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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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FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 8

On today’s broadcast, IBM flexes its cognitive computing muscles at a World of Watson event, Finance Logix gets acquired by Envestnet, and Vanguard deploys Personal Advisor Services to the masses.

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:

IBM World of Watson and what the future holds for financial advisers from FPPad.com

Visit QuidPick1, and SparkCognition online.

[This week’s top story comes from IBM, as the company held a two-day conclave in New York to introduce the IBM Watson Developer Cloud. I attended the event to look for ways cognitive computing from IBM Watson can enhance the financial services industry, so here’s what I found.

First, a company called Quid, which is using Watson to ingest millions of documents to index them based on information around stocks and portfolios. Something like this can significantly streamline your portfolio research workflow. And another company is Pick1, which uses IBM Watson to segment and analyze your clients based on their personality derived from what they write in emails and post on social media.

And on the cybersecurity side, a company called SparkCognition is leveraging IBM Watson to detect, assess, and research external threats that businesses encounter every day from hackers. Tools like these are poised to help you protect the critical information in your business, as well as the assets of your clients, which has become a huge focus for regulators this year.

I filmed a video blog while at World of Watson to give you a sense of the size and scale of the event, offer some of my candid thoughts from presentations, and keep you aware of what your business will need to stay competitive in the future.]

Envestnet Acquires Finance Logix from BusinessWire, and

Envestnet Acquires FinanceLogix As The Integrated Financial Planning And PFM Buying Frenzy Continues from Kitces.com

[Next up is news from Envestnet, as the company announced it is acquiring Finance Logix, a financial planning software provider, for around $32.5M of cash and stock as calculated by Nerd’s Eye View blogger Michael Kitces. I was on my flight back from World of Watson when the news broke, so thankfully Michael Kitces cranked out a comprehensive post on the deal. Here are the important takeaways.

In 2012, Envestnet acquired Tamarac for their CRM, portfolio management, client portal and rebalancing software platform, then two months ago, they acquired Upside and their automated investment solution, so one of the few pieces missing in an all-in-one platform was financial planning software. Enter Finance Logix.

This deal and Fidelity’s recent acquisition of eMoney means that fewer potential acquisition targets remain, primarily MoneyGuidePro, MoneyTree, inStream, and private-equity backed Advicent Solutions. But clearly, the pace of acquisitions is accelerating, so it’s likely a question of when, not if, one of the solutions you use today gets acquired by a custodian or a large investment and technology provider.] Envestnet, Inc., announced today that it has acquired Finance Logix, a technology company that provides leading-edge financial planning and wealth management software solutions to banks, broker-dealers and RIA firms.

Vanguard unveils advice and investing program for the hoi polloi from Reuters

[And finally, Vanguard is out with news this week that its low-cost Personal Advisor Services, or PAS, is now being rolled out to all investors and the minimum account size has been lowered to just $50,000. With an annual fee of just 0.3%, Vanguard is walking a fine line of putting pressure on the fees advisors charge for investment management services, while simultaneously soliciting advisors to use Vanguard’s low-cost funds and ETFs in their portfolio allocations for clients.

Fortunately, Vanguard officials told Reuters that “Sophisticated investors will still need customized advice on taxes, estate planning and niche areas the new service will not offer,” which is a different stance than others out there who say investors don’t need to pay for expensive financial advisors.

Nevertheless, the pressure is on for you to aggressively price your fees, especially for investment management, but you also need to communicate how your firm goes well beyond offering one-size-fits-all advice.

That means you need to be more efficient and streamlined using technology available today so you have the capacity to establish meaningful relationships with clients and focus on the things that actually matter to their financial success.] Arguing that many of its customers cannot afford to pay high investment advisory fees, The Vanguard Group on Tuesday unveiled a low-cost service combining an automated investment plan with advice from a Vanguard financial planner.

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

Envestnet Driving Digital Advice Transformation from MarketWatch

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.

Trizic Closes $2 Million In Additional Seed Funding From Operative Capital from Yahoo.com

Trizic, the technology company powering digital wealth advisory solutions for financial institutions and Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), today announced an additional $2 million in seed funding from Operative Capital, an early-growth stage investor in disruptive financial technology start-ups.

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 8, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 8, 2015

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IBM World of Watson and what the future holds for financial advisers

What does “cognitive computing” mean for financial services? To find out, I went to IBM’s World of Watson event held this week in New York City.

Get an up close perspective of this unique event! (total runtime: 3:17)

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 1

Whoops! My May 8 email newsletter link lands here by mistake. Click here to see May 8 Bits and Bytes!

On today’s broadcast, Shareholders Service Group is attracting the attention of independent advisors, and for good reason, Orion Advisor Services announces a new partnership in the robo-advisor arena, and, find out how you can stay one step ahead of the latest cyber attacks that have the potential to cripple your business.

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.

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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.

Video coverage of the 2015 Shareholders Service Group conference from FPPad.com

[This week’s top story comes from Shareholders Service Group, as I spent the end of last week at the company’s annual conference for advisors outside San Diego. SSG is one of those institutions that flies below the radar of most advisors, but now with over 1,400 financial advisors leveraging the resources of SSG, the company is continuing to attract attention.

From a technology standpoint, Shareholders Service Group follows an open architecture approach powered by the custody services of Pershing, and SSG wants advisors to be able to choose the best of breed solutions they want to use, without being told what to do by the institution. While at the conference, I connected with CEOs from content marketing provider Vestorly as well as CRM provider Junxure to learn about the partnerships they recently formed with SSG.

I also connected with XY Planning Network co-founders Michael Kitces and Alan Moore to get their take on important trends advisors need to monitor, which, no surprise, include a number of technology takeaways.

There’s a lot more from the Shareholders Service Group conference, including conversations with CEO Peter Mangan and President Dan Skiles]

Orion Advisor Services, LLC Partners With Jemstep to Deliver New Integrated Technology to Independent Financial Advisors from Marketwired

[Next up is news from Orion Advisor Services, as the company recently announced a new partnership with online investment provider Jemstep. Jemstep originally formed back in 2008 to deliver online investment solutions to retail investors, but now the company also offers Jemstep Advisor Pro as a solution you can offer to your emerging clients. Here’s a quick summary. You can embed Jemstep Advisor Pro on your website where new clients can complete a self-directed process to open an account, just like Redhawk Wealth Advisors has done.

Clients fill out a basic profile, complete a very simple risk questionnaire, and link investment accounts using account aggregation. Jemstep then generates a simple portfolio analysis using the client’s existing holdings and compares hypothetical performance to a target allocation of a portfolio allocation that you, the advisor, created and Jempstep matches to the client’s risk tolerance. If everything looks promising to the client, they proceed to the account opening stage where they complete account forms electronically.

So where does Orion fit in to the picture? New accounts created by Jemstep are custodied with TD Ameritrade Institutional, and those account details can then be fed into Orion using Veo Open Access. Once in Orion, all kinds of performance and analytics can be performed, which is what Jemstep, as of today, May 1, 2015, doesn’t currently provide. Now do you get it?

But if you’re NOT using Orion, Jemstep delivers the online investment interface, but it lacks the portfolio performance reports found in other solutions. That’s why the partnership with Orion is important, among other reasons.] Orion Advisor Services, LLC (“Orion”), the premier portfolio accounting service provider for advisors, announced that it has partnered with Jemstep, Inc., a leading provider of robo-technology solutions to advisors, to offer a new integrated technology solution for independent financial advisors.

SEC Cybersecurity Guidance Update from SEC.gov

[I need to move on to today’s final story on cybersecurity, as the SEC released new guidance this week with three important takeaways for advisors:

You need to periodically assess your cybersecurity risks, you need to identify how you will detect and respond to attacks, and you actually need implement your written policies and procedures and provide training to your staff.

So to do that, the SEC offered the following tips and resources to … oh, I’m being told they didn’t offer tips and resources, right, so I’m going to help you with the first takeaway which is cybersecurity threat assessment.

Do you want to know what threats advisors are actually facing every day? I set up a page on FPPad to collect threat information from advisors nationwide, and rank the top threats by the number of reports received. Plus, I’m going to highlight new attack techniques as they happen, so you can do your best to stay one step ahead of ever-more-sopisticated attackers. They’ve gone way beyond misspelled emails from Nigerian princes!] The Division has identified the cybersecurity of registered investment companies (“funds”) and registered investment advisers (“advisers”) as an important issue. Both funds and advisers increasingly use technology to conduct their business activities and need to protect confidential and sensitive information related to these activities from third parties, including information concerning fund investors and advisory clients.

Access the FPPad RIA Cybersecurity Exchange at fppad.com/cybersecurity

Visit the FPPad RIA Cybersecurity Exchange

Visit the FPPad RIA Cybersecurity Exchange

 

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

Personal Capital Apple Watch App Review from Dough Roller

Personal Capital revolutionized the free online financial dashboard. In one place you can now automatically track all of your investments, including retirement accounts. It shows your asset allocation and investing costs, and does so with amazing charts and graphs. All for free. Now the dashboard is available on the Apple Watch.

Addepar lays out world-fixing vision and rolls out upgrades at swanky The Battery event in San Francisco from RIABiz.com

Addepar Inc. is angling to manage a major chunk of a $120 trillion of assets under management on Earth, including pensions, sovereign countries, private wealth and endowments, by attacking the challenge as a data management problem first and a design and analytics problem at a close second.

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 1, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 1, 2015

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From the 2015 Shareholders Service Group Conference: Brian Hamburger on Compliance

Brian Hamburger is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of MarketCounsel, a leading business and regulatory compliance consulting firm to investment advisers.

In his 2015 Shareholders Service Group Conference session, Hamburger highlighted trends in fiduciary harmonization, succession planning, cybersecurity and more to a room full of independent advisers.

Watch the video below for Hamburger’s most important takeaways from his session.

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From the 2015 Shareholders Service Group Conference: Andy Hill on Leadership

Author and keynote speaker Andy Hill delivered an inspirational message to attendees of the 2015 Shareholders Service Group Conference.

Hill is the author of Be Quick – But Don’t Hurry: Finding Success in the Teachings of a Lifetime

Watch the video below for Hill’s most important takeaway from his high-impact session.

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From the 2015 Shareholders Service Group Conference: Key Takeaway from Angie Herbers

Find out what Angie Herbers, co-founder of Kaleido, Inc. says is the key to unlocking transformational growth inside a financial advisory firm.

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From the 2015 Shareholders Service Group Conference: Junxure and Vestorly Partnerships

I’m covering events at the 2015 Shareholders Service Group Conference in San Diego, CA. Watch the video below to learn about recent strategic partnerships formed with technology providers Junxure and Vestorly leading up to this year’s conference.

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