Schwab IMPACT 2015: Conference wrap up

We wrap up our coverage of Schwab IMPACT 2015 from the floor of The Exchange, noting that this is an incremental year in technology updates from Schwab Advisor Services.

Following last year’s major announcement of Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, I left Schwab IMPACT 2015 with the impression that Schwab Advisor Services is busy delivering incremental updates and improvements to the company’s existing solutions.

Thank you to Itegria for sponsoring our coverage from Schwab IMPACT 2015.


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Schwab IMPACT 2015: 360º video tour of The Exchange

We enjoyed the 360º video tour of the Schwab Center that we secured permission to film throughout The Exchange at Schwab IMPACT 2015, the massive exhibit hall of vendors and solution providers to the independent RIA community.

Take in all the activity and buzz contained in The Exchange as we walk through barely half of the exhibit hall, pausing to take in some of the technology providers that are partners in the Schwab Advisor Services ecosystem.

Can you find out who threw the toy rocket at me? And can you find the hidden Itegria logos? There are three of them scattered randomly in the video.

This video is best experienced on your mobile device in the YouTube app. You can move your device in any direction to navigate the 360º video.

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Schwab IMPACT 2015: Exclusive 360º video tour of the Schwab Center

In this exclusive 360º video, Brian Shenson, Vice President of Advisor Technology for Schwab Advisor Services, gives us a personal tour of the Schwab Center booth at the center of The Exchange.

This video is best experienced on your mobile device in the YouTube app. You can move your device in any direction to navigate the 360º video. It’s impressive, and something never seen before at a financial services conference!

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Schwab IMPACT 2015: Brian Shenson outlines the company’s technology roadmap

Brian Shenson, Vice President of Advisor Technology for Schwab Advisor Services, met with me at Schwab IMPACT 2015 to update the company’s technology roadmap.

In this interview from the heart of “Schwab Center” in the nucleus of The Exchange exhibit hall, Shenson walks me through the status of Schwab Advisor Mobile Connect, Schwab Advisor Portfolio Connect, and Schwab OpenView MarketSquare™.

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Schwab IMPACT 2015: Conference Preview

Here is a quick conference preview for Schwab IMPACT 2015 to highlight what you can expect from our coverage of one of the industry’s largest events for independent RIAs.

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 16

On today’s broadcast, Morningstar says it will acquire Total Rebalance Expert, LogMeIn acquires LastPass, and Laser App doubles down on technology training for advisors.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(WatchFPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Morningstar, Inc. to Acquire tRx Investment Portfolio Rebalancing Platform for Advisors from Morningstar

[Let’s get right to this week’s top story which comes from Morningstar, as the investment research company just announced that it will acquire Total Rebalance Expert, the portfolio rebalancing solution created by Sheryl Rowling back in 2008. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but my take on this news is that it’s a big positive for both companies, and here’s why.

First, Morningstar has provided back-office technology to thousands of advisors in the form of Morningstar Advisor Workstation and Morningstar Office, but for years advisors have complained that the internal portfolio rebalancing tool lacked some of the more sophisticated features found in competing solutions. So acquiring TRX closes this gap in Morningstar’s technology platform.

And for TRX, what began as a personal project for Sheryl Rowling’s own RIA has grown into a legitimate player in the portfolio rebalancing marketplace with over 175 firms already on board. But in order to take TRX to the next level, it’s going to require additional investments in development, marketing, and customer service, and that’s where Morningstar has the potential to add tremendous value.

This news is the latest in a string of fintech acquisitions this year that includes eMoney, Advent, LearnVest, Finance Logix, Upside Advisor, Guide Financial, and Yodlee. So, I think it’s time we have a chat. Come on, bring it in.

The independent technology providers you use today are in play. Fintech is hot right now, and there’s a lot of cash available, so don’t be surprised if one of the core solutions you use announces it’s going to be acquired.

Now I’m not saying you need to make an exit plan for each piece of technology you use, but I’m going do my best to keep you up to date on what’s happening, and offer suggestions where I feel appropriate if you need to make a move to an alternate solution. Ok? Ok.] Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Total Rebalance Expert (tRx), an automated, tax-efficient investment portfolio rebalancing platform for financial advisors, from FNA, LLC. Morningstar expects to complete the transaction in November 2015.

LastPass Joins the LogMeIn Family from LastPass, and

Joining forces with LastPass from Meldium, and

LogMeIn now owns LastPass – here’s how to migrate to 1Password from

[Next up is more acquisition news as LogMeIn, the remote access software provider, announced that it will acquire LastPass, the popular password manager solution, for $110 million. This follows the company’s September 2014 acquisition of Meldium, another password management tool, with a price tag of $15 million.

Now LastPass is the solution I use to manage passwords to hundreds of online accounts, so I am paying very close attention to what’s going to happen to the product in the near future. One thing LogMeIn did say on their website is that users of Meldium will be encouraged to transition to a comparable version of LastPass in early 2016.

But much of the online chatter I’ve read about LogMeIn mentions terrible customer service experiences and frustrating billing issues, so I admit that I’m considering competing solutions like 1Password or Dashlane, but I’m not making any moves just yet. Nevertheless, I’ve saved a great article that walks through the steps of extracting all my password data from LastPass to migrate to another service in case I might need it in the future, and you’ll find that link along with this episode’s top stories.] It’s a big day here at LastPass. We’re thrilled to announce that we’re joining LogMeIn.

Laser App doubles down on technology training at its first Advisor Con event in Las Vegas from FPPad

[And finally, a few days ago I attended the first-ever Advisor Con event hosted by Laser App Software in Las Vegas. The agenda at Advisor Con was filled with training sessions, and not just on Laser App software, but training for all of the technology providers who where in attendance.]


Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 16, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 16, 2015

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Laser App doubles down on technology training at its first Advisor Con event in Las Vegas

In its first Advisor Con event, Laser App gathered advisors in Las Vegas and doubled down on providing technology training resources.

As technology adoption continues to be a challenge for many financial advisors, Laser App met the issue head on with a new event dedicated to technology training.

In this three video series from the first-ever Laser App Advisor Con event, you’ll see how the company kicked off its inaugural conference by putting technology vendors front and center to highlight the value they bring to advisory firms.

Advisor Con Day One Kickoff

What you’ll learn in this video: My top three takeaways from the morning sessions, including MoneyGuidePro, Riskalzye, and Silanis.

Advisor Con Day One Provider Presentations

What you’ll learn in this video: Hear the tips technology providers want Advisor Con attendees to take back to their office.

Advisor Con Day Two Training

What you’ll learn in this video: Find out why Laser App dedicated an entire day of the Advisor Con agenda to technology training sessions.

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TRX Unplugged: What happens when a tech provider eschews formality and unplugs for the day

Total Rebalance Expert, or TRX, is widely known for its impeccable portfolio rebalancing and tax management features. After all, TRX was born from Sheryl Rowling’s own need for an extremely precise tool to manage the demands of her RIA and CPA businesses.

But what escapes many advisers is the company’s culture born from the land of eternal summer, aka San Diego.

TRX lacks the institutional swagger of its larger counterparts, including iRebal from TD Ameritrade Institutional and Tamarac Advisor Rebalancing from Envestnet, but focuses on delivering value with its product line, where attention to detail and accuracy down to the penny and fractional share is vital.

So what happens when TRX decides to let its collective hair down and focus on education and value for its customers? You get TRX Unplugged.

Watch the coverage of TRX Unplugged above to gain a sense for how the company supports its advisor relationships and courts prospective firms with its deliberate relaxed attitude and atmosphere.

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for September 25

On today’s broadcast, the SEC fines an RIA for cybersecurity oversights, learn the steps you should implement to fight ransomware, and RightCapital is the newest startup in the financial planning software marketplace.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(WatchFPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by True North Networks, a leading provider of managed IT, hosting, and security services to financial professionals. With the introduction of SecureWorkplace, True North Networks helps advisors combat cybercrime with industry leading technology, monitoring, and employee awareness training.

True North Networks

And if you sign up for SecureWorkplace in October, you’ll receive a free firewall valued up to $2,000. Learn more about True North Networks and SecureWorkplace today by visiting

SEC Charges Investment Adviser With Failing to Adopt Proper Cybersecurity Policies and Procedures Prior To Breach from, and

OCIE’s 2015 Cybersecurity Examination Initiative, and

SEC Cybersecurity Guidance 2015-02

[I’ve been under the weather for a few days, but I’m back with this week’s top story that comes from the Securities and Exchange Commission, as the industry watchdog recently settled charges with a St. Louis-based RIA for failing to establish cybersecurity policies and procedures. In its settlement, the SEC said the firm “failed entirely to adopt written policies and procedures reasonably designed to safeguard customer information” and the regulator assessed a $75,000 penalty. As the result of a breach in July 2013, hackers gained access to personally identifiable information for roughly 100,00 individuals.

But the silver lining, if there is one, is that the SEC said that no clients have suffered financial harm as a result of the breach. Well, not yet, at least.

So this is your wake up call if you’re behind on establishing your own cybersecurity policies. You need them, and you need to periodically test them, or you may subject your firm to similar consequences.

Once again, I’ve linked the SEC’s most recent cybersecurity guidance in the show notes or consider hiring a security expert for RIAs like Itegria, Envision RIA, External IT, True North Networks, Right Size Solutions, and others.]

Don’t Pay the Hacker’s Ransom from

[Next up is more news about cybersecurity, as Shareholders Service Group president Dan Skiles recently addressed the rise in ransomware attacks on RIAs. Skiles notes that RIAs typically come across ransomware in a phishing email or a rogue file attachment, and once it’s mistakenly activated, the ransomware holds your computer and your files hostage unless you pay a ransom amount in bitcoin to unlock everything.

Obviously it’s best to never launch programs from unknown sources, but if ransomware does get activated inside your firm, Skiles recommends you isolate the computer that was attacked and work with an experienced IT professional to limit the damage. Arguably the best protection against ransomware is to have a fully-functional backup of all of your files, so you can literally throw your infected computer in the trash and start from scratch by restoring your files from a good backup.

It’s best if the ransomware never gets launched in the first place, so keeping your cybersecurity policies up to date AND offering periodic training to your firm’s employees will go a long way in protecting the information your clients trust you to keep safe.] When your firm is hit with a ransomware virus, try these steps first

New financial planning software tries to win market share in a crowded field from InvestmentNews

[And finally, I’m wrapping up with a new startup called RightCapital, which announced the introduction of its eponymous financial planning software at the XY Planning Network conference in Charlotte last week. RightCapital joins Advizr, another planning software startup I’ve covered before, to offer an intuitive and attractively-designed platform as an alternative to veteran providers like MoneyGuide Pro, eMoney, and Advicent.

You’ll have to test drive RightCaptial to see if its planning capabilities are up to your standards, but with built-in account aggregation, integrations with Morningstar, Yodlee, and Redtail, and a price tag under $1,000 a year, RightCapital deserves a spot on your radar screen, especially if financial planning is going to play a more prominent role in your business.] Newly launched service provider RightCapital thinks it has created a better mousetrap and is undaunted by the hypercompetitive market


Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for September 25, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for September 25, 2015

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