Tag Archives: Black Diamond Performance Reporting

FPPad Bits and Bytes for August 26, 2016

On today’s broadcast, get an update on LPL Financial’s technology roadmap, FutureAdvisor signs up the fifth largest bank in the US, Betterment forms a partnership with Uber, and more.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Nest Egg Guru, a stress testing app for your clients’ retirement planning.

Designed as an alternative to Monte Carlo simulations and calculating probabilities of success, Nest Egg Guru helps you tangibly quantify how client portfolios may hold up if future investment returns don’t pan out as expected.

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Sign up for a no obligation free trial at fppad.com/nesteggguru to see how this low-cost solution can complement the planning software you already use today.

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

LPL placing heavy focus on technology improvements from InvestmentNews, and

U.S. Bank Wealth Management Announces Partnership with FutureAdvisor to Offer Automated Investing Capabilities to Clients from BusinessWire


[Now on to this week’s top story that comes from LPL Financial, as this week the nation’s largest broker-dealer held its annual LPL Focus conference in San Diego.

I wasn’t able to attend the conference, but LPL CIO Victor Fetter kindly connected with me by phone to cover several of the key technology announcements made at the event.

First, ClientWorks, the replacement for the existing BranchNet platform, is now available to roughly 11,000 advisors, up significantly from the 500 beta testers this time last year. Next, an updated account opening solution is anticipated soon which will streamline the creation of LPL account forms, pre-populate forms for clients with existing LPL accounts, and automatically fire off an electronic signature workflow.

Fetter also highlighted a new Adoption Index score that advisors can use to gauge their own adoption of particular technologies and then identify areas where efficiency can be improved.

And finally, lots of attention was given to Guided Wealth Portfolios, LPL’s automated investment solution powered by BlackRock’s FutureAdvisor platform expected to be available in early 2017. Fetter told me that advisors can choose to add their brand to Guided Wealth Portfolios as an extension of their existing business, or they can create a new brand as a separate, but complementary, platform for certain clients.

Guided Wealth Portfolios will consist of ETF allocations managed by LPL Research and they will be visible in the ClientWorks dashboard. Clients can view their information using a mobile responsive website, but Fetter said a native app for iPhone or Android is not anticipated at this time. Oh, and I think fees for the service are still up in the air, so we’ll have to check back as the service gets closer to its official rollout.

And speaking of FutureAdvisor, this week, US Bank, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States, announced that it, too, will be using FutureAdvisor to power an automated solution for its clients with portfolios designed by, you guessed it, US Bancorp Investments. Like LPL’s Guided Wealth Portfolios, US Bank said the service is expected to be available in 2017, and fees for the service were not yet disclosed.] To stay up to date with technological innovations, the independent broker-dealer LPL Financial is developing more tools for its new adviser dashboard and implementing smarter automation.

Uber Lets Drivers Hail an IRA with Betterment from the Wall Street Journal

[Next up is news on Betterment, as this week the company announced a partnership with Uber, the multi-billion dollar global ride-sharing network, which allows drivers to open and fund a Betterment IRA account directly within the Uber app. Drivers get special fees, too, with their first year of Betterment completely free, and after that it’s 25 basis points per year on accounts below $100,000.

So guess what? The stakes for client acquisition just went up, in fact, way up. Millions of people recognize Uber, and when they see a partnership like this, they have to be thinking, “Hey, if Betterment’s good enough for a huge company like Uber, it’s gotta be good enough for me.”

And for Uber, they could have chosen anybody for this partnership. They could have teamed up with Vanguard, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, or even *cough* FutureAdvisor, but no, they chose Betterment.

So the way I see it, this is about distribution and decreasing client acquisition costs. Look, for years, industry commentators, myself included, have beat the drum about the high acquisition costs of automated investment services and how tough it is for robo advisors to actually make a profit.

Well, if an automated service can immediately get exposure to hundreds of thousands of potential customers by getting embedded in another app, what’s to stop Betterment from getting embedded in the eBay app to invest your extra cash, or even into SnapChat right along side the SnapCash feature? That’s a pretty inexpensive, yet clever way, to acquire new customers.

So welcome to the new front line in the battle for asset management, I hope your marketing team is up for the challenge.] Uber Technologies Inc. is partnering with robo advice provider Betterment Inc. to offer thousands of its drivers access to retirement accounts.


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

In a world of software overabundance, Siftery offers clarity from Medium

Siftery helps you discover the right software product for your business. Great software is a force multiplier for your job. And picking the right solution for your company will make you look like a rockstar.

Guide Financial set to close operations on October 11 from FPPad

Guide Financial, the financial planning startup acquired by John Hancock in June 2015, told its users via email this week that the company plans to discontinue operations on October 11.

Integration Update: RiXtrema + Black Diamond Now Available from Advent

SS&C Advent’s Black Diamond wealth platform is now integrated with Portfolio Crash Testing by RiXtrema, one of the advisory industry’s leading Portfolio Analytics/Risk Management solutions.


Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for August 26, 2016

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for August 26, 2016

FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 26

On today’s broadcast, Schwab releases Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ into the advisor marketplace, Advent rolls out a new advisor experience for Black Diamond, and TD Ameritrade Institutional assembles dozens of vendors in Chicago to help you move your business forward.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(WatchFPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Autopilot, the only automated asset management platform built on the power of the Risk Number™.

Autopilot powered by CLS Investments and Riskalyze

Powered by CLS Investments and Riskalyze, Autopilot empowers advisors to revolutionize their business model, profitably service clients of all sizes, and democratize access to investment advice with a client service platform embedded directly in your firm’s existing website. Sign up for a demo today by visiting fppad.com/autopilot.

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

Schwab Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ from Schwab.com,

Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ ETF List: Evaluation and Selection from Schwab.com, and

Schwab Wealth Investment Advisory, Inc. Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ Disclosure Brochure from Schwab.com

[This week’s top story comes from Schwab Advisor Services, as the company officially rolled out its Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ solution to advisors that was first mentioned back in episode 158, which I will try to link right over here. One change of note is that Schwab increased the number of available ETFs to more than 450 from the original 200 announced back in March, but the platform fees remain unchanged.

So I looked into the disclosure materials and uncovered a few items that I think you should know. First, anytime a new client signs up, you, the advisor, are required to make a final decision to select a portfolio strategy for that client. Until you make that decision, your clients’ cash will be held in the sweep program.

Second, accounts over $50,000 are eligible for tax-loss harvesting, but hold on, you, the advisor, must use the software built in to Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ to activate and implement the tax-loss harvesting strategy.

And third, at any time, clients can authorize you, the advisor, to suspend trading due to “market conditions” and then reactivate trading “when the Advisor decides it is appropriate to do so.”

So I don’t know about you, but this sounds like Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ doesn’t really streamline any of your portfolio management activities, it may actually increase your workload a bit, which is ironic given the automated focus of the program. It’s definitely not a set-and-forget automated solution, and for this added workload in your business you’ll earn how much in new revenue? That’s what I thought.

And before I forget, Schwab says that the system “will not monitor the type and amount of capital gains” so you’ll have to manage that information in a separate solution, say Schwab Advisor Portfolio Connect or perhaps PortfolioCenter, if you want to report on the gains and losses in each client account. Oh, one more thing, as of today, the mobile app isn’t yet ready.

But to be fair, this is version 1.0 of the solution for advisor, so if anyone is listening out there, maybe you can get Schwab to acknowledge these opportunities to make Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ an attractive technology solution for your business.]

Advent Debuts the All-New Black Diamond Wealth Platform for Advisors and Wealth Managers at AdventConnect 2015 from Advent.com

[Next up is news from Advent, as the company held AdventConnect, it’s annual advisor conference in Las Vegas last week. The company used the event to showcase the next generation Black Diamond® wealth platform, which was being called “BD3” during internal development.

Gone from the Black Diamond name are the Performance Reporting label and the old widgets and BlueSky titles, which is now being replaced by the wealth platform description that represents the radical refresh of the advisor experience.

The main advisor dashboard now uses tiles that you can customize based on the information you want at a glance, portfolio performance graphs are much more streamlined, report pages contain relevant portfolio data without being overly crowded and busy, and a presentation mode is now built in to give you a way to walk through reports while redacting confidential client data.

Advent also announced a new initiative called Black Diamond Link, which adds “bi-directional, workflow-oriented integrations” with a variety of third party technology providers, including MoneyGuidePro, AdvisoryWord, XLR8, Junxure Cloud, Advisors Assistant, and Redtail Technology.] On the heels of last year’s unveiling and this year’s rollout of the new Black Diamond® investor experience, Advent today showcased its next generation Black Diamond® wealth platform. The next generation platform which has been dubbed “BD3” by clients and the development team, as it represents the third generation of the Black Diamond® platform, has been a multi-month effort to redesign and reinvent Black Diamond® to go beyond its roots in performance reporting.

Technology Innovators Get High Marks for Maximizing Integrations for Independent Registered Investment Advisors from MarketWatch

[If integrations with best-in-breed solutions sounds familiar, that’s because TD Ameritrade Institutional offers a similar platform under Veo Open Access, Schwab Advisor Services offers OpenView Gateway, and Pershing announced its own API store just a few weeks ago.

And for custodian-agnostic integration providers, Orion Advisor Services has been offering integrations to their advisors for several years. Full disclosure, you should watch my first vlog about Orion. So Advent, welcome to the club!

Now speaking of integrations, I’m going to wrap up with news from TD Ameritrade Institutional, as the company held its 6th annual technology summit in Chicago this week for Veo Open Access integrated solution providers. The number of solution providers now stands at 91 representing over $300 billion in assets advised across all of the technology solutions.

I’m running out of time for this broadcast, and I made a vlog about my trip to the Tech Summit in Chicago, so just watch the vlog and you’ll be up to speed on how this custodian is helping advisors like you take their business to the next level.] To help independent registered investment advisors (“RIAs”) keep pace in an era of accelerating technology change, TD Ameritrade Institutional1 has pursued a unique strategy of collaboration, harnessing the innovative and cutting-edge work of an entire community of technology leaders through its Veo Open Access vendor network.


Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 26, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 26, 2015

FPPad Bits and Bytes for September 19

On today’s broadcast, developers from the top technology providers assemble for a hackathon in Utah. Find out which innovations have the potential to work their way into your business. Advent announces a number of updates at its AdventConnect conference. Which one will help make your portfolio management more efficient? And, the SEC wants to see your cybersecurity policy. Find out which provider is offering a customized plan specific to 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.


Time is running out to register and book your hotel room if you want to be in the best place to monitor trends in broker-dealer technology. Reserve your spot today by visiting t3enterpriseconference.com

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

Announcing the Fuse 2014 award winners from FPPad.com

[This week’s top story comes from Orion Advisor Services, which assembled one of the industry’s first “hackahon” events in Park City, Utah last week called Fuse 2014. Building on a developer retreat originally conceived by Redtail Technology’s Brian McLaughlin a few years ago, Orion assembled over 50 developers and industry heavyweights from fifteen of the top advisor technology providers.

So what’s the purpose of this Fuse hackathon event? Gather talented developers together in the same room, tell them about advisor frustrations, and let them build solutions in less than 48 hours.

Top awards presented at the end of Fuse 2014 event include Gladstone’s business intelligence and valuation tool, AdvisoryWorld’s analytics integration directly into Orion’s client portal, and Orion Advisor Services’ latest mobile app for use by both clients and financial advisors.] Here is the complete list of Fuse 2014 award winners. More details are available on Twitter under the #FuseUtah hashtag and the FPPad YouTube channel.

Advent Announces Next Generation of the Black Diamond Wealth Management Platform: Designed to Elevate the Investor Experience and Enhance Firm Level Productivity from MarketWired, and

Peter Hess delivers Advent Direct specifics at Advent Connect as Dave Welling wows with Black Diamond’s cloud advance from RIABiz

[Next up is a review of AdventConnect 2014, Advent Software’s annual client conference held in Las Vegas last week. The company made a number of announcements at its event, so here are the ones most relevant to financial advisor technology.

First, Advent’s Black Diamond platform continues to mature, as the next generation, which some are calling Black Diamond 4.0, received new enhancements to its data mining capabilities, which advisors can now use to generate business intelligence reports on how their business is performing.

Also, Black Diamond is delivering a brand new experience to investors through a completely redesigned, mobile responsive, online portal. The updated portal can be customized for each client, will include a secure document vault, and offers a secure messaging system for investor and advisor collaboration. Black Diamond said the new investor portal will be available sometime in early 2015.

And Advent provided an update of its Advent Direct® Community, which I covered last year in episode 107. The community now features over 10,000 registered users who have used the platform to discuss over 700 topics posted by advisors, asset managers, hedge fund managers, and more. It’s kind of reminds me of a private LinkedIn Group on steroids.

But if you want to see an example of the latest updates to Black Diamond, you’re going to have to head over to Advent Software’s website and give up your email address to view a product demo.] Advent Software, Inc. today at its annual client conference in Las Vegas, NV shared a preview of the next generation of its Black Diamond wealth management platform, which marks a major step in its evolution from a pioneer of cloud-based portfolio management and reporting technology to a full-featured wealth management platform.

SEC’s Cybersecurity Initiative: Technology and Policies Must Line Up from PRNewswire

[And finally, this week’s episode ends with yet another discussion of cybersecurity and the importance of keeping sensitive data from being leaked on the Internet. You can’t get enough of that video, can you? So to boost advisors’ cybersecurity defenses, Right Size Solutions, a hosted technology service provider, teamed up with Stark & Stark, a law firm and legal consultant to RIAs, to create a written Cybersecurity Policy that can be customized for advisors who use the technology offered by Right Size Solutions.

The written policy and procedures detail what the RIA is prepared to do in the event a cybersecurity attack is encountered, and the document also contains information on security policies and standard practices established by Right Size Solutions.

Whether you use Right Size Solutions or any other hosted technology provider for your business, you need to maintain this kind of information, periodically test it, and demonstrate what you do when the SEC comes to examine your firm.] Registered Investment Advisors who fail to produce a written cybersecurity policy may find themselves with a deficiency noted during their routine examination process based on new review guidelines from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE).

Here are the stories that didn’t make the broadcast:

Redtail Technology and Morningstar Work Together to Simplify Advisor Practice through Redtail’s Enhanced CRM User Interface from Morningstar.com

Redtail Technology, a leading provider of client relationship management (CRM) software, and Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, are working together to simplify an advisor’s practice by providing seamless access to Morningstar’s proprietary research and analytics directly within a new Redtail user interface that will launch in the fourth quarter.

Finance Logix Widgets Now Available in Redtail CRM from PRWeb

Finance Logix, a leading financial planning and client engagement platform, and Redtail Technology, an industry leading CRM for advisors, announced today the integration of Finance Logix’s innovative Widgets into the core Redtail CRM system.

Junxure Announces Several Major Initiatives at Sold Out Advisor Conference from PRNewswire

Junxure, the RIA industry’s leading CRM and office management technology platform, will announce today at its second annual Advisor Conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas, NV, several major initiatives and results that show a growing momentum in the financial advisory industry.

Cyber breaches rare among U.S. state-registered investment advisers -study from Reuters

Cyber security breaches are rare among investment advisory firms registered with U.S. states, but improvements to technology and procedures could still bolster protection of client information, state securities regulators said on Wednesday.


Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for September 19, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for September 19, 2014

FPPad Bits and Bytes for August 8

On today’s broadcast, online investment advisors are coming to an RIA new you. Find out who the latest company is to enter this growing market. JemStep is another provider that’s white-labeling its technology to RIAs. Learn how one RIA is using the platform to serve its emerging clients. And Joel Bruckenstein is concerned about the future of advisor technology. Find out what issues keep this technology expert up at night.

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:

Upside Raises $1.1M To Help Investment Advisers Compete Against Wealthfront, Betterment And Co. from TechCrunch

[This week’s top story comes from Upside Advisor, the latest startup to join the class of online investment advice providers. But unlike the direct-to-consumer startups like Wealthfront and FutureAdvisor, Upside Advisor is specifically targeting financial advisors who can white label Upside Advisor’s platform to provide a low-cost managed account solution to their emerging clients.

Upside’s platform offers paperless account opening using a DocuSign integration, automated trading and rebalancing, a client portal, and more, and just raised $1.1 million in new funding to continue to enhance its features for advisors. Upside comes on the heels of the introduction of Guide Financial, a similar advisor-focused solution I highlighted back in March in episode 124, giving you one more solution to offer a low-cost, high-tech automated solution to compete with the algorithm-based competition.] Upside, which today announced that it has raised a $1.1 million funding round led by Cultivation Capital, gives financial advisers a white label solution that’s very similar to what other robo-advisers offer.

Upside Advisor video

Traditional advisory firm hammers out deal with robo-adviser from InvestmentNews

[Now another online investment provider also dipping its toe into the RIA waters is JemStep, which just recently announced a partnership with Redhawk Wealth Advisors based in Minneapolis. Under the agreement, the RIA is able to white label the JemStep platform as Redhawk Online Advisor, where investors can sign up online, connect their financial accounts, and receive investment recommendations for a fee ranging from $17 to $69 dollars a month based on the amount of assets under advisement.

It’s important note that while JemStep offers investment recommendations, it does not automatically execute trades on behalf of its users. Actually following through on JemStep’s recommendations is the responsibility of either the advisor or the end-user, which could pose an implementation challenge as the platform gains momentum with RIAs.] Redhawk Wealth Advisors, a registered investment adviser with a wealth management practice, and Jemstep Inc., also an RIA but with an algorithm-driven account aggregation and investment advice platform, have become partners, bringing online advice to help Redhawk’s retail clients manage their investments, including funds held in their 401(k) accounts.

Things That Keep Me Up At Night from Financial Advisor Magazine

[And finally, all this news about competition from online investment advice providers might give you cause for concern, and it’s also one of the topics that keeps technology consultant Joel Bruckenstein up at night, too. In his latest column for Financial Advisor Magazine, Bruckenstein expresses his anxiety over the state of affairs in financial advisor technology.

He highlights complacency, insufficient integrations, and competition from automated online advisors as significant threats to the growth and success of the independent advisory industry. Fortunately, Bruckenstein cites vendors like Envestnet|Tamarac, Orion Advisor Services, Ornaj, Advyzon, and more who can equip independent advisors with technology solutions that not only rival those of the competition, but can also live up to the increased expectations from today’s tech-savvy clients and prospects.] Over the last several months, I’ve traveled thousands of miles, met hundreds of advisors and spoken with numerous representatives of custodians, broker-dealers and software vendors. Although I’m generally rather upbeat about the future of this industry, there are some things that concern me about current affairs.

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

Advent’s Black Diamond Platform Surpasses 500-Client Milestone from Advent

Advent Software, Inc., a leading provider of software and services for the global investment management industry, today announced that Black Diamond, an independent business group of Advent, has surpassed 540 clients and exceeded $245 billion in assets on its portfolio management, reporting, and rebalancing platform.

Wealth Managers Enlist Spy Tools to Map Portfolios from the New York Times

Some of the engineers who used to help the Central Intelligence Agency solve problems have moved on to another challenge: determining the value of every conceivable investment in the world.

Vestorly Partners With Advisor Websites to Enhance Client Engagement and Lead Generation from PRWeb

Vestorly, a leading client engagement and lead generation platform, and Advisor Websites, a leading provider of websites to advisors, announced today a joint venture to develop highly engaging websites that build advisors’ brands with investors, as well as generate qualified leads for marketing purposes.

Announcing our new release from Guide Financial

At Guide Financial, our core mission is to help America’s next generation achieve a secure financial future. We are excited to roll out a new release that underscores our commitment to advisors serving the next generation. The new release is now available to currently subscribed advisors and will become more broadly available in the coming weeks.

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for August 8, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for August 8, 2014

FPPad Bits and Bytes for September 27

On this week’s broadcast, one of the top portfolio management software providers tip-toes its way into the cloud, creating investment policy statements just got a whole lot easier, how a new app can create a real-time dossier about your clients, and more. So get ready, Bits and Bytes begins now.

(Watch on YouTube)

This week’s episode of Bits and Bytes is brought to you by Mimic Technologies, providers of complete outsourced technology support, security, infrastructure and IT solutions exclusively for RIAs.

Mimic Technologies

To learn how you can keep your data safe from attackers, download a free copy of their white paper on Data Privacy and Protection by visiting fppad.com/mimic.

Advent unveils Advent Direct™ — An Innovative Cloud Platform — At AdventConnect from Advent Software

[Leading off is an update from Advent Software, which recently celebrated its 30th year in business last week at the company’s AdventConnect conference in San Francisco. The highlight of Advent Connect is the expansion of Advent Direct™, a cloud-based platform which Mike Golaszewski, Black Diamond’s head of product development, says is an abstraction layer on top of the company’s core product offerings.

While Advent Axys will remain a desktop-based solution for the foreseeable future, it will not be completely isolated from the cloud due to the online and mobile access available through Advent Direct.

And while the news of Advent Direct seems hot off the presses, it’s not entirely new, as Advent has offered an app to iPad users since April of this year for mobile access to client portfolio information.

Advent also unveiled the Advent Direct™ Community, a private online forum that’s part customer service portal and part discussion board, no doubt inspired by collaboration options found on other social networks. Yes, the Advent Users Group on LinkedIn, I’m talking about you!

But the one big unknown regarding Advent Direct is pricing. It remains to be seen how much Advent users will need to pay to route their Axys data into Black Diamond to benefit from enhanced reports.] Advent Software, Inc., a leading provider of software and services for the global investment management industry, today commenced its annual AdventConnect conference taking place September 18 – 20, 2013 at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

A One-Click Roadmap for Your Clients from Riskalyze

[Next up is an update from a startup that deserves to be added to your technology radar. The company is called Riskalyze, based in Sacramento, California, which offers patented Risk Number technology in an attempt to quantify client risk tolerance and align it with suitable investment portfolios. This week, Riskalyze expanded its feature set by offering a single-click option to create an Investment Policy Statement.

Whether you believe in the validity of Investment Policy Statements or not (and Stark and Stark’s Tom Giachetti comes to mind), it still doesn’t get any easier than using a single click to generate an IPS document.

So if simplifying your client risk assessment process is important to you, you should learn more about Riskalyze’s offering.] Today, we’re excited to announce that Riskalyze now makes it possible to create this roadmap for your clients with a single click.

Surface Pro 2: hands-on with Microsoft’s new tablet powerhouse and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX: Power, With A Helping Hand, both from The Verge

[Now I bet you’ve noticed changes in the air, meaning Fall has arrived, complete with shorter days, football on the weekends, and a deluge of new product announcements. So on the heels of Apple’s new iPhone 5S and 5C announcement two weeks ago, Microsoft announced updates to its floundering line of Surface tablets to compete with the market-dominating iPad. Not to be left out, Amazon also announced a refresh of it’s low-cost Kindle tablets, with a new HDX line of Android-powered tablets starting at just $229.

But the unexpected surprise from all the hardware announcements actually came in the form of a new feature on the Kindle HDX called Mayday. Mayday is an icon on the Kindle users can touch to get free technical support anytime they need it, complete with video conferencing and screen sharing.

While its definitely a cool feature for Kindle users, Mayday actually creates a slippery slope for you as an advisor, as I think it won’t be too long before your clients start to expect a similar easy, on-demand way to access you as their trusted financial advisor.

So if you’re not yet up to speed on using video chat services like Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and more, now is the time to add these tools to your technology portfolio.]

Refresh – The Instant Dossier from Refresh

[Finally, updates to FPPad have been few and far between this month because of the amount of time I’ve been spending on phone calls and meetings. I’ve been speaking with dozens of people, and it’s unrealistic for me to think that I can keep all the details about each relationship straight in my head.

That’s why I’ve turned to a new app called Refresh, (full disclosure, they gave me a free T-shirt), but the app truly helps me keep all the details about my contacts organized in one place.

Refresh connects my contacts, calendar, and social media accounts to create a real-time dossier about the people I’m going to meet. Refresh automatically connect the dots of what my contacts are doing and sharing online so I don’t have to waste time gathering this intelligence on my own.

A beta version of the app is available for iPhone, but Android users will need to sign up to be notified when the app is released to the Google Play store.]

Watch Bits and Bytes for September 27, 2013

Watch Bits and Bytes for September 27, 2013

FPPad Bits and Bytes for August 2

It’s here! Bits and Bytes has gone video.

I’m now delivering the week’s best technology bits for financial advisers in a video broadcast you can bite into anytime you like (oh yes, I just did that).

This week’s edition of Bits and Bytes is brought to you by Redtail Technology, providers of cloud-based CRM for financial professionals since 2003.

Redtail Technology

Check out their popular advisor solutions and sign up for a 30-day free trial. Visit fppad.com/redtail for more information.

(Watch on YouTube). But still, those with short attention spans or aficionados of the written word can get this week’s stories of interest in their full-text glory below.

Like it? Hate it? Let me know!

Like the new format? Hate it? Don’t care for it? Be honest, and let me know by contacting me.

Tech reporter Davis Janowski leaving InvestmentNews to become editor for WealthFront, via Davis’ Twitter feed

[In this week’s lead story, venerable technology reporter Davis Janowski announced this week that he will be leaving his position as tech reporter at InvestmentNews to assume the editor role over at WealthFront. Most of you should recognize WealthFront from a number of past articles about online financial advice platforms and so called “robo-adviser” platforms. For as long as I can remember, Davis has been a solid journalist covering technology for financial advisers and inspired me to launch FPPad back in the day. So Davis, thanks for all your work and passion, and I look forward to what you have in store for advisers with your new role at WealthFront.]


USB flash drives masquerading as keyboards mean more BYOD security headaches from ZDNet.com

[In my Defending Against Phishing, Hacking, and Spoofing Attacks presentation, this is one of the attacks I talk about under social engineering. See, hackers drop these little USB flash drives in business parking lots, labeled with enticing messages like “personal and confidential” or “2012 tax returns.” They hope than an unsuspecting employee will pick it up and plug it in to their corporate computer, which unbeknownst to the employee unleashes all kinds of malware and spyware inside the corporate firewall. The best defense against this tactic: train everyone in your organization not to use USB drives from unknown sources. The risk of stumbling on a rogue device is just too great.] You should be already aware of the data theft risks that USB flash drives pose to your company – even a seemingly lowly 2GB drive can hold a lot of precious data – but a new threat has emerged which makes them even more dangerous.

inStream Hires Professor Dr. Wade Pfau to lead Financial Planning Research from inStreamWealth.com

[inStream, the provider of free web-based financial planning, strike that, practice management software, just beefed up its chops in the retirement planning area by hiring Dr. Wade Pfau to lead its Financial Planning Research division. Pfau is the Professor of Retirement Income for the American College and has authored a number of influential papers on retirement research. Clearly, advisers looking to serve the needs of their retiring clients want access to the leading research on retirement planning, and Pfau’s connection with inStream will likely raise the company’s profile on most advisers’ radar. A final note: inStream is an advertiser on FPPad and helps support content production just like this.] inStream Solutions (“inStream”) announced today that American College Professor of Retirement Income Dr. Wade Pfau has joined the firm to lead Financial Planning Research.

Orion Advisor Services Enhances Integrated Performance Reporting Capabilities from MarketWatch.com

[Orion Advisor Services is well-known for its hosted portfolio management software and reconciliation service bureau. One issue with many of these services is that the reports themselves might not be exactly what advisers are looking for and want to present to their clients. Some advisers turn to third-party providers like MorningStar or AdvisoryWorld for more attractive reports that better convey information advisers want to put in front of clients. Well this week, Orion announced that its Report Builder solution now integrates with AdvisoryWorld, so advisers can pull in components like risk analytics, Modern Portfolio Theory statistics, and diversification and overlap analysis directly from AdvisoryWorld, but be able to match the font size and look and feel of standard Orion reports. If you’re one of the hundreds of Orion users, check out the updated Report Builder and see how you can enhance your reports with the latest AdvisoryWorld integration.] Orion Advisor Services, LLC, a premier portfolio accounting service provider, is delivering more robust performance reporting capabilities to its advisor clients through expanded integrations with AdvisoryWorld, a leading provider of customizable portfolio analytics and investment planning applications to the financial services market and PIEtech’s MoneyGuidePro, the leading goal-based financial planning software for financial advisors.

BlazePortfolio Completes Integration with Black Diamond from BlazePortfolio.com

[For rebalancing software, advisers are pretty familiar with Envestnet|Tamarac, TD Ameritrade Institutional’s iRebal, and Total Rebalance Expert. One of the programs not on most advisers’ radar is Atom Align from Blaze Portfolio. This week, the folks at Blaze Portfolio announced that their solution, Atom Align, is now integrated with Advent’s Black Diamond portfolio management software. So if you’re a Black Diamond user and don’t have rebalancing software, you have one more option to consider to increase your efficiency when rebalancing client accounts.] BlazePortfolio is excited to complete its integration with Black Diamond.  The BlazePortfolio and Black Diamond integrated solution offers Investment Advisors the opportunity to utilize both platforms for their back office systems.

LinkedIn Company Pages Add Analytics from Mashable.com

[If you’re like me, you work hard to build your brand and build your profile through a number of social media websites. So a big part of measuring your success for the time you spend on social media is the ability to get metrics and real data behind your social media activity. Mashable reported on Wednesday that LinkedIn is now offering analytics for Company Pages set up on the site, so if your firm has a Company Page, go sign in and look for the new analytics tab in your menu.] LinkedIn added analytic support to Company Pages Wednesday, giving businesses the opportunity to track how content shared on LinkedIn performs.

And if you want to read the best material in financial planning knowledge and information over the weekend, click or tap the button below to head over to Michael Kitces’ Nerd’s Eye View blog and see the latest in Weekend Reading.

Click to view Weekend Reading at Kitces.com

FPPad Bits and Bytes for November 16

Remember, today at 4:15pm Eastern, 1:15pm Pacific I’ll be hosting FPPad On Air with Steven Ryder of True North Networks to discuss disaster recovery and business continuity in the wake of superstorm Sandy. Check Twitter or Google+ for the link this afternoon.

Here are this week’s stories of interest:

David Drucker and Joel Bruckenstein Announce Preliminary Agenda for “T3” 2013 Conference in Miami from PRNewswire.com

[One of the industry’s top conferences on technology is approaching quickly. Save the dates of February 11-13 and soak up the Miami sunshine while you absorb technology and practice management ideas. Note that the book Technology Tools for a High-Margin Practice will be published with all new information, including a chapter I wrote on the top collaboration technologies. Do not miss this conference!] David Drucker and Joel Bruckenstein, producers of the 8th Annual “T3” Technology Tools for Today™ Conference to be held at the Hilton Miami Downtown from February 11-13, 2013, today announced the preliminary T3 2013 conference agenda and initial details of their new book, Technology Tools for a High-Margin Practice, due out February 6, 2013.

H.D. Vest Chooses Advent’s Black Diamond Platform from Marketwire.com

[H.D. Vest, once part of Wells Fargo & Company and now owned by Parthenon Capital Partners, is equipping its 4,800 affiliates with access to on-demand custom performance reporting via Black Diamond. Clearly this is how wealth management and financial planning services will be delivered in the future; online, mobile, and customized. AND if you were a private equity company looking to increase the value of the H.D. Vest purchase, don’t you think streamline portfolio reporting and management is a decent way to do it?]  Advent Software, Inc., a leading provider of software and services for the global investment management industry, recently announced that H.D. Vest Financial Services® (H.D. Vest) has transitioned its performance reporting to Advent’s Black Diamond platform to enhance their Advisors’ ability to communicate portfolio performance during client meetings.

Envestnet | Tamarac(TM) Brings Tamarac University Online from MarketWatch.com

[Today you can learn how to cut an onion online. So why not learn how to rebalance client portfolios at the same time? If you’re an Envestnet | Tamarac user, you’re in luck, as much of their training content (a.k.a. Tamarac University) is now online and available on demand.] Envestnet | Tamarac(TM), a division of Envestnet, Inc., a leading provider of integrated web-based portfolio and client management software for independent advisors and wealth managers, has announced an expansion of its popular Tamarac University program to include an online option for RIAs covering its entire curriculum.

Envestnet Announces Integration With Junxure CRM Software via PRNewswire.com

[In the second release this week, Envestnet will combine “portfolio management with client recordkeeping and workflow management” inside the soon-to-be-released Junxure Cloud. What’s odd to me is that Junxure Cloud likely will have some type of workflow or task management component, yet the Envestnet integration adds in workflow management of its own. Which one will should advisers use?] Envestnet, Inc., a leading provider of technology-enabled wealth management solutions for investment advisors, has announced that it has agreed to integrate with Junxure Cloud, the upcoming web-based client-relations management (CRM) program for financial advisors. The integration is expected to be included with the initial release of Junxure Cloud, expected in the first quarter of 2013.

Advisor Software, Inc. Signs Agreement With Redtail Technology To Integrate goalgamiPro Quick Planning Solution With Redtail CRM from MarketWatch.com

[If you’re going to create a quick plan for a client, the last thing you want to do is perform double entry of a client’s name, address, etc. In this announcement, Redtail will soon partner with Advisor Software allowing users to pass client information to Advisor Software’s goalgamiPro (see: Yes, you can create financial plans in eight minutes).] Advisor Software, Inc., a provider of wealth management solutions for the financial advisor market, has finalized an agreement with Redtail Technology, Inc., a provider of client management solutions for financial professionals, to provide access to ASI’s unique quick planning tools. The strategic partnership will integrate ASI’s direct-to-advisor product goalgamiPro with Redtail’s Client Relationship Management (“CRM”) suite.

FPPad Bits and Bytes for November 2

Don’t forget to watch today’s broadcast with Bart Wisniowski of AdvisorWesbites.com on Google+. It starts at 4:15pm ET/1:15pm PT. Head over to my Google+ profile and click the “Join Hangout” button at that time.

Here are this week’s stories of interest:

Smarsh Launches Archiving & Compliance for Yammer from Smarsh.com

[(see Advisers using Yammer can enhance collaboration without sacrificing compliance for a podcast of this story) Yammer is a collaboration tool that provides an interface similar to the Facebook News Feed for your business. I’ve been recommending it in my Transformative Technology presentation to advisers for a year now as a way to supplant stand-up meetings in your office that can disrupt productivity and waste time. Now Smarsh has an archiving solution to capture and retain Yammer activity for both client-related and in-house communication.]  Smarsh®, the managed service leader in secure, innovative and reliable email archiving compliance solutions, today announced the launch of Archiving & Compliance for Yammer. Developed in partnership with Yammer, the hosted solution enables organizations to capture, preserve, search, supervise and produce Yammer files and communications in support of compliance, e-discovery and recordkeeping initiatives.

Schwab and Advent Software forge (historic) agreement — mostly for the good of Black Diamond users for now from RIABiz.com

[It’s nice that Schwab lets us know that an integration with Advent and Black Diamond is coming, but *when* it will actually be available to advisers is still anyone’s guess. If you’ve read our past stories on integrations from Fidelity and TD Ameritrade Institutional, you know that Schwab is playing catch up relative to their competition. So view this announcement as one way the industry’s biggest custodian is trying to fill the gap.] Schwab Advisor Services chose Advent Software as its first major portfolio management software partner for its grand ecosystem of software — Schwab Intelligent Integration.