Blog


FPPad Bits and Bytes for July 11

On today’s broadcast, Junxure Cloud has officially arrived after several years of delays. Will the features in version one make it worth the wait? Wealth Access continues its growth as a personal financial dashboard for high net worth clients. Does it have what it takes to get advisors to stop using Mint.com? And consulting firm QuonWarrene announces a new technology audit service. Find out how their service can help move your firm’s technology in the right direction.

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

To learn how you can keep your data safe from attackers, download a free copy of their latest white paper on social engineering attacks by visiting fppad.com/itegria.

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

Junxure Announces Wide Release of Junxure Cloud CRM for Financial Advisors from PRNewswire

[This week’s top story covers two CRM providers in financial services. First up is Junxure, which issued a press release announcing the general release of its long-awaited Junxure Cloud product after what seems like an eternity in development.

The Junxure Desktop product has always been a top contender among CRMs for advisors, but as firms became more comfortable with software in the cloud, Junxure lacked a completely web-based version of its CRM. With Junxure Cloud, the company finally has an answer.] Junxure CRM, an industry-leading practice improvement firm for financial advisors that integrates CRM technology, consulting, and training, today announced the general release of Junxure Cloud™, its comprehensive, cloud-based CRM/office management solution for financial advisors.

ProTracker pulls cloud-based CRM back into beta from InvestmentNews

[But another CRM provider with a web-based solution has actually pulled its software out of general release and put it back into beta testing.

The CRM is ProTracker Cloud, which is built on top of open-source software called SugarCRM. Warren Mackensen, president of ProTracker Software, said he suspended product sales earlier this year, citing dissatisfaction with its look and feel and feedback from customers. Mackenson did not offer insight as to when ProTracker Cloud will once again be available for purchase, but as soon as I know, I’ll be sure to share the update with you.] Eight months after announcing the launch of a cloud-based customer relationship management product for advisers, ProTracker Software Inc. has stopped selling its ProTracker Cloud CRM while the company fixes some kinks in the product.

Wealth Access Experiencing Rapid Growth and Momentum in Wealth Management Industry from PRWeb

[Next is an update from Wealth Access, a high net worth personal financial management platform I originally covered for Morningstar Advisor back in September 2012. The company has come a long way in two years, as it now aggregates $7 billion in assets and has a grown from a team of two people to over 17 today.

Wealth Access works a lot like Mint.com and eMoney Advisor, but caters to high net worth clients that typically own real estate, hard assets, and collectibles that can’t be updated with simple account aggregation.

In addition, clients have granular control over who can see their account information. For example, CPAs might be able to view just the accounts that generate taxable income, while wealth managers have permission to see all of the client’s investable assets. So if you want to offer something like Mint.com to your clients, but with more sophisticated account management, then Wealth Access may be worth exploring for your business.] Wealth Access, an innovative high net worth personal financial management platform for advisors, announced today several milestones that represent fast growth and adoption of its industry leading technology. In only its third year, Wealth Access now reports on $7 billion, adding an additional $600 million per month, up from $250 million per month in 2013.

QuonWarrene Announces Spot-Audit Service from QuonWarrene.com

[And finally, many of you come away with great technology ideas from my Bits and Bytes broadcasts, but you’re still looking for some guidance on where you should focus your efforts. In addition to the consulting services I provide to advisors, there’s a new service available from Quon Warrene, an advisor consulting firm, called the Spot Audit™.

The QuonWarrene Spot Audit is an efficient way to address the technology challenges you face in your business. Start by completing a questionnaire about your existing technology, then participate on a collaborative conference call, and then receive an assessment report score card with recommendations on what you should tackle first. So if I don’t have immediate availability for technology consulting, QuonWarrene now gives you another option to identify where you can make improvements in technology.] QuonWarrene today announced an expansion to its services tailored for financial advisors and institutions, introducing the Spot-Audit.

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

Amazon Zocalo from Amazon.com

Amazon Zocalo is a fully managed, secure enterprise storage and sharing service with strong administrative controls and feedback capabilities that improve user productivity. 

Pershing Announces the Next Generation of its Block Trading and Rebalancing Tool for Advisor-Directed Programs from MarketWatch.com

Pershing LLC, a BNY Mellon company, today announced the next generation of its block trading and rebalancing tool—delivered through its technology platform NetX360®—which offers a series of new capabilities for advisors.

Be a robo-adviser, the human way from InvestmentNews

It’s not hard to see why robo-advisers are generating so much buzz: They purport to use powerful technology to deliver what they call tailored investment recommendations at a fraction of the cost of traditional investment managers. That’s a pretty compelling proposition, especially for newbie investors.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for July 11, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for July 11, 2014

Leave a comment

FPPad Bits and Bytes for July 3

On today’s broadcast, a group of NexGen financial planners reveal their top technology apps. Are you using any of these popular tools in your business? A startup named Quovo aims to streamline account aggregation. Will they be able to solve frustrations with managing held-away accounts? And, this month’s Journal of Financial Planning is packed with great content. Find out which contributions can help you boost 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.

T3EClogo600

If you’re looking for the best place to monitor trends in broker-dealer technology, you need to come to Atlanta November 11th through 13th. Reserve your spot today by visiting t3enterpriseconference.com

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

What an Elite Group of Younger Advisors Has to Say from Advisor Perspectives

[This week’s top story comes from Bob Veres, the savant of the financial planning profession, who provided an introspection of the FPA NexGen gathering he recently attended in Moline, IL. FPA NexGen is a community of over 2,000 FPA members age 36 and under, representing the future of the industry as they succeed today’s advisors who are entering retirement.

While Veres presents several thought-provoking discussions from the event, you’ll find his recap of technology tools and apps mentioned at the NexGen gathering to be of particular interest. Some of the top apps include ScheduleOnce, and online calendar clients can use to automatically book meetings, Evernote, an omnipresent note-taking app, Pay Simple, an online billing and payment service, and many more.] I recently served as a facilitator for the annual NexGen conference, this year held on the campus of Augustana University in Moline, IL., … [where] I was able to gain insight into the very different way that the financial planning landscape looks through the eyes of younger advisors just starting their careers — and in many cases, from the bottom end of a planning firm’s organizational chart.

Advisor Aggravation from Financial Advisor Magazine

[Next up is a column from technology consultant Joel Bruckenstein. In his latest update for Financial Advisor magazine, Bruckenstein highlights a start up in the account aggregation space called Quovo.

For the longest time, reconciliation-ready account aggregation was available from just a handful of providers. First is ByAllAccounts, which was just purchased by Morningstar back in April for $28 million, then CashEdge, which was acquired by Fiserv for $465 million in 2011, and Aqumulate, formerly known as Advisor Exchange.

New to the scene is Quovo, which claims to aggregate data from over 18,000 financial institutions to provide detailed performance reports, asset allocation reviews, and even simulated market stress testing. Bruckenstein wrote that “Quovo has great potential in the advisory space,” so it’s worth adding the company to your technology radar, especially if you’re looking to improve your ability to work with clients’ held-away accounts.] In the wake of Morningstar’s recent purchase of ByAllAccounts, this seems like a particularly good time to take a look at a firm called Quovo.

Journal of Financial Planning July Issue from OneFPA.org

[And finally, the July 2014 edition of the Journal of Financial Planning is now available, and it’s a very good one with respect to technology. You’ll definitely want to check out the cover story that features two case studies on how to effectively market a financial planning business, then read a column from past FPA President Dan Moisand on why robo-advisors are a problem for the profession, and also read my own contribution on the seven most important tips you need to follow to enhance the videos you upload online.

You need to be an FPA member to access the digital edition of the magazine, but I think it’s worth it given the value you’ll receive from the Journal as well as the other member benefits offered by the FPA.] Marketing experts Kristen Luke and Kristin Harad, CFP®, offer specific marketing tactics for two very different advisory firms—one new, eager to start marketing, but not sure how; and one established, wishing to better attract high net worth clients.

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

MoneyGuidePro® Announces Enhanced Integration with Morningstar Office from BusinessWire

MoneyGuidePro®, a leader in goal-focused financial planning, and Morningstar, Inc., a leading provider of independent investment research, today announced greatly enhanced integration between MoneyGuidePro and Morningstar OfficeSM, the practice and portfolio management system for independent financial advisors.

Rebalancing Made Easy from Financial Advisor Magazine

Portfolio rebalancing can be a time consuming and largely inefficient task if attempted manually. That is why portfolio management software and rebalancing solutions have become so popular.

Morgan Stanley lets advisers write what they tweet from InvestmentNews

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management has given financial advisers the go-ahead to write their own Twitter content.

ProTracker pulls cloud-based CRM back into beta from InvestmentNews

Eight months after announcing the launch of a cloud-based customer relationship management product for advisers, ProTracker Software Inc. has stopped selling its ProTracker Cloud CRM while the company fixes some kinks in the product.

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for July 3, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for July 3, 2014

1 Comment

It’s a privilege to be named an InvestmentNews 40 Under 40 Honoree

I truly appreciate the opportunity to connect with you, the community of financial professionals here at FPPad, to help keep you informed and up to date on technology innovation in financial services.

And when someone recognizes my contributions to the industry, I feel that it further validates the passion I have to help financial professionals build better businesses with technology.

InvestmentNews 40 Under 40 Honoree

Investment News 40 under 40Yesterday, InvestmentNews released its inaugural 40 Under 40 project to recognize the talent, influence, and contributions of young professionals in the industry, and it is an honor to be one of the individuals on the list.

For more about the progression of my career since founding FPPad in 2008, I put together a short video to reflect on the last six years and to envision what’s ahead in the future of the financial advice industry.

Enjoy, and thank you so much for helping contribute to the success of FPPad!

InvestmentNews 40 Under 40 Entrepreneurs: (l to r: Kristen Luke, Jason Van Duyn, and Bill Winterberg)

InvestmentNews 40 Under 40 Entrepreneurs: (left to right: Kristen Luke, Jason Van Duyn, and Bill Winterberg)

Leave a comment

FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 20

On today’s broadcast, Apple previews new features in its mobile and desktop operating systems. Will they be enough to wean advisors away from Microsoft? Betterment launches a new tax loss harvesting algorithm. How much potential additional return can this service add to client portfolios? And, if you just can’t get enough of real-time stock and economic data, then you need to check out the new Dashboard from YCharts.

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. Don’t waste another warm summer evening reading your CRM’s user manual.

Wealthbox CRM

Instead, turn on simplicity, tune in to Wealthbox, and drop out of CRM school with Wealthbox’s outrageously simple CRM. Get a free trial today by visiting fppad.com/wealthbox

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

Preview iOS 8 from Apple, and

Preview OS X Yosemite from Apple

[This week’s top story highlights Apple’s announcements at its 2014 World Wide Developers Conference held in San Francisco. The company introduced a ton of new features coming in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite later this fall, but here are ones that are most relevant to financial advisors.

First, iCloud Drive was introduced as Apple’s answer to popular cloud document synchronization services like Dropbox, Box, and ShareFile. You’ll soon be able to synchronize all kinds of files, not just Pages, Numbers, and Keynote documents, to the iCloud service, but iCloud Drive’s sharing features are not as robust as other providers. While you can share individual files from iCloud using a unique URL, you can’t sync entire folders of documents with other iCloud users.

Second, an update to the iOS keyboard includes predictive text that will suggest contextually appropriate words and phrases to significantly speed up your replies while responding on your device. Hopefully this will put an end to your pithy text message lingo!

Third, security gets a boost as data stored in the Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, Notes, and Messages apps first requires a passcode for access any time the phone is rebooted.

And fourth, iOS 8 will allow you to mirror your device’s screen directly to an Apple TV without joining a WiFi network. This peer-to-peer AirPlay connection is perfect for the times you want to mirror your iPad screen to a TV, but don’t have access to a WiFi network at a client’s home or at a conference hotel. Try doing that with a Chromecast! 

On the OS X Yosemite side, advisors should enjoy the flexibility to make and receive phone calls from your computer using your iPhone, a supercharged Spotlight app that offers search results from Wikipedia, Bing, Maps, and more, and a clever Handoff feature to synchronize your work in progress between your Mac and your iOS devices.]

Betterment Introduces Tax Loss Harvesting+™ from Betterment.com, and

White Paper: Tax Loss Harvesting+™

[Next up is news from Betterment, the online algorithm-powered investment service, which just announced the introduction of Tax Loss Harvesting Plus™.

In a very detailed white paper, Betterment identified how its Tax Loss Harvesting Plus service would have generated an additional 0.77 percent annualized after-tax return over 13 years of backtested data. But as I read through the discussion of navigating wash sale rules and Betterment’s Parallel Position Management strategy, I couldn’t help but think that managing such nuances of tax loss harvesting can potentially turn in to a full-time job for advisors, especially those who employ active strategies with individual equities and ETFs.

I reached out to Jon Stein, Betterment founder and CEO, and he confirmed that the Tax Loss Harvesting Plus™ service will be available in the Betterment Institutional platform that will be introduced to financial advisors in the near future. So now you’re faced with a yet another decision: will you continue to manage time-consuming tax loss harvesting strategies with in-house technology, or outsource this service once Betterment’s Institutional offering becomes available?] Tax Loss Harvesting+ can reduce your tax exposure better than other automated harvesting tools. Every transaction, both customer and system initiated, is executed in a tax-efficient way.

YCharts Dashboard from YCharts.com

[And wrapping up this week’s broadcast is news from YCharts, a research and charting provider to a variety of financial institutions. In response to overwhelming feedback, YCharts introduced a new Dashboard application that allows users to build their own customs screens with all sorts of analytical tools.

If you live and breathe charts, watch lists, and economic indicators but don’t want to pay the high price for a Bloomberg terminal, YCharts lets you view data on US and Canadian equites, ETFs, ADRs and over 400,000 economic indicators. Shawn Carpenter, YCharts co-founder and CEO, also told me that the next wave of data updates to YCharts will include mutual funds.] The Dashboard is all about you: Which companies you want to see. Which indicators you want to follow. Which indices matter to your investing process. Set it up once, and it will be with you for the rest of your investing career.

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

Cybersecurity firm says large hedge fund attacked from CNBC.com

In an audacious and sophisticated attack, cybercriminals acting in late 2013 installed a malicious computer program on the servers of a large hedge fund, crippling its high-speed trading strategy and sending information about its trades to unknown offsite computers, CNBC has learned.

RegEd Launches Enterprise Risk Control Center

RegEd, a leading provider of technology solutions for compliance and risk management for the financial services industry, announced today the launch of RegEd SCORE™ Risk Control Center, the industry’s first analytics-driven solution that brings together critical compliance and business data to enable Broker-Dealers to identify and manage behavioral and sales practice risk among their registered population.

A Guide to RIA CRM Software for Investment Adviser Firms of all Sizes from RIAinaBox.com

Using data from our recent 2014 RIA Systems and Operations Survey along with other industry observations, we wanted to provide some guidance when it comes to selecting the right CRM software tool for your advisory firm.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 20, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 20, 2014

1 Comment

FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 30

On today’s broadcast, Microsoft introduces the Surface Pro 3 line of tablets. Will the third time be the charm to win adoption from advisors? Cybersecurity remains a hot topic in financial services. Read what one compliance attorney says are the worst security practices he’s ever seen. And, advisor matchmaking websites are popping up everywhere. Will any of them reach critical mass to successfully match prospects with the right 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

To learn how you can keep your data safe from attackers, download a free copy of their latest white paper on social engineering attacks by visiting fppad.com/itegria.

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

Fly Or Die: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 from TechCrunch

[This week’s top story comes from Microsoft, as the company recently introduced its third generation of Surface Pro tablets due out by mid to late June. The entry level Surface Pro 3 comes with the Core i3 processor and 64GB of storage, starting at $799, but a fully loaded Core i7 version with 512 GB of storage will set you back almost $2,000 and it doesn’t include the detachable Type Cover, which runs an additional $129.

Microsoft is using its Surface Pro 3 to take aim at the Apple MacBook Air line of popular ultra-thin laptops. While the Surface Pro 3 is lighter than the 13” MacBook air, offers a touch display, and has a removable keyboard, the fully-loaded version runs nearly $300 more than the top of the line MacBook Air.

Still, the latest Surface runs Windows 8 natively, supports Microsoft Office, and poses fewer compatibility issues with proprietary broker-dealer or custodial software that often requires Internet Explorer.

But at 18% taller and 22% wider than the iPad Air, to me the Surface really isn’t a tablet as much as it is a touchscreen laptop with a detachable keyboard. It remains to be seen whether the Surface Pro 3 will gain adoption from advisors, or languish when compared with the more traditional Windows laptops from manufacturers like Dell, Lenovo, and others.] Forget everything you thought you knew about the Microsoft Surface tablet, as the latest generation of the Windows-powered Surface Pro is a clear step up from the Microsoft slates of yore.

surface pro 3 thumbnail

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review: A legitimate work PC in tablet clothing from PCWorld

Through every iteration, Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet has edged closer to becoming a true laptop replacement. Microsoft’s latest Surface Pro 3 takes several small steps in that direction—along with one giant, game-changing leap.

Experts: Financial Advisers Lax on Cybersecurity from WSJ.com

[Next up is a timely article on poor cybersecurity practices among financial advisors. In a Wall Street Journal column, Brian Hamburger, compliance attorney and chief executive of MarketCounsel, identified several dangerous issues he’s seen when visiting advisory firms.

The innocent, but dangerous, practices include things like writing down passwords on sticky notes, failing to reset passwords when an employee leaves the firm, and not encrypting laptop hard drives.

Couple that with the dramatic increase in client spoofing, where hackers break in to client email accounts to request fraudulent money transfers, and you have a recipe for some substantial financial losses as well as the loss of client trust.

Regarding passwords, my advice is to treat them like a pair of boxer shorts. Yes, boxer shorts: Keep them a mystery, don’t share them, don’t leave them lying around, and please, change them often!] When consultant Brian Hamburger visits financial advisory firms he often sees a practice as innocent as it is dangerous: Passwords posted on computers to help advisers remember them.

‘Match.com’ for advisers and clients expands to San Francisco from InvestmentNews

[And finally, there are a number of new websites that have recently launched to match consumers seeking financial advice with financial advisors. You may already be familiar with services like Paladin Registry or WiserAdvisor.com, and to a lesser extent, the advisor search features from the FPA and NAPFA.

But recently, InvestmentNews highlighted the latest entrant into the field called GuideVine. The service follows a similar theme to existing advisor matchmaking websites, but GuideVine offers embedded video introductions along with standard written biographies to help consumers get a feel of each advisor’s unique characteristics.

Now I support any and all websites that have the objective of connecting clients with advisors that are right for them, but I think advisors would be wise to invest time and energy building their own online resources, which include a blog, active social media profiles, and even a YouTube channel.

I feel it’s key to be visible in the places where your potential clients are active every day, and to me, the advisor matchmaking sites just don’t have the large audiences that are found on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and more.] GuideVine, a technology startup that wants to connect advisers with consumers seeking financial advice, started operations on Thursday in San Francisco after a successful New York launch in March.

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

Voices: Katie Stokes, on Getting Rid of the Quarterly Report from WSJ.com (free preview)

With real-time market and investment available online to every client, the quarterly report is an obsolete mode of data delivery.

Riskalyze and United Planners Launch Partnership from Yahoo Finance

United Planners Financial Services (UP), a national RIA and independent broker-dealer partnership with more than 350 advisors nationwide, and Riskalyze, the creator of the Risk Number™, today announced a partnership to equip every UP advisor with industry-leading Client Risk Profile technology to pinpoint client risk tolerance.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 30, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 30, 2014

 

1 Comment

FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 16

On today’s broadcast, two financial technology startups raise new rounds of capital. Find out how their solutions have the potential to enhance your business. A popular online document storage provider adds new features. Will they be enough to wean advisors off of consumer services like Dropbox? And this month I say farewell in my final column for Morningstar Advisor, but not before I leave readers with a glimpse of disruptive advisor technology coming in the near future.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

This week’s episode is brought to you by Wealth Management Marketing, providers of complete outsourced marketing services for Registered Investment Advisers.

Wealth Management Marketing

Learn how outsourcing your marketing can result in successful custom marketing campaigns that grow your business by visiting fppad.com/wmm.

Here are this week’s top stories:

Motif Investing partners with financial advisors to introduce flat-fee trading and rebalancing platform from Motif Investments

[Leading off this week’s broadcast is news on two financial technology startups, Motif Investing and Addepar, which both announced new rounds of financing this week. Motif Investing, fresh off its second Best of Show award from Finovate, raised $35 million in funding from new investors, bringing its total to $86 million in venture capital.

During its Finovate Spring 2014 demo, Motif unveiled the Motif Advisor Platform, a solution that allows financial advisors to build, manage and rebalance their own motifs on behalf of clients. Motifs can include a combination of up to 30 stocks and ETFs, but instead of paying a commission to trade each individual security, motifs can be traded for one flat fee of just $9.95. Combining your model portfolios into motifs has the potential to save you time when trading, and it undoubtedly saves your clients in transaction fees that can add up quickly.] Motif Investing’s Advisor Platform, which was recently awarded “Best of Show” at the FinovateSpring conference, streamlines how advisors can build, monitor, and rebalance model portfolios.

Motif video thumbnail

Addepar Raises $50M in Series C Financing from BusinessWire.com

[And moving on to Addepar, the company announced a round of Series C financing to the tune of $50 million dollars, bringing its investment total to $66 million. Addepar’s technology is designed to bring better transparency to the world of complex investments, which includes private equity, committed capital, non-traded alternatives, and more. If you need a refresher on Addepar’s technology and its potential to serve the RIA market, you can watch my interview with Addepar’s former president and chief strategy officer Mike Paulus.] Addepar, a leading financial technology platform for the $120 trillion investment management industry, announced that it has raised $50 million in its Series C financing.

Citrix ShareFile Secures Files for Today’s Mobile Workspaces from Citrix.com

[Next is an update on ShareFile, the web-based document storage service now owned by Citrix. At its annual conference in southern California last week, Citrix announced several enhancements to the document storage service popular among financial advisors. First is a new Software Development Kit, or SDK, that enables support for more third-party integrations with the ShareFile service.

Second, a ShareFile Personal Cloud Connector was introduced to facilitate the migration of files stored in other online services like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft’s OneDrive and consolidate everything in ShareFile. Third, the company announced the upcoming redesign of the ShareFile app for iPhone that will offer a simplified and easier-to-use interface. And finally, all ShareFile users can now review and edit Microsoft Office documents or annotate PDF files on a mobile device, which are features that were once only available to enterprise subscribers.] Today at Citrix Synergy™, Citrix announced new Citrix ShareFile® features that deliver the broadest storage access for users and the most choice for IT.

The Big Trends in Financial Services Technology from Morningstar Advisor

[And finally, if you’re want to stay up to date on the big trends in financial services technology, you should read my farewell column at Morningstar Advisor this month. Yes, after four years of monthly columns, I have decided to hang up my hat, but not before leaving loyal readers with a glimpse of what I feel will be the most significant technology trends to affect the advisory profession. A preview of those trends includes big data and social collaboration in your CRM, first offered by Redtail and Wealthbox respectively, modern on-demand portfolio reports from companies like Blueleaf, Quovo, and Guide Financial, and the disruptive potential of tech-heavy online investment providers like Wealthfront, Betterment, Personal Capital, and more.] In a farewell report, MorningstarAdvisor.com technology columnist Bill Winterberg reflects on the advancements and evolutions in cloud-based and mobile technology, CRM, portfolio management, rebalancing software, and online advice over the last four years.

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

Advisor Websites & Salesforce – The integration you’ve been waiting for from Advisor Websites

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 16, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 16, 2014

1 Comment

FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 9

On today’s broadcast, a new risk tolerance questionnaire gets reviewed. How is it different from the existing solutions already on the market? Gamification is coming to a financial plan near you. Learn how one company is getting consumers to follow through with smart financial moves. And I have a bone to pick with Bob Veres. Find out what he said that I feel mischaracterizes how the future of the financial planning profession will evolve.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(Watch FPPad 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.

Total Rebalance Expert

Now available as a part of the Orion Advisor Services platform, TRX features tax-efficient rebalancing, an easy to use interface, and more, all at an affordable price. Learn how you can gain a half a million dollar return on your technology investment by downloading their latest white paper at fppad.com/trx

Here are this week’s stories of interest:

New Test for Risk Tolerance from Financial Planning

Visit the Pocket Risk website

[This week’s top story is a review of a new risk assessment tool called Pocket Risk. Pocket Risk is the latest product that joins Riskalyse, Finametrica, Financial DNA and several others to assess client risk tolerance using an interactive questionnaire.

Clients go through a list of 20 questions regarding their personal definition of risk, preferences around investment volatility, and other introspective qualities to generate their risk tolerance score, measured from 0 to 100. If you’re curious about Pocket Risk’s specific methodology, the company posted technical details on their website. And Bruckenstein compliments Pocket Risk for its analysis report, calling it quote “short and sweet.”

A two-week free trial of Pocket Risk is available, and subscriptions begin at just $55 per month for one user.] Recently, a number of firms have come to market with standalone applications to measure risk tolerance. One is Pocket Risk, which has an intriguing pedigree and approach.

A new planning tool for advisers challenges clients to win a game from Investment News

[Next is a story about a company called FlexScore, which is using gamification to encourage consumers to make positive choices when managing their finances. Created by financial advisors Jeff Burrow and Jason Gordo, Flexscore creates a score for each user, ranging from zero to 1,000, based on how well they manage their personal finances.

It takes about 20 minutes to complete a profile and connect financial accounts using account aggregation, and users can increase their score by completing recommended action steps, which can be as simple as watching a view for a few points, or paying off debt for a lot more points.

While an advisor version of Flexscore isn’t available today, Flexscore just announced an advisor version of the product at Finovate Spring 2014, so I expect the application of gamification surrounding financial decision making to weave its way into the technology solutions you use with clients. So keep Flexscore on your radar and think about how gamaification might make sense in the technology you use with clients.]  Jason Gordo told me he was bringing FlexScore to Finovate because the online tool uses the popular tech trend of gamification to engage consumers in the process of goals-based wealth planning.

Watch Flexscore's Finovate Spring 2014 demo

Watch Flexscore’s Finovate Spring 2014 demo

Ten Ways the Next Generation of Financial Planners Will Change the Profession from Advisor Perspectives

[And finally, this week’s broadcast wraps up with commentary from the venerable Bob Veres, who writes at Advisor Perspectives about ten ways the next generation of financial planners are going to change the profession.

In his article, Veres highlights trends he sees among younger financial planners, which includes the complete outsourcing of investment management activity, charging clients a low-cost monthly subscription automatically paid by credit card, hosting videoconferences with Skype and Google Hangouts, and running through illustrations in financial planning software in real time with clients, either in the room or through a screen sharing programs.

But here’s the beef I have with Veres’ article: none of the ten characteristics are exclusive to younger financial planners. Whether you’re a new advisor or a veteran of the industry, you can use any of the ten techniques to streamline your business, add scalability, and enhance the experience you deliver to clients.

So if there’s one takeaway I have from Veres’ article, it’s the call to action of how quickly your business can implement useful technology and ultimately change the profession for the better.] Having interviewed a number of people who will attend the NexGen gathering, and others who are in their generational cohort, I have distilled the ten key themes that illustrate how the next generation of advisors will change the profession when they take the reins.

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

Ric Edelman: Stay Cutting-Edge on Technology or Fail from Think Advisor

Education is key to winning Next Gen assets from InvestmentNews.com

Five Easy-To-Use Tech Tools For Advisors from Financial Advisor Magazine

Motif Launches Products to Help Advisors Compete With Robo-Advisors from Think Advisor

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 9

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 9

Leave a comment

FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 2

On today’s broadcast, the Office of the Future has arrived. Find out what technology you should buy to be an advisor on the leading edge. Cybersecurity enforcement is coming from the SEC. How will you prepare your firm for this new round of exams? And, retirement illustrations get distilled down to two variables. How one company’s simplified tool can help clients make better investment choices, all in real time.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Laserfiche, a leading document management provider to financial advisors.

Laserfiche Logo

Laserfiche helps increase business value by automating client onboarding and document filing processes, all while supporting regulatory compliance. Download a free copy of their ROI for RIAs white paper by visiting fppad.com/laserfiche

Here are this week’s stories of interest:

Fidelity® Opens New Office of the Future to Show Financial Advisors First-Hand How to Embrace Technology from BusinessWire

Launch the virtual tour of the Office of the Future at Fidelity.com

[This week’s lead story comes from Fidelity Investments, as the company unveiled a radical approach to the advisor’s workplace called the Office of the Future. Fidelity’s Office of the Future is actually a real place you can visit at the company’s campus in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

If you can’t visit the office in person, Fidelity provides a 360-degree virtual tour online, where you can view technology that emphasizes seven trends relevant to advisors, including pervasive video, big data, gamification, and more.

But a part of me feels that the Office of the Future label is bit of a misnomer, as you can buy just about every piece of equipment installed in the Office of the Future today. Nevertheless, if you updated your technology with the kinds of tools and devices seen in Fidelity’s example, I think you’ll have a good chance of attracting new clients that have increased expectations about their advisor’s technology and overall service experience.] Fidelity Institutional, the division of Fidelity Investments® that provides clearing, custody and investment management products to registered investment advisors (RIAs), banks, broker-dealers and family offices, today announced the opening of the Office of the Future on its Smithfield, Rhode Island campus.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Cybersecurity Initiative from SEC.gov

[Now as all financial professionals use more technology in their businesses, the SEC is ramping up its oversight of the risks of all this technology through enhanced cybersecurity examinations.

Two weeks ago, the SEC released an extensive document covering dozens of items examiners may request when auditing the cybersecurity policies and procedures of a financial services firm, and that includes SEC-registered investment advisers.

Based on its list of requests, the SEC expects you to have a written security information policy, an inventory of hardware devices and software applications used in your business, details on when and how you conduct risk assessments, and a whole lot more.

It’s clear that enforcement regarding cybersecurity is about to get a lot tougher, which I feel is appropriate given the responsibility you have to keep your clients’ personal and financial account information safe from attacks.

So I recommend that whoever is responsible for addressing security in your firm review the nearly 30 individual items in the SEC’s sample request list and update your policies and procedures accordingly, and do it sooner rather than later.] OCIE is issuing this Risk Alert to provide additional information concerning its initiative to assess cybersecurity preparedness in the securities industry.

Introducing Retirement Maps from Riskalyze.com

[And finally, rounding out this week’s update is a new feature from Riskalyze called Retirement Maps. Now many advisors like to illustrate a client’s probability of success in funding their retirement goals projected many years into the future, but the extensive data entry required and time consuming Monte Carlo calculations performed by most software programs can often be a deterrent of doing so.

So the new Retirement Maps aims to significantly streamline this process. Here’s Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klien with more details:

Best of all, Retirement Maps is being offered as a free upgrade to all existing Riskalyze customers, and for a limited time, new Riskalyze customers will also receive a free lifetime upgrade as well.] After thousands of hours of research and development, our Core Technology team invented a new way to deterministically calculate the 95% probability years into the future. There’s no waiting for a long, slow recalculation: you get an interactive way to build a map for the client’s retirement right in front of their very eyes.

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

The new LinkedIn Compliance Program from LinkedIn

Our Certified Compliance Partners provide expert monitoring, archiving, and management of communications for enterprises in regulated industries. They help your social interactions remain effective while ensuring compliance with corporate governance policies and major regulations. 

Nashville wealth management startup raises $3 million from investors from Bizjournals.com

Wealth Access, a wealth management platform designed for financial advisers and high-net-worth clients, announced Wednesday that it had raised more than $3 million in a financing round that includes investments from a TNInvestco fund and a St. Louis financial technology accelerator.

XY Planning Network Adds Tech Partners from Financial Advisor magazine

XY Planning Network, the platform launched in early April by Michael Kitces and Alan Moore, announced Monday its list of “core” technology partners that will be available to current and new members of the platform, which is dedicated to helping young planners build a fee-only business targeting Gen X and Gen Y clients.

Orion Client Portal Goes Open Source from PRNewswire

Orion Advisor Services, LLC, the premier portfolio accounting service bureau, announces a complete redesign of the functionality and features of the client portal for its financial advisor clients. With this redesign, advisors have new capabilities to communicate more effectively with their clients, and give clients a complete snapshot of all their assets, whether managed by the advisor or not.

How the RIA business made a dent at the 2014 Finovate conference in San Jose from RIABiz.com

On the leading edge of financial services technology innovation, Personal Capital, Motif Investing, and more demo their latest features to change the way consumers engage with financial advisors.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 2

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 2

Leave a comment

FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 11

On today’s broadcast, a serious security flaw impacts two-thirds of the Internet. How this may affect the information you store online. Betterment announces the launch of an Institutional platform. Will they start winning turnkey asset management business from advisors? And learn how a new integration between Redtail and Riskalyze will help you monitor client portfolios to keep them in line with your client’s risk tolerance.

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. Wealthbox is collaborative, social, and outrageously simple CRM for financial advisors.

Wealthbox CRM

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

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

Here’s everything you need to know about the Heartbleed web security flaw from Gigaom, and

The Heartbleed FAQ for financial advisers from FPPad

[Leading off this week’s broadcast is news of a critical security flaw in a web browser encryption standard called OpenSSL, in use by an estimated two-thirds of all the servers connected to the Internet.

To summarize, the flaw, called “Heartbleed,” allows an attacker to use messages called “heartbeats” to trick a server into passing along sensitive information from its memory, which could include account passwords or the server’s private encryption keys. When hackers get access to that information, really bad things can happen.

So what can you do in response to the Heartbleed vulnerability? In all honesty, not too much. Assume the worst-case scenario, that an attacker has compromised your online passwords, so consider updating your passwords for affected websites to one that’s longer and more difficult to crack. You should also activate multi-factor authentication for any service where it is supported.] Researchers have discovered a serious flaw known as Heartbleed that affects the security software that runs on about two-thirds of the servers on the internet and could expose user data, including passwords. Here’s what you need to know about it

Tiburon CEO Summit extrudes big news: Betterment Institutional is born from RIABiz.com

[Next is an update from the online investment advice category, as this week Betterment revealed plans to introduce an institutional version of its technology to financial advisors.

In a fascinating report, RIABiz detailed how plans for Betterment Institutional were made public this week at the Tiburon CEO Summit in New York, as Betterment CEO Jon Stein and new Betterment partner and investor Steve Lockshin, known for founding Fortigent and Convergent Wealth Advisors, were both in attendance.

The soon-to-be-released offering from Betterment takes direct aim at existing turnkey asset management platforms, or TAMPs, which include well-known names like SEI, Envestnet, Adhesion, and even Fortigent itself, with an ultra-low cost offering of around 35 basis points all in.

Cut-throat pricing isn’t the only attraction of Betterment Institutional, as both advisors and clients will likely benefit from access to Betterment’s slick online dashboards and mobile app support for Android and iPhone.
So if you’ve considered outsourcing your investment management and reporting to a TAMP, Betterment Institutional will be a solution that deserves your close attention over the coming months.] Steve Lockshin lays out his plans for TAMP-like venture and how Michael Kitces, a public critic of the Betterment CEO, very much fits in

Redtail and Riskalyze Launch Next-Generation Integration Partnership from Riskalyze.com

[And finally, rounding out this week’s update is news of a new integration between Redtail Technology and Riskalyze. Redtail, known for its CRM, email, and imaging solutions now synchronizes client assets with Riskalyze, a client risk tolerance assessment tool and my pick for best client-facing technology of 2013, on a nightly basis.

In the other direction, Riskalyze updates client risk scores based on the synchronized account information and pushes them along with the client Risk Numbers over to the client’s profile in Redtail CRM. This is a time-saving upgrade as users of both solutions will no longer have to manually switch back and forth to keep assets or Risk Numbers up to date.] Redtail, the industry leader in advisor CRM, email and imaging, and Riskalyze, the company that invented the Risk Number, today announced a next-generation integration partnership that delivers incredible tools for advisors to grow their practices.

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

The Advisor’s Technology Swiss Army Knife from Morningstar Advisor

One advisor technology startup combines a suite of disparate business-development tools into one effective solution.

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 11, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 11, 2014

Leave a comment

The Heartbleed FAQ for financial advisers

Heartbleed for financial advisers

A security flaw dubbed “Heartbleed” has the potential to affect financial advisers and their clients

This is an evolving story, so in the interest in providing financial advisers with pertinent information about a serious vulnerability in Internet security, I’m offering this guide in a FAQ format.

What is Heartbleed?

Basically, “Heartbleed” is the name of a bug in software that many web-based services use to secure connections over the internet called OpenSSL. When you see the green padlock icon in your web browser’s address bar, chances are your online Internet session is encrypted with some form of the OpenSSL protocol.

The Heartbleed bug, discovered earlier this week, allows an attacker to use messages called “heartbeats” to trick a server into passing along sensitive information from its memory. The information could include account passwords or the server’s private encryption keys.

When hackers get access to that information, really bad things can happen.

Lots of additional details on Heartbleed can be found online, but you can start with the Wikipedia entry that is being updated in real time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heartbleed

How do I test a site if it’s vulnerable to Heartbleed?

Go to this website and type in the domain name of the service you want to test: http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/

The site I tested is vulnerable to Heartbleed! What do I do now?

Oh no! First, assume that your password has been compromised. If you use the same password for other online services, identify the other sites where it’s used.

BUT WAIT! Don’t reset your passwords on the vulnerable sites just yet!

You need to wait until the vendor updates their OpenSSL code to eliminate the vulnerability. Only AFTER you receive confirmation from the vendor that OpenSSL has been updated will it be safe to return to the service and reset your password. Next, skip to the question on multi-factor authentication to increase the security of your online accounts.

The site I tested is all clear. What do I do now?

Whew, what a relief! That one site hasn’t been exposed, but your passwords still may have been exposed from another site. One thing you can easily do to enhance the security of your account is to activate multi-factor authentication (see below).

What’s the multi-factor authentication you mentioned?

Multi-factor authentication is a process where you use two or more factors to successfully log in to a secure account. The “factors” take three forms:

  • Something You Know, like your username, password, PIN, or finger gesture pattern.
  • Something You Have, like your ATM card, security token, smartcard, or mobile phone.
  • Something You Are, like your fingerprint, retina, voice, or typing rhythm.

Combining two or more of these factors substantially increases the difficulty of compromising your online account.

Assume that your password was compromised due to the Heartbleed bug and a hacker attempts to use it. If you implemented multi-factor authentication, the hacker also needs to satisfy the second factor of authentication in order to access your account. If you use your mobile phone to receive a login code, the hacker would not only need to know your password but also have physical access to your mobile phone to identify the login code.

Is there list that shows what sites support multi-factor authentication?

I’m glad you asked! Last week I identified an outstanding resource on multi-factor authentication in this post, Who supports two factor authentication? Find out in this awesome chart.

The site is twofactorauth.org and it’s totally worth your time right now to review the list of services and activate multi-factor authentication for any login

Can I do something to my web browser to validate the security of my session?

Yes, you can tweak your web browser settings to enforce more stringent security settings for your online sessions. While it’s not a guarantee against the Heartbleed vulnerability, the settings shown below will check if a site’s security certificate has been revoked before establishing a connection.

With thanks to Levi on Twitter, here are some changes you can make to Chrome and Firefox:

Also, courtesy of Dan Santner, here is a link to a more comprehensive scanning tool for a server’s SSL integrity:

The results of that test resemble a grade shown below:

A report generated by the Qualys  SSL Server Test

A report generated by the Qualys SSL Server Test

Add your questions below

Did I miss any important details? Is something unclear in one of my answers?

Let me know in the comments below and I’ll update this FAQ accordingly.

Leave a comment