, know what the limits of automated tools are and assumptions that don’t apply to their situation (say, perhaps, tax illustrations for a married couple living in California who are in the highest tax bracket), be aware that when filling out questionnaires, garbage in equals garbage out, be careful not to assume goals are the same as a generic investment time horizons based on age, and to practice good security hygiene to protect financial accounts.

So how can you use this alert to make your business more appealing to prospective clients? At the very least, be as transparent as possible about your fees and your process. Next, focus on the ongoing relationships you have with clients, because the advice you provide doesn’t end the moment a client fills out a risk tolerance questionnaire.

And finally, emphasize the breadth of your services. Yes, prudent investing is important, but it’s critical to also factor in insurance needs, tax strategies, estate planning and so much more, all of which are areas largely untouched by automated investment tools. Let’s be absolutely clear, this is your value to your clients, and if you’re not broadcasting it at every opportunity you have, you’re in danger of failing to differentiate your business from the competition.] The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) are issuing this alert to provide investors with a general overview of automated investment tools.

Envestnet Driving Digital Advice Transformation from Envestnet.com

[Next up is more news from Envestnet in a follow up to the company’s summit held earlier this month in Chicago. Last week I covered Envestnet’s acquisition of Finance Logix, but this week the story is all about Envestnet’s new digital advice portal called Advisor Now™. So what is Advisor Now?

You start with the original Envestnet Advisor Suite™ for portfolio management, add in a serving of the Envestnet | Tamarac Advisor Xi platform for its CRM, portfolio rebalancing, and client portal features, mix in the online automated investment solution from Upside, blend them all together and out comes Advisor Now.

So clearly Envestnet is further positioning itself as a dominant custodian-agnostic all-in-one technology provider, and if you’re an existing Envestnet and/or Tamarac user, you’ll soon experience the benefits of Advisor Now as it gets updated according to the company’s 60-day release cycle.

But if your technology consists of integrations between separate best-of-breed solutions, I think you have some work ahead of you if your objective is to match the Advisor Now portal feature-for-feature.] Envestnet, Inc. announced that it will be launching Advisor Now™, a digital advice portal harnessing Envestnet’s core capabilities to help independent advisors demonstrate more value to clients and improve financial outcomes for investors.

Purge the Word ‘Frictionless’ from Banking from Bank Innovation, and

Hedgeable’s Robo Advisor 2.0 Platform Automates Risk Managed Investing,

Vanguard Debuts Diversification Visualizer,

and Trizic’s Accelerator Enables Financial Firms to Scale Investment Advice from Finovate.com

[And finally, I’ve was following the chatter on Twitter this week from the Finovate Spring 2015 conference in San Jose, and one of the buzzwords that lit up the #Finovate hashtag was “frictionless.” The majority of presenters, whether they were mobile payment solutions, peer-to-peer lending networks, or even crowdfunding services to pay off medical bills, focused on eliminating the friction in financial transactions.

In fact, “frictionless” was mentioned so much that one attendee said the word should be purged from the world of banking. But think about your business for a minute. How much friction do you create for your clients? How much paper are you pushing? Are you accessible by text and video chat in addition to phone calls and face-to-face meetings? Can clients access the information they want from a smartphone?

I think it’s time you look at your business from the client’s perspective and identify all the processes that generate friction. For each process, figure out how technology can streamline what you do and reduce the time and effort required to get something done. That sounds like a pretty useful activity for a Friday afternoon if you ask me.

Oh, and if you want to know which three companies from Finovate are worthy of attention on my radar, they are Hedgeable, for their online investment service featuring active management and alternatives, Vanguard, for their clever 3D graphs of diversification illustrations, and Trizic, yet another online investment service that can be white labeled by financial advisors.] It’s time to relegate the phrase ‘frictionless’ to the FinTech trashbin.

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

Beyond E-Signatures from Financial Advisor Magazine

As someone who has been a proponent of the paperless office for many, many years, I often feel a sense of frustration at the number of paper-driven activities still prevalent in our industry.

How Well Does Your Firm Virtually Serve Your Clients? from ThinkAdvisor

Advisors need to make sure their technology offerings are in line with their clients’ expectations

Watch Bits and Bytes for May 15, 2015

Watch Bits and Bytes for May 15, 2015

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