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FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 31

What a wild week! Schwab announces its “free” (except for ETFs expense ratios) online automated investment solution, and then Wealthfront and Personal Capital proceed to secure a combined $114 million in additional venture capital. While I originally titled this update as It’s now a robo-eat-robo world, I’m sticking with the conventional FPPad Bits and Bytes update.

FPPad Quick Hits

  • Schwab introduces its ultra-low cost, dare I say “free,” Schwab Intelligent Portfolios online platform; investors only pay underlying ETF expenses
  • Wealthfront raises $64 million for a total of $129 million in venture capital, AUM is now $1.4 billion
  • Personal Capital raises $50 million of its own for a total of $104.3 million in venture capital
  • FINRA says it’s hiring a “handful” of people with cybersecurity expertise, so hopefully the new auditors will know a thing or two about holes in broker-dealer security

Schwab to offer free ‘robo-advice’ from Reuters

[Let me pose a few questions: Will Schwab's ultra low cost investment service lure customers away from startups like Wealthfront, Betterment, Future Advisor, and others who charge anywhere between 15 and 40 basis points for automated investment management? Will investors pay a premium for modern web design and mobile app access to their investment portfolios? Schwab's Intelligent Portfolio website looks really bad compared with ones published by the startups. It's Hal, only with a blue eye instead of red. Because the color blue conveys trust, correct? Then, Is Schwab's brand recognition significant enough to influence the "buying" decision of investors shopping around for low-cost investment services?] Charles Schwab Corp confirmed on Monday that it will introduce free automated investment plans picked by computer algorithms in the first quarter of 2015.

Wealthfront CEO Adam Nash explains his plans for that $100 million pile of cash from Pando.com

[Wealthfront has now raised $129 million in venture capital with its latest round of $64 million. Here are some more questions: Does anyone outside of Wealthfront know what they're going to do with $100 million? From reading most coverage, I think the answer is no. Look, VC investors certainly want an exit from Wealthfront (and from all of their investments), and despite what Adam Nash says in this article about independence, Nash should expect some pressure from his investors should the company fail to meet expectations over the next several years. Nash cites independence from Wall Street. Ok. But Wall Street doesn't care about Wealthfront because Wealthfront isn't stealing any of Wall Street's customers (yet). Wealthfront is till squarely focused on the Silicon Valley-startup-entrepreneuer-Millennial population and has yet to strongly deviate from that target market. At least, that is, until that market is saturated and loses momentum.] Wealthfront is rolling in cash. The company announced this morning that it raised $64 million in a Series D round led by Spark Capital. The funding follows closely on the heels of the company’s $35 million Series C in April of this year, a pool of capital that it has yet to even touch, and means that it now has more than $100 million in cash in its war chest.

Personal Capital Adds $50 Million As Digital Financial Management Bulks Up from TechCrunch.com

[Personal Capital is NOT a low-cost online investment service. It's a startup that closely resembles the business model of a traditional RIA, but one that has built an impressive array of technology tools. Chief executive Bill Harris keeps stressing that the company is delivering digital wealth management, and the company does employ somewhere around 100 human advisers in Denver and Redwood City. Chances are, Personal Capital is not very different from most large RIAs managing around $1 billion, but they're able to attract outside capital to support growth. One difference is that their technology is all built in-house, while I suspect the majority of your technology comes from your custodian or third-party software providers.] In the latest news, Personal Capital, a provider of electronically enabled wealth management services, said it has raised $50 million in a new round of financing.

Wall Street watchdog to bolster reviews of brokerage cyber security from Reuters

[Wait, so the people FINRA is sending TODAY to audit the security of broker-dealer firms AREN'T experts in technology? Better late than never to announce they're going to hire a "handful" of examiners with technology expertise to look for security holes. But expect the SEC to do the same, as your exams are going to dive much deeper into the software, hardware, and security policies in place at your firm.] Wall Street’s industry funded watchdog plans to intensify its scrutiny of cyber security practices at brokerage firms in 2015 and is hiring technology savvy examiners to help boost its efforts, an official said on Wednesday.

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 24

On today’s broadcast, Microsoft discloses a zero-day vulnerability that affects nearly all Windows operating systems. See what you need to do right now to protect your systems from attack. inStream inks a partnership with BAM Advisor Services. Learn why this could be a big deal for the startup wealth management software provider. And, cyber attacks scare even the most security-conscious advisors. Find out about a new assessment service that can help defend your business from online attacks.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by ITEGRIA, providers of complete outsourced technology support, security, infrastructure and IT solutions exclusively for RIAs.

itegria - providing a 360-degree, comprehensive approach to financial advisor IT needs

In their new book titled Red Flags, you’ll learn how to protect your firm from cyber-attacks, disasters, and IT compliance risks. Learn more about the Red Flags book by visiting fppad.com/itegria.

Before I get to the links to this week’s top stories, first answer this live poll:

Now on to this week’s top stories:

What you need to know about new zero day that hits most supported Windows versions from PCWorld.com, and

(Install) Microsoft security advisory: Vulnerability in Microsoft OLE could allow remote code execution: October 21, 2014 from Microsoft TechNet

[This week’s top story involves the hot topic of cybersecurity, as Microsoft disclosed a scary vulnerability in nearly every version of Windows on the market. So if you’re watching on a Windows machine, you need to pay attention. Mac users, you can go top off your Halloween candy.

Ok, so the vulnerability allows attackers to exploit Microsoft’s Object Linking and Embedding technology, better known as OLE, by sending you a Microsoft Office file with malicious code inside. If you open document, the attacker can gain access to your account’s rights and permissions and can remotely execute code on your computer. The potential for damage isn’t that great if your account has limited permissions, but if your account has administrative rights, then really bad things can happen. Pretty scary, huh? (scream)

So here’s what you need to do right now: first, remind everyone in your business once again never to open suspicious Microsoft Office documents, especially PowerPoint files, that are attached to dubious emails.

Then, to patch this vulnerability, head over to fppad.com/145 to find the link to Microsoft’s Security Advisory that contains the instructions on how to get the update. Now would also be a good time to make sure you’re current on all of your Windows updates.] Microsoft issued a security advisory this week with details of a zero day vulnerability that affects every supported version of the Windows operating system with the exception of Windows Server 2003.

Buckingham Asset Management & BAM Advisor Services announces selection of inStream wealth management technology platform from Yahoo Finance

[Ok Mac users, you can come back now, because next up is a story from Buckingham Asset Management and BAM Advisor Services, as the joint companies announced the selection of inStream as its wealth management platform for their 370 affiliated advisors.

You have to go way back my episodes in January for news on inStream, when the company announced that it would switch from a free plan to one that costs roughly $2,400 a year to use. But under the new strategic partnership, advisors who are part of the BAM Alliance will have full access to the inStream platform for no additional cost.

This is a big deal for inStream, as Buckingham Asset Management and BAM Advisor Services collectively manage or administer over $23 billion in assets, making them one of the largest RIAs in the country. So you might want to raise inStream a little bit higher on your radar, as I expect you will be hearing more from the company regarding new partnerships and financial planning functionality.] Buckingham Asset Management/BAM Advisor Services, one of the country’s largest independent wealth management enterprises, has chosen the inStream planning-centric wealth management software platform to serve the more than 370 advisors representing the more than 140 client firms in its network.

Investment Technology Partners Begins Offering Cybersecurity Assessments to Independent RIAs from PRWeb

[And finally, cybersecurity raises its ugly head once again to finish this week’s episode, but this time the news comes from Investment Technology Partners, a cloud IT provider to RIAs. Earlier this week, ITP announced it is now offering IT infrastructure assessments to RIAs to identify ways you can proactively build up your defenses against online attacks.

ITP’s assessment consists of a pre-visit questionnaire, an onsite inspection, and a post-visit follow-up, all in an effort to help you update your policies and procedures to address cybersecurity risks. Back in episode 129, I told you about the SEC’s new cybersecurity initiative and potential for increased enforcement around this area, so if you’ve been sitting on your hands since then, let this serve as another reminder that you now have a variety of providers you can engage to navigate you through this challenging landscape. In addition to ITP, popular cybersecurity audit providers include Itegria, Envision RIA, External IT, True North Networks, Right Size Solutions, and more.] Investment Technology Partners, an outsourced cloud IT provider focused in the Independent Registered Investment Advisory marketplace has begun conducting IT infrastructure assessments for RIA firms who have engaged them be sure their firms can positively respond to the an SEC audit looking into cybersecurity policies.

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

http://online.wsj.com/articles/td-ameritrade-offers-robo-technology-to-advisers-1414013725 from WSJ.com

TD Ameritrade Offers Robo Technology to Advisers from WSJ.com

TD Ameritrade AMTD +0.39% is making robo technology available to the 4,000 independent registered investment advisers who use its custody and trade clearing services. The technology is coming from a fledgling San Francisco firm, Upside Financial LLC, and is in the final stages of being added on to the Omaha, Neb.-based brokerage firm’s systems that are used by independent advisers to manage client money.

United Capital Picks Up $320M California RIA from WealthManagement.com

A strategic partnership between United Capital and the founders of financial planning tool FlexScore led  United Capital acquiring a Modesto-based firm with $320 million in assets.

Inbox from GMail: The inbox that works for you

Built on everything we learned from Gmail, Inbox is a fresh start that goes beyond email to help you get back to what matters. 

Junxure Enhances Its Cloud CRM from ThinkAdvisor

Junxure has released an enhancement to Junxure Cloud, the first major upgrade to the cloud-based CRM program used by RIA firms and broker-dealer reps since its launch this summer.

Encryption: What Advisors Need to Know from Financial Planning

Encrypt sensitive information, planners are routinely warned by security experts. Many states even require it. But there’s also confusion out there among advisors about the nuts and bolts of encryption.

Erado Announces Expanded Partnership with Investacorp from Digital Journal

Erado, an innovator in electronic communication compliance, announced today that it has expanded its partnership with Investacorp, Inc., to include Erado’s email archiving and all-encompassing social media compliance platform.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 24, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 24, 2014

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 17

On today’s broadcast, Betterment Institutional releases its online investment solution for advisors. Will the industry rush to adopt this new digital solution for emerging clients? The SEC admits it doesn’t know where its laptops are. Could you be at risk of making the same mistakes committed by this industry watchdog? And, hackers claim to have stolen millions of passwords from Dropbox. Find out what you should be doing right now to protect the information you store online.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Wealthbox CRM: Simple, social, and collaborative CRM for financial advisors.

Wealthbox-Amber620

If you’re considering switching your CRM, connect with Amber from Team Wealthbox to get a personal demo at Wealthbox.com.

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

Robo advisor Betterment works with Fidelity in RIA push from CNBC

[This week’s top story highlights Betterment Institutional, who this week announced the official release of an advisor-friendly version of its popular direct-to-consumer service that currently manages over $600 million in customer assets.

No doubt influenced by the guidance and financial investments from Steve Lockshin and Marty Bicknell, Betterment Institutional allows advisors to white label the Betterment platform and offer it to all clients for a cost of 25 basis points per year. Advisors can charge an additional fee if they so choose.

In addition, Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services announced that the company will include Betterment Institutional among a list of practice management resources it offers to advisors. But the use of Betterment Institutional is not exclusive to Fidelity, so whatever your custodial affiliation is today, you can begin to use Betterment Institutional if you’re seeking a low-cost automated investment solution for your emerging clients.

Betterment Institutional joins Upside Advisor, Guide Financial, JemStep and a few others as an advisor-friendly automated investment solution, and you’ll want to stay tuned for news following the Schwab IMPACT conference, as details on that custodian’s much anticipated free investment platform should be made public.] If you can’t beat the robots, join them. That’s what Betterment—the ultra-low cost, computer-driven personal portfolio service—hopes financial professionals will do with its new institutionally focused “robo-advisor” offering.

Missing SEC laptops risk release of nonpublic information, inspector says from Marketwatch

[Next up is an embarrassing revelation from the Securities and Exchange Commission, as the industry watchdog admitted that somewhere between 24 and 202 laptops were unaccounted for, opening up the risk that private, nonpublic information could be exposed. Is this when I should do a forehead slap?

Alright, so the SEC has its own data security issues to deal with, but I want to take a moment to challenge you about how you’re keeping your business and client information safe. Do you use full disk encryption on the laptops you use for work? You should.

Windows 8.1 Pro and Enterprise offers BitLocker drive encryption for free, and if you use Mac, FileVault 2 disk encryption is built right in to the operating system. All you need to do is turn the feature on and protect your laptop with a strong login password.

And don’t forget about your mobile devices. Every device you use should be protected with a login passcode, the longer the better, and in most cases, requiring a passcode automatically enables device encryption.] The inspector-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a report that there’s at least 24 and as many as 202 laptops that are not accounted for, which risks the release of sensitive, nonpublic information.

Dropbox says it wasn’t hacked. But that doesn’t help users whose information was leaked from The Washington Post

[And finally, Dropbox made headlines this week as reports circulated that hackers claimed to have accessed over 7 million usernames and passwords to the popular online file storage service. Dropbox insists that its systems were not hacked, but rather the login credentials were obtained from unrelated companies and services.

Once again, it’s critical that you follow good online account protection practices: Use a unique password for each website, activate multi-factor authentication where possible, and consider managing login credentials in a reputable password management service like LastPass, 1Password, Meldium, and more.] Dropbox was the latest company under the gun on security, when a link on reddit surfaced a claim that hackers have nearly 7 million usernames — plus their passwords — from the storage service on Monday.

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

Canva Launches iPad App to Bring Amazingly Simple Design to Your Fingertips at Canva.com

We’re very excited to today announce the launch of the Canva app for iPad.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 17, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 17, 2014

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Betterment Institutional launches for financial advisers

Betterment InstitutionalBetterment gives financial advisers access to its popular low-cost, automated online investment solution

FPPad Quick Take:

  • Financial advisers can now offer Betterment Institutional as a white-labeled low-cost online investment service to emerging clients.
  • Betterment Institutional charges 25 basis points a year, advisers can charge an additional fee if they wish
  • Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services will list Betterment Institutional as a practice management solution in its list of resources for advisers

Betterment, a popular automated online investment service, today announced the expansion of its technology for use by financial advisers and an inclusion among Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services practice management solutions.

Betterment for Advisers

Betterment Institutional is an expansion of the startup’s popular online investment service built for retail investors. As of June
10, 2014, Betterment reported $613,372,319 in assets under management in its regulatory filings.

According to Nick Gavronsky, product manager for Betterment, the company’s new offering allows financial advisers to white label the Betterment Institutional offering and brand it for their own business. Advisers using Betterment Institutional will receive a website hosted by Betterment that investors can use to create accounts, view statements and engage with an adviser.

Initially, end clients using Betterment Institutional will use the company’s Android and iOS mobile apps as they exist today, but adviser-branded apps are anticipated to be phased in as the offering matures, Gavronsky said.

Low Cost Investments

Betterment Institutional will allow financial advisers to set their own fee schedule for clients who choose to use the service. Betterment collects an annual fee of 25 basis points (0.25%) from accounts on the Institutional platform, and any additional fees above that amount are paid to the adviser.

Just as with the retail Betterment offering, accounts are held by Betterment LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Adviser, and securities transactions are cleared through Apex Clearing Corporation.

Custom Models Welcome

Investors using Betterment’s retail offering are familiar with the standard asset allocation models the company’s algorithms select for clients based on their answers to a risk tolerance questionnaire.

Betterment Institutional offers the same investment allocation models to financial adviser clients, but the company also permits advisers to create their own custom models.

Again, the same technology that powers the default models in Betterment’s retail platform is available to custom investment models created by advisers, Gavronsky said in an interview.

In addition, investors who have $50,000 or more managed with Betterment Institutional have access to the same Tax Loss Harvesting+™ feature found on the retail Betterment platform. Tax Loss Harvesting+™ is an automated, daily account rebalancing feature.

Fidelity Touts Practice Management

Also noteworthy in the Betterment Institutional announcement is the recognition that Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, providing custody services to nearly 3,000 RIAs, now includes Betterment Institutional as one of the practice management solutions Institutional Wealth Services offers to its RIA clients and prospects, according to Erica Birke, vice president of communications and corporate affairs for Fidelity Institutional.

“Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services and Betterment share an interest in helping advisors realize that digital advice should not be perceived as a threat, but rather an opportunity to evolve their engagement models to better attract new business segments, particularly the emerging affluent, a segment that many advisory firms have historically under-served or not served at all,” wrote Birke in an email.

Fidelity does not have exclusivity over the Betterment Institutional offering to advisers; any adviser is free to engage Betterment Institutional as he or she wishes.

Financial Adviser Value

Betterment Institutional joins Upside Advisor and Guide Financial in an effort to provide a low-cost automated investment solution to  financial advisers.

Upside Advisor recently made headlines by powering Liftoff, the low-cost investment solutions offered by high profile New York RIA Ritholtz Wealth Management. Liftoff offers a similar model portfolio management service for an annual fee of 40 basis points (0.40%).

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 10

On today’s broadcast, Schwab and Google drop hints about their online investment services. See how this crowded market is about to become a little bit more cozy. Digital estate planning for your clients is becoming more important than ever. Find out which new solution will help your clients plan for their digital assets. And, Bob Veres gets me fired up about the use of social media in your business. You’ve been warned, prepare for a storm off!

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Envestnet | Tamarac, the provider of Tamarac Advisor Xi, a web-based portfolio and client management platform that uniquely integrates portfolio management, reporting, monitoring, rebalancing, and trading with a client portal and enterprise level CRM.

Tamarac620

Find out more about Advisor Xi and download their latest white paper on best practices for technology evaluation and implementation by visiting fppad.com/tamarac

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

Exclusive: Schwab ready to unveil free ‘robo-broker’ service from Reuters, and

Google study heightens fund industry peers from Financial Times (subscription required) or Google Looks to Enter Financial Industry from NBC Bay Area, or Google will likely re-invent the industry rather than play in the existing sandbox from Valuewalk

[This week’s top story covers *two more* announcements in the online investment algorithm space. You did watch last week’s episode, didn’t you? So first up is Charles Schwab who, according to a Reuters article, is developing its own automated investing service for use by you, the financial advisor, to attract emerging clients with a low-cost solution. How low cost you ask? Rumors indicate the service will be free, not including the four to 19 basis points charged by Schwab’s ETFs used in the platform.

And on the heels of Schwab’s news, Google hinted that the company is exploring its own entry into the investment management business. Financial Times first reported that Google commissioned a research report back in September on entering the asset management industry, which trigged a wave of industry speculation that gained a lot of momentum this week.

So let’s take a step back for a moment. Schwab has over 7 million investor accounts with over $1trillion in assets under management and Google has over one billion users across their various online services and mobile devices.

Collectively, the online investment providers have somewhere around $3 billion in assets under management (that’s 3 tenths of a percent of Schwab!) and less than 100,000 users (that’s one one-hundredth of a percent of Google!). Are the disruptors about to be disrupted? I don’t know, you tell me, and it all depends on whom you ask.] Charles Schwab Corp. is weeks away from introducing an automated investing service aimed at winning business from novice investors it does not currently serve, company officials told Reuters.

Estate Assist Wants To Provide Estate Planning For The Social Media Age from TechCrunch

[Next up is an announcement of a new service called Estate Assist, an online safe deposit box, if you will, that stores information about digital assets and shares that information with trusted recipients after a user passes away.

Identifying and managing your clients’ digital assets is probably not a part of your current service model, partly because there really haven’t been any decent solutions out there you can use that are better than using plain old spreadsheets. But with the introduction of Estate Assist, I think it’s time you consider including digital asset management services. Look at my YouTube channel or my email newsletter as an example: if I got hit by a bus <pause>, how will my spouse and beneficiaries access these assets?

In addition to Estate Assist, I think you should look into similar services from PrincipledHeart.com, created by CFP® practitioner William Bisset, as well the data inheritance feature from SecureSafe.] Estate Assist, launches out of beta today. Its aim is to help you store all your online passwords, social media accounts, digital health records, bank info and other paperwork.

The Five Biggest Ways Your Practice Needs to Change from Advisor Perspectives

[And finally, this week’s episode wraps up with industry commentary from Bob Veres, as he identifies the biggest ways your business needs to change in a recent Advisor Perspectives column. Now Veres says “pundits and journalists” say you need to make radical transformations, but they don’t give you any specifics. I hope he’s not talking about me, because I try to load these broadcasts you’re watching with tons of resources you should have on your radar. But I digress.

Veres mentions a number of what he calls “genuine evolutionary trends” which are all enlightening in their own way, but buried down at the bottom of his column, he says he suspects that “social media is going to be the least productive in terms of generating business for your firm.”

Really? Now to his credit, Veres says you should play to your strengths, and if social media isn’t one of them, it’s ok.

Well, I think that attitude was valid 20 years ago before it was possible to find out just about anything about anyone online using a quick Google search.

Just look at this broadcast. Complete strangers are watching it, they’re getting consistent value from it, and if they meet me in person at a conference, they say they feel like they already know me. So to say it’s the “least productive” way to generate business.. that’s it, I’m done.] Pundits and journalists make their living telling you that our profession is in a period of rapid evolutionary transition, and exhort you to be open to radical transformation. What you don’t hear in these messages are the specifics.

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

Watch all of the videos from Finovate Fall 2014 presentations

Mobile Dossier Startup Refresh Finds A Revenue Model With Its Salesforce App from TechCrunch

Refresh, the mobile tool for making you smarter at meetings, is now positioning itself to help sales teams be smarter about their clients and potential clients. To do that, the company has created a new product for Salesforce’s AppExchange that will allow users to access detailed information about the people in their professional network.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 10, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 10, 2014

 

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 3

On today’s broadcast, Upside Advisor teams up with a high-profile RIA. Will this partnership do anything to slow the growth of the $(!#-advisers? Redtail CRM previews the new version of its popular CRM. Will the design and feature changes be enough to attract advisors that are using aging systems? And, broker-dealers aren’t turning a blind eye to technology. Find out which firms are investing heavily to boost the efficiency of their representatives.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Wealthbox CRM. Version 1.6 is now available featuring automated workflows, templates for routine processes, and progress updates all on one screen!

Wealthbox CRM

Sign up for a free trial of Wealthbox today by visiting fppad.com/wealthbox

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

Upside Powers Ritholtz Wealth Management’s New Digital Offering, Called Liftoff from Upside Advisor

[First up this week is an announcement from Ritholtz Wealth Management, the New York RIA headed by The Big Picture blogger Barry Ritholtz and Josh Brown, aka The Reformed Broker, who released a new web-based offering to emerging clients called Liftoff. Liftoff is a white-labeled version of the $(!#-adviser solution, uh, ok, online investment solution from Upside Advisor, which I introduced to you back in episode 136.

For around 40 basis points, Liftoff provides automated asset allocation recommendations to clients who want to get started with investing, but don’t yet have enough assets to qualify for a one-on-one relationship with Ritholtz’s advisors. Upside Advisor is just the latest $(!#-adviser, oh, right, online investment provider to join this space, as they’re going up against competing solutions like Wealthfront, Personal Capital, Betterment, Learnvest, Guide Financial, JemStep, Orion Discover; I can’t keep them all straight!

So today you’re faced with a choice: will you sit on the sidelines to see how these low-cost automated solutions play out, or will you partner with a low-cost provider to offer an investment solution for your emerging clients?] Upside, a technology company providing a digital advisor platform to investment advisors, today announced a new partnership with Ritholtz Wealth Management (RWM).

Tech Review: Redtail’s New Edition from Financial Planning

[Next up is a review of Redtail CRM and its third major product update to its software called Project Tailwag. In his October column for Financial Planning magazine, Joel Bruckenstein gives a very favorable review of the redesign and feature enhancements to the industry’s most widely used CRM.

Users will soon have access to a clean, flat design that’s easier to use, and it’s also responsive, as it adjusts to screens of any size from desktops to smartphones. Contact records feature a timeline of client interactions, and important details like contact information and activities and workflows are just a single click away.

Whether you use Redtail CRM or an alternative solution such as Junxure, Salesforce, Wealthbox, and others, these are the types of features and functionality you’re going to need if you expect to cultivate meaningful relationships with clients and differentiate yourself from the $(!#-advisers, uh, I mean, online investment providers.] Redtail Technology just released a major upgrade to its popular CRM application. Dubbed Project Tailwag, this version of Redtail — only the third upgrade in the company’s 12-year history — offers a host of new enhancements.

Racing Ahead from Financial Advisor

[And finally, Joel Bruckenstien once again wraps up this week’s top stories with a technology update from the nation’s leading broker-dealers firms. In his column for Financial Advisor magazine, Bruckenstein highlights LPL Financial’s announcement of ClientWorks, the successor to the existing BranchNet platform that I covered in episode 137, an updated portfolio reporting solution and Client Center dashboard from Raymond James, updates to Commonwealth Financial Network’s Client Household 360 Dashboard and Practice360 business dashboard, and the AIG Advisor Group’s pending release of a mobile version of Salesforce and with integrated Salesforce work flows.

Clearly these broker-dealer firms are investing heavily in technology to boost the capabilities of their representatives, especially as they face increasing competition from all of the $(!#-adviser, ugh, online solutions out there.] The pace of technological innovation has never been greater. Independent broker-dealer firms continue to invest to keep up with the competition, offering advisors and end clients a better experience.

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

Risk Tool Smackdown: FinaMetrica vs. Riskalyze from Financial Planning

I tested myself using two of the more popular risk tolerance instruments: Riskalyze and FinaMetrica.

Smarsh Introduces Enhanced Archiving Support for Instagram from BusinessWire

Smarsh®, the leading provider of hosted archiving solutions for compliance and e-discovery, today announced the Smarsh Archiving Platform now offers enhanced support for Instagram.

Personal Capital integrates Zillow home estimates from Personal Capital

For those of you with property, Personal Capital has come out with a great new feature that will help you keep track of your real estate investments with Zillow.

 

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 3, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 3, 2014

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for September 26

On today’s broadcast, financial innovation takes center stage at Finovate Fall 2014. Find out which startups are building tools to improve your business. Advicent Solutions announces its acquisition of Figlo. Will this popular planning solution from Europe receive similar adoption in the US? And, I get a personal tour of Fidelity’s Office of the Future. Find out which technology you should have if you want to become the “anywhere advisor.”

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by ITEGRIA, providers of complete outsourced technology support, security, infrastructure and IT solutions exclusively for RIAs.

itegria - providing a 360-degree, comprehensive approach to financial advisor IT needs

In their new book titled Red Flags, you’ll learn how to protect your firm from cyber-attacks, disasters, and IT compliance risks. Learn more about the Red Flags book by visiting fppad.com/itegria.

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

Finovate Fall 2014: The Biggest Innovations in FinTech from Finovate

[This week’s top story highlights Finovate Fall 2014, the semi-annual gathering of many of the top startup companies in financial services. Finovate presenters cover a wide range of technology from mobile payments and automated investing to login security and financial literacy, so I’ve narrowed things down to the solutions that have the potential to help your business.

In no particular order, first up is My Virtual StrongBox with an updated version of its secure online file storage and sharing solution. Their competition for your business includes alternatives like Box and Sharefile for your document collaboration needs.

Next is Flexscore, which announced a new FlexScore Mobile financial profile scoring platform. Now with any mobile device, your clients can view their personal FlexScore, compare it with their peer group, and follow FlexScore’s recommend Action Steps to improve their score, which is a novel application of gamification techniques to financial advice.

Also showing potential is iQuantifi, a previous Finovate Best of Show winner, which is aggressively positioning itself as a virtual financial advisor solution. iQuantifi announced a new feature called "Cashfinder" to automatically recommend ways to reduce client expenses, and another one called "What if" that allows clients to tweak financial goals and view their effects in real time.

And the last company of note is bloom, which received one of this year’s Best of Show awards for its 401(k assessment and recommendation platform. bloom connects to client 401(k) accounts and evaluates its health using an image of a flower. Reducing risk or diversifying allocations leads to a healthier flower, which one again is an interesting and subtle play on gamification to get clients to take action on their financial future.]

On September 23 & 24, Finovate returns to NYC with FinovateFall, our flagship two-day showcase of the latest and greatest financial and banking technology innovations from leading established companies and hot young startups.

Advicent Solutions Acquires Figlo from Advicent

[Next up is news from Advicent Solutions, which announced its acquisition of Figlo, a financial planning software provider based in the Netherlands.

Figlo made a splash waaaay back in February 2011 at the T3 Conference in Florida when it demoed its software that had a very fresh and appealing user interface, but the company just didn’t gain all that much traction among advisors in the United States.

Now with the Advicent Solutions acquisition taking place, you should expect Figlo to benefit from Advicent’s marketshare with its NaviPlan and Advisor Briefcase solutions, and perhaps see the introduction of more compelling and user-friendly ways to deliver financial planning advice to clients.] In a deal that will further cement its position as the leading provider of financial consultancy and planning software solutions for banks, insurers and financial consultants, Advicent Solutions announced today its acquisition of Figlo.

Exclusive tour of Fidelity Institutional’s Office of the Future from FPPad

[And finally, several months ago in episode 129 I told you about Fidelity Institutional’s Office of the Future that the company created in its Smithfield, RI campus. I recently had the opportunity to tour the Office of the Future in person and was given a guided tour by Ed O’Brien, Head of Platform Technology for Fidelity Institutional.

The Office of the Future is divided into four distinct environments focusing on the diverse needs of today’s technology-empowered advisors: the briefing room, the “anywhere adviser” zone, the collaborative office, and the home environment.]

Fidelity Institutional’s Office of the Future shows how an adviser’s future office may not be a physical office at all.

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

Interactive Advisory Software Announces Data and Performance Validation, Client Billing and Reporting Services

Interactive Advisory Software (IAS) recently announced the launch of their new line of service offerings for new and existing advisors.  This marks the firm’s first major step toward a fully developed service bureau, in addition to their flagship fully-integrated technology platform.  Data and Investment Performance Validation, Client Investment Performance Reporting, and Account Billing are the first additions to the technology firm’s custom advisory services.

Actua to Acquire FolioDynamix, a Cloud-Based Wealth Management Technology Platform

Actua Corporation, formerly ICG Group (NASDAQ: ACTA), today announced that it has reached agreement to acquire FolioDynamix, a leading, secure, cloud-based investment and wealth management platform.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for September 26, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for September 26, 2014

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Exclusive tour of Fidelity Institutional’s Office of the Future

Fidelity Institutional’s Office of the Future shows how an adviser’s future office may not be a physical office at all

Recently I was invited to tour Fidelity Institutional’s Office of the Future, the company’s bold statement on where it believes the adviser’s future workplace is headed.

Irony notwithstanding, Fidelity Institutional’s Office of the Future does, in fact, occupy a physical space in the company’s Smithfield, RI campus located about an hour’s drive south of its Boston, Mass. headquarters.

Ed O’Brien, head of platform technology for Fidelity Institutional, gave me a personal tour of the Office of the Future to highlight tools and technology advisers can use to invest in their own progressive workplace. A virtual Office of the Future tour is available on Fidelity’s website at https://fidelityinstitutional.fidelity.com/fi/campaigns/office-of-future/fidelity.html

The Office of the Future is segmented into four distinct areas, each highlighting specific concepts and tools in technology that advisers can deploy in their office: the briefing room, the “anywhere adviser” zone, the collaborative office, and the home environment.

Briefing Room

OOTF1

In the briefing room, advisers will find large, HD displays connected to a virtual conferencing system. Advisers can use HD video conferencing to create an interactive bridge with colleagues in remote offices, back office support at the home office, or even with clients (but more on that in the home environment).

In addition, the briefing room is not filled with large, encroaching conference tables. Instead, advisers will find an inviting circle of chairs surrounding a large Lenovo Horizon II 27-Inch All-in-One Touchscreen Desktop where they can sit on the same side of the table with clients and begin to navigate through documents, reports, and other on-screen information in an engaging, dynamic setting.

“Anywhere Advisor” Zone

OOTF2

Fidelity’s O’Brien understands that the adviser no longer does 100% of his or her work in the physical office, and has the need to be productive no matter where his or her travels may lead. So Fidelity’s second room is nicknamed the “anywhere advisor” zone, where advisers can try technology that supports productivity while away from the traditional office.

O’Brien demonstrated the presentation apps on tablet devices that synchronize annotations and markup to any virtual meeting attendee, a Celluon EPIC Virtual Keyboard for the ability to type on any flat surface, a Pebble Steel Smart Watch to view notifications and incoming call information without taking one’s phone out of a pocket or handbag, and the arguably controversial Google Glass.

Collaborative Office

OOTF3

In the collaborative office, O’Brien is quick to point out that there are no physical servers supporting the devices in the office. Instead, the collaborative office features three different styles of workstations, from the low-cost tablet and virtual desktop configuration up to the fully-loaded multiple monitor and HD video conferencing equipment from Cisco.

In addition, the collaborative office features a green screen backdrop that advisers can use to create their own video content for clients and prospects, and use the video to add their own background images, graphics, and other information to make compelling content for their audience (much like I do with my own FPPad Bits and Bytes broadcasts).

The Home Environment

OOTF4

Finally, the last stop on the Office of the Future tour is the home environment, where O’Brien says more and more of the adviser-client interactions will take place.

Clients are increasingly seeking convenient options to work with financial advisers, and that includes the ability to chat and engage with an adviser from the comfort of their own living room.

Video chat services like Skype, Google Hangouts, and Apple FaceTime allow clients to have productive, meaningful conversations with their adviser, without dealing with the hassles of driving to an adviser’s office or even identifying advisor they want to work with that happens to have an office near their home.  Using this technology, clients are free to work with an adviser anywhere in the United States and conduct those meetings at times convenient to them.

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for September 19

On today’s broadcast, developers from the top technology providers assemble for a hackathon in Utah. Find out which innovations have the potential to work their way into your business. Advent announces a number of updates at its AdventConnect conference. Which one will help make your portfolio management more efficient? And, the SEC wants to see your cybersecurity policy. Find out which provider is offering a customized plan specific to your firm’s technology.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by the 2014 T3 Enterprise Conference, exclusively designed for the technology needs of broker-dealers and financial enterprises.

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Time is running out to register and book your hotel room if you want to be in the best place to monitor trends in broker-dealer technology. Reserve your spot today by visiting t3enterpriseconference.com

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

Announcing the Fuse 2014 award winners from FPPad.com

[This week’s top story comes from Orion Advisor Services, which assembled one of the industry's first “hackahon” events in Park City, Utah last week called Fuse 2014. Building on a developer retreat originally conceived by Redtail Technology’s Brian McLaughlin a few years ago, Orion assembled over 50 developers and industry heavyweights from fifteen of the top advisor technology providers.

So what’s the purpose of this Fuse hackathon event? Gather talented developers together in the same room, tell them about advisor frustrations, and let them build solutions in less than 48 hours.

Top awards presented at the end of Fuse 2014 event include Gladstone’s business intelligence and valuation tool, AdvisoryWorld’s analytics integration directly into Orion’s client portal, and Orion Advisor Services’ latest mobile app for use by both clients and financial advisors.] Here is the complete list of Fuse 2014 award winners. More details are available on Twitter under the #FuseUtah hashtag and the FPPad YouTube channel.

Advent Announces Next Generation of the Black Diamond Wealth Management Platform: Designed to Elevate the Investor Experience and Enhance Firm Level Productivity from MarketWired, and

Peter Hess delivers Advent Direct specifics at Advent Connect as Dave Welling wows with Black Diamond’s cloud advance from RIABiz

[Next up is a review of AdventConnect 2014, Advent Software’s annual client conference held in Las Vegas last week. The company made a number of announcements at its event, so here are the ones most relevant to financial advisor technology.

First, Advent’s Black Diamond platform continues to mature, as the next generation, which some are calling Black Diamond 4.0, received new enhancements to its data mining capabilities, which advisors can now use to generate business intelligence reports on how their business is performing.

Also, Black Diamond is delivering a brand new experience to investors through a completely redesigned, mobile responsive, online portal. The updated portal can be customized for each client, will include a secure document vault, and offers a secure messaging system for investor and advisor collaboration. Black Diamond said the new investor portal will be available sometime in early 2015.

And Advent provided an update of its Advent Direct® Community, which I covered last year in episode 107. The community now features over 10,000 registered users who have used the platform to discuss over 700 topics posted by advisors, asset managers, hedge fund managers, and more. It’s kind of reminds me of a private LinkedIn Group on steroids.

But if you want to see an example of the latest updates to Black Diamond, you’re going to have to head over to Advent Software’s website and give up your email address to view a product demo.] Advent Software, Inc. today at its annual client conference in Las Vegas, NV shared a preview of the next generation of its Black Diamond wealth management platform, which marks a major step in its evolution from a pioneer of cloud-based portfolio management and reporting technology to a full-featured wealth management platform.

SEC’s Cybersecurity Initiative: Technology and Policies Must Line Up from PRNewswire

[And finally, this week’s episode ends with yet another discussion of cybersecurity and the importance of keeping sensitive data from being leaked on the Internet. You can’t get enough of that video, can you? So to boost advisors’ cybersecurity defenses, Right Size Solutions, a hosted technology service provider, teamed up with Stark & Stark, a law firm and legal consultant to RIAs, to create a written Cybersecurity Policy that can be customized for advisors who use the technology offered by Right Size Solutions.

The written policy and procedures detail what the RIA is prepared to do in the event a cybersecurity attack is encountered, and the document also contains information on security policies and standard practices established by Right Size Solutions.

Whether you use Right Size Solutions or any other hosted technology provider for your business, you need to maintain this kind of information, periodically test it, and demonstrate what you do when the SEC comes to examine your firm.] Registered Investment Advisors who fail to produce a written cybersecurity policy may find themselves with a deficiency noted during their routine examination process based on new review guidelines from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE).

Here are the stories that didn’t make the broadcast:

Redtail Technology and Morningstar Work Together to Simplify Advisor Practice through Redtail’s Enhanced CRM User Interface from Morningstar.com

Redtail Technology, a leading provider of client relationship management (CRM) software, and Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, are working together to simplify an advisor’s practice by providing seamless access to Morningstar’s proprietary research and analytics directly within a new Redtail user interface that will launch in the fourth quarter.

Finance Logix Widgets Now Available in Redtail CRM from PRWeb

Finance Logix, a leading financial planning and client engagement platform, and Redtail Technology, an industry leading CRM for advisors, announced today the integration of Finance Logix’s innovative Widgets into the core Redtail CRM system.

Junxure Announces Several Major Initiatives at Sold Out Advisor Conference from PRNewswire

Junxure, the RIA industry’s leading CRM and office management technology platform, will announce today at its second annual Advisor Conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas, NV, several major initiatives and results that show a growing momentum in the financial advisory industry.

Cyber breaches rare among U.S. state-registered investment advisers -study from Reuters

Cyber security breaches are rare among investment advisory firms registered with U.S. states, but improvements to technology and procedures could still bolster protection of client information, state securities regulators said on Wednesday.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for September 19, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for September 19, 2014

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Announcing the Fuse 2014 award winners

Fuse 2014

I’ve had a busy weekend attending the inaugural Fuse 2014 event in Park City, Utah, also known as one of the first organized hackathon events for advisor-facing technology providers.

In the interest of time, here is the complete list of Fuse 2014 award winners. More details are available on Twitter under the #FuseUtah hashtag and the FPPad YouTube channel.

Best use of the Orion API: Advisory World

Best custodian integration: Cleverdome

Best use of portfolio accounting data: FinanceLogix

Best end-client experience: Orion Advisor Services

Best financial planning integration: FinanceLogix

Best research and analytics integration: AdvisoryWorld

Best document storage integration: Cleverdome

Best workflow application: Orion Discover / Riskalyze / Laser App Software

Best efficiency integration: Sagacious / Orchestrate

Best use of CRM data: ActiFi

Best application of business intelligence: Gladstone

 

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