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FPPad Bits and Bytes for February 27

On today’s broadcast, Envestnet acquires Upside, the laptop you’re using right now could be vulnerable to attacks, and Mobile Assistant releases updates that will speed up your dictation workflow

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

TRX just announced TRX Edge, a completely rewritten rebalancing platform optimized for the web as well as mobile devices. Sign up for a demo of TRX Edge and also download their white paper on rebalancing ROI by visiting fppad.com/trx

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

Envestnet Acquires Upside from Envestnet

[First up this week is a late-breaking announcement by Envestnet that the company will acquire online investment provider Upside for an undisclosed amount. I’ve covered Upside in several broadcasts before, as their automated investment service is meant to be used by advisors, and their service powers Liftoff, launched last year by high-profile advisors Barry Ritholtz of the Big Picture and Josh Brown, The Reformed Broker. Oh, happy belated birthday, Josh!

Now this is the first online investment provider to be acquired by a larger vendor. Remember, Fidelity Institutional did not acquire Betterment Institutional, they simply announced a collaboration with the company last year (watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 17, 2014), so I expect several more acquisitions to be announced this year. You might want to keep an eye on JemStep, SigFig, and Wealth Access, but you didn’t hear that from me!

Now news of this deal broke while I was already in the studio filming this week’s broadcast, so you’ll need to visit fppad.com/154 for more details, like Envestnet’s Thursday afternoon conference call, and see how this acquisition will shake up the online automated investment landscape for advisors.] Envestnet, Inc., a leading provider of unified wealth management technology and services to financial advisors, announced today that it has acquired Upside, a technology company providing digital advice solutions to financial advisors. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Lenovo PCs ship with man-in-the-middle adware that breaks HTTPS connections from ArsTechnica, and

How Lenovo’s Superfish ‘Malware’ Works And What You Can Do To Kill It from Forbes

Test your computer with The SuperFish vulnerability test at Filippo.io

And visit SuperFish Vulnerability from Lenovo Support

[Um, it’s accumulating, so next up is news of the SuperFish controversy affecting users of Lenovo laptop and desktop computers. For roughly four months in 2014, Lenovo shipped 16 million PCs pre-installed with a “visual search” plugin called SuperFish.

While preloaded software that serves up ads is annoying, security experts discovered a vulnerability in the way encryption certificates were handled. I’ll spare you the technical details, but this means if you’re using a Lenovo computer with SuperFish preinstalled, your web browser sessions could be vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, potentially exposing some of your confidential information.

So how do you know if you’re infected? I’ve linked to a SuperFish vulnerability test in this week’s show notes at fppad.com/154, and you will also find a link to Lenovo’s support site with instructions on how to remove SuperFish from your computer.]

Lenovo is selling computers that come preinstalled with adware that hijacks encrypted Web sessions and may make users vulnerable to HTTPS man-in-the-middle attacks that are trivial for attackers to carry out, security researchers said.

Mobile Assistant Announces New Version of iPhone App; Integration With Salesforce; Enhanced Integration With Redtail Technology from MarketWired

[I’m going to need a shovel soon, so let’s finish up with news from Mobile Assistant, the popular dictation service advisors use to streamline their note taking workflow. This week, Mobile Assistant released an updated iPhone app that offers an expanded notes section with search features, optional push notifications when dictation jobs are completed, and better visibility into the amount of dictation lines used in each billing cycle.

The dictation service also added Salesforce to the list of CRMs that can import completed dictations to client records, and if you’re a Redtail CRM user, you’ll now be able to sign up for a free trial of Mobile Assistant directly from Redtail without having to retype any of your personal information. So if you’re still in the habit of manually typing in notes after a client meeting, give dictation services a try and see how much your productivity can improve.] Mobile Assistant, Inc., the fastest growing mobile dictation service in the financial and insurance industries, is pleased to announce that it has launched the newest version of its iPhone App in parallel with full integration with Salesforce, the nation’s leading cloud based CRM platform.

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

Fidelity Investments® Aligns Clearing and Custody Units; Strengthens Commitment to Innovation in Financial Advice Industry from BusinessWire.com

Fidelity Institutional, the division of Fidelity Investments® that provides clearing, custody and investment management products to registered investment advisors (RIAs), broker-dealers, family offices, retirement recordkeepers and banks, today announced the alignment of its clearing and custody units.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for February 27, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for February 27, 2015

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for February 20

On today’s broadcast, I have explosive news from eMoney, Riskalyze, Betterment, Schwab and Orion.

So buckle your seat belt, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(WatchFPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

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

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

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

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

eMoney Reveals New emX Select Dashboard At 2015 T3 Conference from WealthManagement.com

[Now you probably know that the Super Bowl of advisor technology, a.k.a. the T3 conference, was held in Dallas last week. By last count, there were over 40 press releases made at the event, but since this is just a five minute show, here are my picks for the most important stories.

First up is eMoney Advisor, as their CEO Edmund Walters took the stage with no slide deck, no apologies, and proceeded to shock the audience with a preview of emX Select, completed by a video filled with explosions.

Awesome, right?!? On everyone’s mind was the Fidelity acquisition, so Walters told the packed ballroom eMoney “had to sell” because “this tech is expensive” and he wants to “kick the crap out of the B2C” robo advisors (implosion!).

I told you, ! No apologies.

From what I’ve seen so far, emX Select resembles the Veo One™ dashboard recently announced by TD Ameritrade Institutional (you did watch my Veo One coverage, right?) but eMoney aims to have 28 integrations by September, which beats the 11 integrations planned for Veo One, one of which includes eMoney Advisor. Interesting!] On Friday at the 2015 T3 Conference in Dallas, eMoney Advisor, recently acquired by Fidelity for $250 million, gave advisors the first look at its new emX Select platform.

CLS Investments and Riskalyze Join Forces to Launch Autopilot, Arming Advisors With the Digital Tools Needed to Neutralize Robo-Threat from Riskalzye, and

Riskalyze Reinvents the Client Meeting from Riskalyze

[Next up is Riskalyze, as CEO Aaron Klein announced a new partnership with Omaha-based CLS Investments to provide an end-to-end online investment service called Autopilot. At a high level, Autopilot is similar to Betterment Institutional, Upside, JemStep and others where clients answer an online questionnaire and can then invest directly in a recommended portfolio allocation based on their answers.

Klein also demonstrated a new tool called Meetings, a simple way advisors can conduct screen sharing with remote clients without exposing private data, embarrassing cat videos, or the random Godzilla attack (woah!) that might pop up on an advisor’s screen. Meetings comes out February 23rd, so make sure you give it a try.] Autopilot Will Offer Automated Asset Management and Risk Measurement, Embedded Into an Advisory Firm’s Existing Website.

Betterment Valued At Nearly $500 Million In New Round from the Wall St. Journal

[And let’s crush this broadcast (woah!) with a quick roundup of other news: Betterment just raised another $60 million in venture capital for a total of $105 million. What are they going to do with the cash? Betterment CEO Jon Stein says they’re going to refine algorithms to answer questions like “Am I saving enough relative to my goals?” Warning: financial planning algorithms ahead!] New York-based Betterment is closing a new $60 million round, the company is set to announce on Thursday.

Schwab tells the SEC its robo-advisor has a 30 basis-point fee and big-time cash allocations held by Schwab Bank from RIABiz.com, and

Schwab Wealth Investment Advisory, Inc. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios™ Disclosure Brochure from SEC.gov

[Schwab’s Form ADV for their Intelligent Portfolios robo-solution revealed the service is “technically” free, but they will use client cash, aka the “sweep allocation” for Schwab Bank activity where Schwab earns income on the spread, so Intelligent Portfolios discloses that most strategies maintain a higher sweep allocation than other providers designed to fully invest client cash. But hey, it’s “free” and consumers LOVE free!] The Charles Schwab Corp. will charge a fee of 30 basis points to clients of its robo-advisor, but those investors will not pay it out of pocket because Schwab affiliates will reimburse the client behind the scenes, according to SEC documents relating to Schwab Intelligent Portfolios.

TA Associates to acquire majority interest in NorthStar from Orion Advisor Services

[And finally, private equity firm TA Associates recently signed an agreement to acquire a majority interest in NorthStar Financial Services Group, the parent company of Orion Advisor Services, CLS Investments, Gemini Fund Services and six other sister companies. So you’ve been asking me, is this good or bad, specifically for Orion. I believe it’s good, and here’s why: Orion has a strong track record of growth, Orion’s leadership will remain in place, the company remains privately held, and now there’s extra cash available for strategic opportunities.] TA Associates, a leading global growth private equity firm, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a majority interest in NorthStar Financial Services Group, LLC, and its nine subsidiary wealth management industry service providers.

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

Advicent Unveils Narrator™, a Tool for Advisors to Fight Commoditization, at T3 Conference from Advicent.com

Advicent Solutions announced at the 2015 T3 (Technology Tools for Today) Conference at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, that it is launching a new product for the North American market—the Narrator™ application builder. The product is available to buy immediately.

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for February 20, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for February 20, 2015

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Orion Advisor Services parent company Northstar to be acquired by private equity firm TA Associates

TA Associates to acquire NorthStar Financial Services Group, parent company of Orion Advisor Services

Hot off the wires this morning (thank you FiComm) is news of another acquisition in the advisor fintech space.

Today, private equity firm TA Associates announced an agreement to acquire a majority interest in NorthStar Financial Services Group, LLC.

Orion Advisor Services included in the deal

Orion Advisor Services

NorthStar has nine subsidiaries under the company, with Orion Advisor Services, LLC being the most recognizable to advisers interested in financial technology solutions for their business. Collectively, NorthStar and its subsidiaries manage and administer roughly $275 billion in assets, with Orion making up at least $180 billion of that amount (see: Orion Celebrates Fifteen Years of Serving Advisors With Record Growth from Marketwired.com)

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This comes on the heels of two acquisitions announced last week. First, Fidelity announced a deal to acquire eMoney for a rumored amount of $250 million according to sources close to the deal, followed by an announcement by SS&C Technologies to acquire Advent Software for $2.7 billion.

With three M&A deals in one week, financial technology service providers are proving to be attractive targets for acquisition.

The Future of FinTech M&A

Looking to the future, these deals seem to validate two trends in the industry. First, independent advisory firms continue to seek ways to scale their operational efficiency, and trusted third party providers offer attractive solutions to achieve such goals. Outsourced portfolio management (Orion Advisor Services and Advent Software) and account aggregation, client portals, and streamlined financial planning (eMoney Advisor) give advisers the leverage they need to growth their business without having to add significant overhead or add to the headcount of the firm.

Second, independent advisory firms are poised to continue to attract business from clients and investors dissatisfied with traditional wirehouse and brokerage providers, which may lead to a significant shift in asset flows away from transaction- and product-oriented businesses to fiduciary advice offered by independent RIAs.

Since M&A activity has dramatically picked up in 2015, here’s my question to you:

Who’s next?

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for February 6

On today’s broadcast, the rumors are true: eMoney gets acquired by Fidelity Investments, Advent Software gets acquired by SS&C Technologies, and the SEC reveals troubling cybersecurity issues after its first round of broker-dealer and adviser examinations.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(Click to watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Wealthbox CRM.  Version 1.7 just released with delectable features like two-way Google Calendar synchronization, support for popular email newsletter services, an integrated Facebook feed, and more!

Wealthbox CRM

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

Here are this week’s stories of interest:

Fidelity Investments® Acquires eMoney Advisor from BusinessWire, and

Fidelity Acquires eMoney Advisor PFM Dashboard, Gets Financial Planning Software Thrown In? from Kitces.com

[This week’s top story that EVERYONE is talking about is eMoney’s acquisition by Fidelity Investments. Sources close to the deal cited a purchase price “north of $250 million” with a valuation around four times eMoney’s revenue. This deal marks the first time I can recall an institutional custodian taking ownership of a financial planning software provider. Nearly a dozen others that I listed on FPPad are all privately held with no custodial affiliation.

So the burning question is: What’s the future of eMoney? Executives from eMoney and Fidelity reaffirmed that the company will continue to operate independently, but have the financial backing of Fidelity to accelerate product development and growth. Now for me, eMoney seemed to be doing just fine on its own, always having a top spot in advisor technology surveys and having just released a big emX update two months ago, so did they really need to make a deal?

But on the other hand, if you read Michael Kitces’ take on Nerd’s Eye View, he believes Fidelity purchased eMoney primarily for its client-facing personal financial management tool, or PFM, that works a lot like Mint.com, and just happened to get eMoney’s financial planning software along with the deal. Robo-investment allocators are raising the stakes on client-facing dashboards, but buying eMoney for its PFM solution just doesn’t add up to me.

There are many other PFM options and client-facing dashboards out there like Aqumulate, Blueleaf, MoneyDesktop (MX), and even Personal Capital, who built their own, probably for a lot less than $250 million. So really, nobody knows what the future holds now that eMoney is under Fidelity’s ownership, and you can add me to the list of speculators that can only guess how this deal will influence your decision on what financial planning software you choose to use.] Fidelity Investments® announced today that it has agreed to acquire eMoney Advisor, a leading wealth planning software company, as part of Fidelity’s commitment to deliver an industry leading suite of innovative and meaningful tools and technology to its customers.

SS&C acquires rival Advent Software for $2.7 billion from IBS Intelligence

[Next up is news of another deal, as Advent Software is going to be acquired by SS&C Technologies for $2.7 billion. SS and who? I had never heard of them either until this week, because SS&C is primarily focused on institutions and enterprises, not independent RIAs.

So on the institutional side, the deal makes sense because SS&C is already the largest user of Advent’s Geneva solution, with around 2,400 internal users. But what about the Axys and Black Diamond solutions used by you, the independent adviser?

Bill Stone, SS&C’s chairman and CEO, said in a conference call that the company “did not see anything in Advent’s portfolio that we’d want to rationalise” and “killing a product is the last thing you want to do.”

Cough, TechFi.

So, Advent users, you’re in a little bit of limbo, too until we see this deal pan out, but I suspect not a whole lot will change in the near term. These are well-established companies with mature products that collectively have very high user retention.] The acquisitive US-based firm, SS&C, has expanded its presence in the wealth management software market with the all-cash acquisition of rival Advent Software.

Cybersecurity Examination Sweep Summary from SEC.gov

[And finally, the SEC released its first Cybersecurity Examination Sweep Summary this week, outlining key findings from over a hundred broker-dealer and RIA examinations. Here are my most important takeaways:

3 out of 4 advisers have been the target of cyber attacks, only 1 out of 5 advisers actually have cybersecurity insurance, and very few advisers know where to identify best practices on cybersecurity. Here’s a hint: THIS SHOW is one of them!

Clearly I should dedicate a show in the future exclusively to cybersecurity, but in the meantime, download my free guide on security at fppad.com/security and connect a vendor that specializes in RIA best practices like Itegria, Envision RIA, External IT, True North Networks, Right Size Solutions, and others.] OCIE’s National Examination Program staff, recently examined 57 registered broker-dealers and 49 registered investment advisers to better understand how broker-dealers and advisers address the legal, regulatory, and compliance issues associated with cybersecurity.

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

Wealthbox 1.7 – New Integrations & Enhancements from Wealthbox

Today we’re releasing Wealthbox CRM version 1.7 with a flavorful assortment of new add-ons and enhancements.

Advizr Announces Strategic Partnership with Blueleaf Portfolio Management and Reporting Software from BusinessWire

Advizr, a next generation financial planning software, today announced a strategic partnership with Blueleaf, a leading client engagement, data automation and reporting platform for advisors and clients.

Cambridge to have robo offering for advisers in 2016 from InvestmentNews.com

Independent broker-dealer Cambridge Investment Research Inc. plans to have a competitive robo-type offering that works in sync with its 3,000 advisers’ practices in 2016.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for February 6, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for February 6, 2015

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Fidelity Investments acquires eMoney Advisor

Fidelity Investment acquires eMoney Advisor

Fidelity Investments’ acquisition of eMoney Advisor makes the custodian invested in financial planning software.

Updated 7:54 AM ET, February 3, 2015 with valuation information

Fidelity Investments today announced the acquisition of eMoney Advisor, the Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based provided of popular financial planning and adviser marketing solutions.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed by Fidelity Investments.

“North of $250 million”

Some sources cited a purchase price “north of $250 million” and a valuation of four times eMoney’s annual revenue in this Philly.com article.

Sources not authorized to speak publicly on the matter told me the valuation was closer to eight times eMoney’s annual revenue for a purchase price between $250 and $300 million. (Note: we’ll never know the true terms as both companies are privately held and not required to disclose the terms.)

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® will retain a minority interest in eMoney Advisor and will continue to use the solution as one of eMoney’s largest clients.

Independent Planning

Today’s acquisition marks the first time I can recall an institutional custodian has taken majority ownership of a financial planning software provider.

I’ve taken the liberty of listing many of the other popular financial planning solutions along with their respective parent company affiliation(s) where applicable.

  • MoneyGuidePro, owned by PIETech, Inc., Private
  • FinanceLogix, owned by OLTIS Software, LLC., Private
  • inStream Solutions, Inc., Private, unknown private equity affiliation
  • Advicent Solutions (provider of NaviPlan® and Profiles™), Vista Equity Partners, a U.S.-based private equity firm
  • Guide Financial, Private
  • MoneyTree Software, Private
  • Advizr, Private
  • SunGard, operating under SunGard Financial Systems, a subsidiary of SunGard Data Systems Inc., Private under ownership of Bain Capital LLC, Blackstone Group LP, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners LP, KKR & Co LP, Providence Equity Partners Inc, Silver Lake and TPG Capital LP
  • WealthTec, Private
  • GoalGamiPro, Advisor Software, Inc., Private

If you have more details regarding the providers listed or wish to add any solutions to the list, please contact me.

Accelerating Integrations

Several questions come to my mind once Fidelity Investments finishes its eMoney acquisition.

Will eMoney continue to support integrations with competing institutional custodians, or is a walled garden strategy coming for the popular planning software? Will the new ownership expand integrations and custodial support, restrict them, or simply maintain today’s status quo?

Ed O’Brien, senior vice president of Technology Platforms for Fidelity Institutional, and Edmund Walters, eMoney Advisor Founder and CEO, graciously carved out a few minutes to converse by phone regarding my questions.

“Our vision at eMoney is not just about delivering financial planning, but making the adviser’s life easier through technology,” said Walters. “Developing integrations with leading technology providers allows us to do that, and now with Fidelity behind us, we will accelerate it.”

O’Brien added by saying, “We want eMoney to continue to accelerate their role in the marketplace to deliver the best advisor experience possible, and that helps make what Fidelity does better.”

In addition, eMoney publicly assured others with similar questions that the company will “continue to operate independently as a standalone entity” in an update on the company Twitter feed this morning.

How Will Custodians Respond?

Consider, however, the perspective of other custodians serving independent financial advisers. How eager will they be to integrate and pass data to eMoney Advisor once it falls under ownership of a competing custodian?

For example, TD Ameritrade Institutional just announced at its conference last week that the new Veo One™ platform will soon integrate data from eMoney Advisor (watch Veo One preview from the National LINC 2015 Conference).

With eMoney falling under Fidelity Investments’ ownership, what’s in the future for eMoney integrations supported by competing custodians?

The question is not specific to TD Ameritrade Institutional. eMoney Advisor is used by over 25,000 financial professionals, who collectively use the institutional custody and broker-dealer services from a variety of providers, including Schwab Advisor Services, TD Ameritrade Institutional, LPL Financial, and Pershing, LLC (under The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation).

This is a developing story. Instead of email you can message me on Cyber Dust at billwinterberg 

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Veo One preview from the National LINC 2015 Conference

I just returned from TD Ameritrade Institutional National LINC 2015 Conference in San Diego where I produced a couple of videos covering the technology updates from the event.

Veo® Vendor Village

First, you can get a glimpse of the “vendor village” TD Ameritrade Institutional configures for the technology providers that are integrated with the open access capabilities of the Veo® platform.

Nearly 40 of the 85+ integrated providers were on site providing demos of their technology to the thousands of advisors in attendance.

With over 85 integrated vendors, you may see several new companies that you haven’t heard of before, including Advizr, Vanare, and Upside.

Veo One™

Next up is a preview of Veo One™, TD Ameritrade Institutional’s updated online dashboard designed to be a single source for an advisor’s daily workflow.

Veo One is currently in a private testing period with select advisers, and the official rollout is anticipated in late summer or early fall of 2015.

The first five Veo One integrations will include DocuSign® and Laser App Anywhere for account opening, financial planning software from MoneyGuidePro™, Orion Advisor Services for portfolio management, and Redtail Technologies for CRM.

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for January 23

On today’s broadcast, Riskalyze enhances its best client facing technology with a fresh new interface, Advicent adds new integrations for Schwab Intelligent Technologies, and, get my best cybersecurity tips to protect your business from hacking, phishing, and spoofing attacks.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(click to watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

But first, if you are interested in supporting future episodes of FPPad Bits and Bytes, find out how you can become a sponsor to reach a fantastic audience of advisors looking to grow their business with technology. Visit fppad.com/advertise for more information on how you can help support this show.

Oh, and check out the #baconjam at Carson Kitchen in Las Vegas. It is to die for!

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

The Industry’s “Best Client Facing Technology” Just Got Better from Riskalyze

[Now this week’s top story comes from Riskalyze, the provider of risk tolerance assessment tools for advisors, as this week the company announced an all-new dashboard and client profile interface.

The new interface is clean, designed to be easy to navigate, and is overall very user friendly. For example, profiles prominently display the risk number of a client’s existing portfolio, the risk of a portfolio proposed by the advisor, and a probability percentage from the Riskalyze Retirement Map feature I mentioned back in episode 129.

As the winner of my best client-facing technology award in 2013, Riskalyze raises the bar once again with its new look and feel, but the company is also enhancing the nuts and bolts of what goes on behind the scenes. If you’re not yet using a formal risk assessment tool in your business, Riskalyze deserves to have a spot on your list of contenders.] One of the things our customers love the most about Riskalyze is how simple and easy it is to use. Today, we’re doubling down on that with the launch of an all-new Riskalyze dashboard and client profile, the Advisor-Set Risk Number and simpler stress tests.

Advicent Launches Two New Integrations for Schwab Intelligent Technologies™ from PRWeb

[Next up is news on Advicent Solutions, a provider of financial planning and marketing communication tools to advisors. Earlier this week, Advicent announced to new integrations with Schwab Intelligent Technologies™.

First, if you monitor client accounts using the Schwab PortfolioCenter Hosted™ solution, you will be able to import account values into the NaviPlan® financial planning application using the Schwab OpenView Gateway™ integration. If you don’t use Schwab PortfolioCenter Hosted, you can still import values from Schwab Advisor Center using the integration the company announced last year.

Second, a new integration was announced for those of you who use the Profiles™ financial planning software tool from Advicent. Just like NaviPlan, Profiles now supports account information imports from Schwab Advisor Center as well, helping you save time when importing account values into plans built with Profiles.

If you don’t custody assets with Schwab, you’ll be glad to know that Advicent has been busy building integrations with other providers in recent months, including TD Ameritrade Institutional’s Veo Open Access, Redtail CRM, Morningstar Office, Appcrown, and Orion Advisor Services.] Advicent Solutions, a Milwaukee-based SaaS provider, adds two new integrations for Schwab Intelligent Technologies™ to help financial advisors manage their time more effectively.

How to Keep Client Data Safe From Online Attackers from Financial Planning, and

Download my Defend Against Hacking, Phishing, and Spoofing Attacks guide from FPPad.com

[And finally, I traveled to Las Vegas this week where I presented at the AICPA Advanced Personal Financial Planning conference. I gave a room full of CPAs tips and techniques to protect their business from hacking, phishing, and spoofing attacks.

Financial Planning magazine sent Maddy Perkins to cover my session, and she did a terrific job capturing the risks to your business and the defensive strategies you can implement.

Visit fppad.com/151 to get the link to the story in Financial Planning, and while you’re there, you can also link to my free three-page PDF on all the tips, strategies, and resources I covered during my presentation.] Just hours before he was going to give a presentation on online security for advisors, Bill Winterberg lost his phone at the AICPA Personal Financial Planning Conference. Luckily, thanks to a plan he has for just such an occasion, he found it.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for January 23, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for January 23, 2015

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for January 16

On today’s broadcast, learn about new updates from eMoney Advisor and Redtail CRM, plus, learn what four technology experts are saying about trends you need to watch in 2015.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Building Trust Online, a new business I founded with my executive producer Steve Biermann. You probably already know that videos like this can help you build relationships and trust with clients and prospects who are looking for you online, but you’re not sure how to get started and you’ve never been trained to be confident in front of the camera.

Building Trust Online

Learn more about our coaching and media skills training by visiting buildingtrustonline.com, and sign up for the free newsletter while you’re there.

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

Tech Review: eMoney’s Next Generation from Financial Planning, and

Work smarter with Redtail CRM from Redtail Technology

[Now this week’s news you need to know comes from two popular software providers in the advisor technology marketplace. First up is eMoney Advisor which announced the release of emX back in mid-December.

emX is a radical and refreshing redesign of the original 360 and 360 Pro products from eMoney, and includes new features like mobile-friendly access for advisors, co-browsing and presentation modes, and deep integrations with many of the industry’s other leading technology providers.

One of those integrations is with Redtail Technology, which is the source of the second update you need to know. This week, Redtail officially rolled out the third iteration of its CRM software dubbed Project Tailwag. Just like eMoney emX, Redtail’s Project Tailwag modernizes the look and feel of the CRM, adds mobile-responsive design, and includes feature enhancements to notes, activities, and contact information in response to advisor feedback.]

Advisers + Technology: Better than Either Alone? from the Journal of Financial Planning

[Rounding out news you need to know this week is a panel discussion moderated by Michael Kitces for the January edition of the Journal of Financial Planning. Industry authorities Joel Bruckenstein, Steve Lockshin, Hardeep Walia, and yours truly tackled tough questions from Michael on the technology trends you need to put on your radar right now.] Leading tech experts Joel Bruckenstein and Bill Winterberg, along with the heads of two prominent platforms, Hardeep Walia of Motif Investing, and Steve Lockshin of Betterment Institutional, discuss how technology can create better advisers.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for January 16, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for January 16, 2015

 

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for January 9

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

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

emX is Here! from eMoney Advisor

Learning from over 14 years of experience and feedback from more than 25,000 advisors, emX is the next generation of the eMoney Advisor experience. With emX, we’ve built the ultimate wealth-management solution that will redefine success in your business.

Redtail Technology #ProjectTailwag from Redtail CRM

Our newest Redtail CRM is cost-effective, easy and tailored to today’s financial pro. Packed with new features, office automation, and of course integrates with all the best technology.

Advisers + Technology: Better than Either Alone? from the Journal of Financial Planning

Leading tech experts Joel Bruckenstein and Bill Winterberg, along with the heads of two prominent platforms, Hardeep Walia of Motif Investing, and Steve Lockshin of Betterment Institutional, discuss how technology can create better advisers.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for January 9, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for January 9, 2015

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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)

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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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