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The Best Financial Advisor Technology of 2014

Welcome to this special edition of FPPad Bits and Bytes, the Best Tech of 2014! On today’s broadcast, this is my last show of the year, meaning it’s time to review the top technology news from the last 12 months that matters to your business. That’s right, it’s time for my Best Tech of 2014 awards.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(Watch the Best Tech of 2014 on YouTube)

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

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

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

This week’s episode is all about my picks for the Best Technology of 2014. This is my fifth year highlighting top technology for financial advisors and wealth managers, and as always, I break down award winners into three categories: the best back office technology, the best client-facing technology, and the best overall innovation of the year.

Best Back-Office Technology

So let’s begin with the Best Back-Office Technology award winner, which is a product or service that boosts the overall efficiency and productivity of your back office and makes a direct impact to your bottom line.

The Best Back-Office Technology of 2014 award goes to (drumroll please) the Motif Advisor Platform.

Unveiled at Finovate Spring 2014 where it won Best of Show, the Motif Advisor Platform is a solution you can use to build, manage and rebalance your own motifs on behalf of clients. You can combine up to 30 stocks and ETFs into your own custom motif and trade the entire strategy for one flat fee.

Pricing for the Motif Advisor Platform starts at $20 per month per customer, so the Motif Advisor Platform takes top honors this year because it helps you be much more efficient when managing custom portfolios AND it saves your clients money in transaction fees that might normally be charged for trading individual securities and ETFs.

Honorable mention in this category goes to Riskalyze, for its enterprise Compliance Cloud risk-monitoring solution, and the TD Ameritrade Institutional Veo Open Access Dashboard, consolidating dozens of technology integrations into one highly-functional web-based screen.

Best Client-Facing Technology

Next up is the award for the Best Client-Facing Technology. Now the winner in this category must significantly enhance the client-facing elements of your business and facilitate your interactions with clients. Clients benefit from improved personalized service as well as an increased level of convenience when using such technology.

I think all of you will agree that the growth of online investment services has really upped the ante when it comes to the client-facing elements of your technology. So it’s no surprise that the winner in this category is part of the online investment providers, but for me, one of them just barely edged out the others in taking top honors.

This year’s Best Client-Facing Technology award goes to (wait for it) Betterment Institutional.

But like I said, Betterment Institutional just barely edged out the other solutions built for advisors like Guide Financial, Jemstep Advisor Pro, Upside Advisor, Oranj, Wealth Access and several more. Why?

Because Betterment has a solid track record on the consumer side with over 50,000 customers, plus it has the advantage of having Steve Lockshin providing direction for the company based on his experience in the independent advisor market with Fortigent and AdvicePeriod.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think the other advisor-focused solutions have an equal shot at significant growth in this space, which didn’t make the award selection process any easier. But the good news for you is that you have a number of choices in this low-cost online investment category when you’re ready to add this offering to your business model.

Honorable mention here goes to Estate Assist for its online safe deposit box that helps clients manage their growing digital assets.

Innovation of the Year

And finally, the third category in my annual Best Technology of 2014 awards is the Innovation of the Year. This award goes to a product or service that introduces a new business practice or service experience to your business. This innovative tool should transform the way you interact with clients, enhance your overall efficiency, or even enable the delivery of new services not possible or practical in the past.

The award for Innovation of the year goes to (thank you) Engage, from Orion Advisor Services.

Out of all the new products we’ve seen in 2014, Engage is one of those solutions that I feel breaks new ground.

It begins with videos you create to communicate with clients, which you really should think about doing in 2015, but what Engage allows you to do it customize the video content you send to clients in an automated fashion.

Engage integrates performance data from Orion, graphic elements from MoneyGuidePro, and calendar scheduling from Redtail CRM, and embeds the information directly in your videos. So you only need to record one video, but Engage makes it seem like you created hundreds of videos, each with graphics and information specific to your clients.

It’s pretty cool stuff, and that’s a technical term, and a little ahead of its time, as a lot of you just aren’t ready to communicate with clients using video, which is why I feel Engage from Orion deserves to be recognized for its innovation this year.

Closing out this year’s award is an honorable mention to Gladstone Associates for their new streamlined business valuation toolkit that uses technology integrations to efficiently gather data about your business.

Your Feedback

So what do you think about my choices for Best Tech of 2014? Did I make the right choices, or did I completely blow it?

You’ve got to let me know! Leave a comment below, send me a message on Twitter using @billwinterberg, or leave a comment on the FPPad YouTube channel.

Thank you so much for being a part of the FPPad community throughout 2014, and I wish you all the best in 2015!

 

Watch my broadcast on the Best Tech of 2014 for financial advisors

Watch my broadcast on the Best Tech of 2014 for financial advisors

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 12

On today’s broadcast, Financial Planning magazine’s annual tech survey is here. Find out who makes up this year’s winners and losers in advisor technology. Fidelity announces a new collaboration with LearnVest. How will this partnership help you with your digital advice delivery to clients? And, Wealthfront fires the first salvo at the separately managed account industry. Does this new service have the potential to put pricing pressure on the SMAs you use today?

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(Click to watch on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by the 2015 T3 Conference, Advisor Edition, exclusively designed for the technology needs of independent financial advisors.

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You can get $50 off the regular registration rate by using the promo code “2015T3FPPAD,” so reserve your spot to the event Michael Kitces calls the Best for Advisor Technology by visiting technologytoolsfortoday.com

Now here are the links to this week’s top stories:

Tech Survey 2015: What’s New Now? from Financial Planning

[This week’s top story comes from Financial Planning magazine, as technology columnist Joel Bruckenstein revealed the results of the publication’s annual technology survey of financial professionals. The first surprise of the survey involves tools advisors use to assess client risk tolerance.

For the longest time, the risk assessment category has been dominated by FinaMetrica, the Australian-based firm that launched its client profiling tools back in 1998. Today, assessment tools from Riskalyze and PocketRisk have gained respectable adoption among advisors. But roughly 50% of survey respondents admitted that they don’t use any risk profiling tools, so if you’re part of that 50%, you might want to consider adding one of these solutions to your technology plan for 2015.

Also gaining traction are portfolio rebalancing solutions, as these tools are now in use by more than half of all survey respondents, a first for the category. TD Ameritrade Institutional’s iRebal earned top honors, with Envestnet|Tamarac and Orion Advisor Services rounding out the top three solutions in use today. And with all of the low-cost online investment solutions touting their rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting attributes, I expect to see rebalancing software adoption to continue to grow as advisors match the rebalancing capabilities of the online providers.

Other than that, this year’s survey is pretty similar to the one from 2013, with TD Ameritrade Institutional taking top honors in advisor satisfaction, MoneyGuide Pro cited as the most popular financial planning software, and Junxure, Salesforce, and Redtail duking it out once again for top honors among CRM software depending on how you slice the data.] In the advisor technology sphere, it used to be enough to look for evidence of change. What’s different now is the velocity of the action.

Fidelity Institutional Announces New Collaboration with LearnVest from Fidelity Institutional

[Speaking of online investment solutions, the next story comes from Fidelity Institutional, as the company recently announced a new collaboration with LearnVest, the online technology-enabled financial planning provider. This news follows Fidelity’s announcement last month of a similar collaboration with Betterment Institutional, where Fidelity will list the online investment service in its list of resources advisors should consider as they contemplate ways to attract the next generation of investors.

Under the collaboration, advisors can publish what’s called a “financial wellness” micro website that features educational content produced by LearnVest. In addition, advisors can offer the LearnVest planning program to their clients under a preferred pricing agreement.

Now I’m all in favor of advisors embracing digital advice delivery at an affordable price, buy why should you be piggybacking off of LearnVest’s content? Shouldn’t YOU be the one delivering valuable financial planning content to your clients and prospects? If you have the resources, you should be building your own website, creating your own content, and training yourself and your colleagues to deliver your message with compelling video content. Yes, it takes time and a nominal financial investment, but I bevel the potential reward is worth it.

However, if you don’t have the talent or the resources to make this happen, then the LearnVest collaboration at least gives you a starting point to bridge the gap between your current service model and the technology-enabled relationships that emerging clients are demanding.] Fidelity Institutional, the division of Fidelity Investments® that provides clearing, custody and investment management products to registered investment advisors (RIAs), retirement recordkeepers, broker-dealers, family offices and banks, today announced a new collaboration with LearnVestTM, as well as additional resources to help advisors explore options to digitize their practices.

Direct Indexing: The Next Generation of Index Investing from Wealthfront

[And finally, it seems like I can’t stop talking about online investment services this week, as this time it’s Wealthfront making headlines, as the company just announced a new offering called Direct Index investing. Starting with an account minimum of $100,000, Wealthfront will purchase individual securities and ETFs on behalf of its customers that are benchmarked against the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF. Holding individual securities instead of funds and ETFs allows Wealthfront to track the performance of the index, but harvest individual gains and losses from individual in securities to be more tax efficient.

If this sounds a lot like separately managed accounts, or SMAs, that advisors use today, that’s because it is. So while Direct Index Investing isn’t anything new, Wealthfront is now able to offer the service with very low account minimums and charges its low annual management fee of just 25 basis points, which could very well put pricing pressure on many of the SMA providers you use like Parametric, Envestnet, Nuveen, and more.] Today, we are very excited to announce the expansion and improvement of our unique direct indexing technology. With this release, the Wealthfront Direct Indexing Platform will extend the benefits of direct indexing to broader sets of clients, with increased tax benefits and lower costs.

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

Junxure Expands Relationship and CRM Integration with Advent Software

Junxure CRM, an industry-leading practice improvement firm for financial advisors that integrates CRM technology, consulting, and training, today announced the expansion of its relationship with Advent Software, a leading provider of software and services for the global investment management industry. Advent’s Black Diamond(SM) wealth management platform now offers an integrated experience with Junxure Cloud, Junxure’s cloud-based CRM/office management solution. 

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 12, 2014

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for November 21

On today’s broadcast, Advizr launches its eponymous financial planning software. Will its easy-to-use interface win adoption from advisors? iQuantifi actually wants to be known as a robo advisor. Find out how soon you might be using this automated planning tool in your business. And, we’ve all seen our fair share of awful PowerPoint slides. Learn about the new app Microsoft is releasing that can inject some inspiration back into your presentations.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(Click to watch 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

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

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

Now here are the links to this week’s top stories:

Tech Review: Advizr’s New Planning Tool from Financial Planning Magazine

[This week’s top story comes from who else, Joel Bruckenstein, as he reviewed a new entrant to the financial planning software space called Advizr. In his November column for Financial Planning magazine, Bruckenstein offers an overview of Advizr’s easy to use interface, designed to make a financial plan from start to finish in about 20 to 30 minutes.

Now Advizr is not the most comprehensive planning software on the market, but that’s by design in order to make the data intake and plan calibration process as straightforward as possible. One desirable characteristic is that you can send a link to clients who then enter their own information into a plan using the Advizr wizard. Advizr automatically creates a preliminary financial plan for you that you can review, customize and tweak to create the finished plan along with action steps for clients.

Note: The new myMoneyGuide Lab from MoneyGuide Pro uses a similar strategy, so watch the video to learn more. And look for the chicken!] Over the past several years, few new players in the financial planning space have developed innovative software. Instead, innovation has mostly come from more established names, such as MoneyGuidePro, Finance Logix and Advicent (which makes NaviPlan). So it’s refreshing to see a small startup, Advizr, enter the fray with a somewhat fresh approach to financial planning.

Financial Advisor Becomes Robo-Advisor from Financial Advisor Magazine, and

The DoughRoller Podcast with @iQuantifi Founder Tom White

[Next up is news of another financial planning software solution called iQuantifi, but what makes iQuantifi different is that the company enthusiastically embraces the robo advisor moniker. I first connected with iQuantifi founder Tom White when he demoed an early version of his software at Finovate Spring 2012 in San Francisco.

Since then, White has made significant updates to the platform, attracted some early-stage venture capital, and just recently announced plans to introduce a version of iQuantifi for use by advisors.

But like Advizr that I mentioned earlier, White says that iQuantifi deals with “level one financial planning,” and not the complicated needs of high net worth investors. But for less than $100 a year for consumers, iQuantifi is an attractive bridge between the custom financial plans created by advisors for a few thousand dollars and no plan at all. Nevertheless, iQuantifi deserves a spot on your radar if you’re interested in delivering basic, scalable planning to emerging clients at an affordable price.] Tom White used to be a human financial advisor. Now he runs a fully automated virtual advisor called iQuantifi, and he’s embraced his new role. “We consider ourselves to be the only true robo advisor. We’re not afraid of that word because we’re here to help,” he said earlier this autumn during his allotted seven-minute presentation at Finovate, a conference in New York City showcasing the future of financial and banking technology.

Microsoft Is Sick Of PowerPoint, Too from Business Insider

[And finally, all this talk about financial plans makes me think of how you use presentations to convey information to clients. If you’re guilty of committing death by PowerPoint, there are a number of alternative tools out there like Prezi, SlideShark, and Haiku Deck, but Microsoft isn’t going to let those products take users away from it’s bread-and-butter presentation software.

So this week, Microsoft started offering preview invitations to Sway, a new app you can use to easily create elegant presentations that work across most devices. Sway is a web-based app that uses photos, videos, and files from your computer, social media accounts, YouTube, and cloud storage services. If you’re ready to migrate away from uninspiring PowerPoint templates but don’t want to leave the Microsoft ecosystem, Sway might just be the app you’re looking for.] We can’t even remember the last time we saw someone under 30 fire up a PowerPoint instead of a Prezi when giving a talk. Microsoft hopes to put the kibosh on that with Microsoft Sway, its new presentation app.

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

A Major Overhaul from Financial Advisor Magazine

There were a number of announcements that came out of the recently concluded Advent Connect conference, but the one that intrigued me was the news surrounding the next version of Black Diamond’s Blue Sky platform.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for November 21, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for November 21, 2014

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Schwab IMPACT 2014: Conference wrap up

Watch the video above for a wrap up of Schwab IMPACT 2014.

For this video, I joined Technology Tools for Today co-founder Joel Bruckenstein for a discussion of the top technology highlights from Schwab IMPACT 2014. Hear why Bruckenstein says this year’s event was one of his “favorite Schwab IMPACT conferences ever.”

(Click here to watch on YouTube)

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Schwab IMPACT 2014: Day two highlights

Watch the video above for highlights from day two of Schwab IMPACT 2014.

Brian Shenson, VP of Schwab Advisor Services, addresses the company’s rebranding of Schwab OpenView Mobile to Schwab Advisor Mobile Connect and Project PM2 to Schwab Advisor Portfolio Connect.

(Click here to watch on YouTube)

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Schwab IMPACT 2014: Day one highlights

Watch the video above for a quick technology-focused recap of day one at Schwab IMPACT 2014.

This includes an interview with SVP of Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Naureen Hassan addressing the benefits of the pending automated investment service to be released in 2015.

(Click here to watch on YouTube)

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Schwab IMPACT 2104: Conference preview

Schwab IMPACT 2014 kicked off today at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO, drawing nearly 5,000 attendees to this long-running industry event.

Of the 5,000 attendees, roughly 1,900 are registered investment advisers who custody or otherwise have a business connection with Schwab Advisor Services.

Top keynote sessions in the Schwab IMPACT 2014 agenda include former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and former President George W. Bush. Over 65 educational sessions are part of the three-day event situated in the foothills of snow-dusted peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

Watch the conference preview video above to get a sense of what’s coming from Schwab IMPACT 2014 this week. (click here to watch on YouTube)

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 31

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

FPPad Quick Hits

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

Schwab to offer free ‘robo-advice’ from Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 24

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

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

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

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

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

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

Now on to this week’s top stories:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TD Ameritrade Offers Robo Technology to Advisers from WSJ.com

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

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

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

Inbox from GMail: The inbox that works for you

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

Junxure Enhances Its Cloud CRM from ThinkAdvisor

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

Encryption: What Advisors Need to Know from Financial Planning

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

Erado Announces Expanded Partnership with Investacorp from Digital Journal

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

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 24, 2014

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 17

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

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

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

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

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

Robo advisor Betterment works with Fidelity in RIA push from CNBC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 17, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 17, 2014

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