Tag Archives: Joel Bruckenstein

FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 13, 2016

On today’s broadcast, learn about top advisor technology from the Finovate Spring 2016, two lessons you should learn from a Salesforce database outage, hear top technology tips from industry experts, 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 Riskalyze, the company that invented the Risk Number™ and twice named as one of the world’s 10 most innovative companies in finance by Fast Company Magazine.


Advisors use Riskalyze to show prospects they’re invested wrong and prove to clients they’re invested right. See how Riskalyze creates fearless investors by visiting riskalyze.com/fppad to book a guided tour.

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

Client Insight for Wealth Management from IBM, and

IBM Watson-infused robo wants to help advisers, not beat them from Financial Planning

Envestnet Advisor Now demo from Finovate Europe 2016

[This week’s top story covers the Finovate Spring 2016 event held earlier this week in San Jose, California. With over 70 demos spread across two days, here are my picks for the most promising solutions for financial advisors.

First is IBM, as the company demoed its Client Insight for Wealth Management solution, designed to deliver better insights about your clients powered by, you guessed it, IBM Analytics. The Client Insight dashboard segments your clients by their behavioral profiles, predicts the likelihood of clients experiencing a significant life event, and automatically generates a list of top actions clients should take to make progress on their financial goals.

The analytics-powered insight is great, but it’s not yet clear to me if the solution is something you can buy today or if it requires an integration with the technology providers that you use, particularly with your CRM software. One third-party example I can think of is the automated investment service from Marstone, which to me, still seems to be evolving and appears to be rolling out at a very measured pace. So, if you want to start seeing some of these cognitive-powered insights in the tools you use, I think you need to prepare to spend a little bit more on your technology to make these benefits a reality.

The second demo of note came from Envestnet, as the company highlighted Advisor Now, which is now being positioned as an online financial planning tool that can be white-labeled by financial institutions or you, the independent financial advisor.

Advisor Now’s capabilities are quite a bit different than this time last year when the solution was first announced, as Envestnet is further leveraging its technology acquisitions of Upside, Yodlee, and Finance Logix.

Next week I’m headed to the Envestnet Advisor Summit in Chicago where I plan to get more details on Advisor New, but in the meantime you can watch a recent Advisor Now demo from Finovate Europe] IBM offers you a whole new level of insight to serve your customers with the most relevant offerings that helps you drive new revenue. It enables you to segment your customers quickly and analyze their behavior to deliver cross sell/ up sell offers which helps increase loyalty, retention and customer satisfaction.

Envestnet thumbnail

Salesforce outage persists across US, CEO wades in from ZDNet, and

The Burning Irony of Salesforce’s #NA14 Social Media Nightmare from Medium

[Next up is news on Salesforce, as the company unfortunately suffered a failure in one of its critical databases this week affecting several thousand of its customers in North America. The outage of the NA14 database lasted for about a day and a half, causing many users to publicly vent their frustrations on Twitter.

Closer to home, I didn’t hear from any advisors who were affected by the downtime, which is good, but there are still two lessons I want you to take away from this incident.

First, when you use any cloud-based system, especially a CRM, be absolutely certain that you have an offline backup of the critical information you need to take care of clients. Make it part of your process now to export data like names, phone numbers, and email addresses so you can stay in touch with clients if and when your online systems have extended downtime.

And second, make plans now for what you’re going to do when your firm experiences a crisis. How will you contact clients? Will you post information on your website, or provide updates on Twitter? Whatever you do, identify your process in your disaster recovery and business continuity plan, and if it’s been a while since you tested your communication in a crisis, well, you might want to do something about that.] A Salesforce database failure has left some clients unable to access their services across the United States, prompting the firm’s chief executive to step in.

2016 SSG Conference Technology Panel from YouTube

[And finally, wrapping up this week’s broadcast is news from Shareholders Service Group, as I attended their annual conference in San Diego a few weeks ago. One of the general sessions I attended was a panel discussion on technology opportunities that lie ahead for independent financial advisors, so I caught up with each of the panelists,

Greg Friedman of Private Ocean, Dave Welling of SS&C Advisory Market Group, Tim Welsh of Nexus Strategy, and Joel Bruckenstein of Technology Tools for Today, to get their main takeaways from the session and hear best advice for advisors from a technology perspective.

The full video from the event is embedded over on website along with a few additional stories that didn’t make this week’s broadcast.]

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

Docupace Closes on Management Buyback Transaction from BusinessWire

Docupace Technologies LLC, a premier digital compliance and cyber security company in the financial services industry, completed its planned repurchase of the majority interest in the company previously held by RCS Capital Corporation.

New Marketing Materials from Hidden Levers

HiddenLevers now provides pre-made marketing materials that can be used with clients. These include printable brochures, embeddable videos, website and signature plugins.


Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 13, 2016

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 13, 2016

2015 Tech Survey Results! FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 4

On today’s broadcast, it’s survey time. Find out about this year’s winners and losers in the annual Financial Planning Magazine technology survey.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

coverOk, this week’s coverage is all about the 2015 Financial Planning Magazine technology survey, analyzed every year by tech expert Joel Bruckenstein. This year’s survey consisted of just 600 responses, of which roughly 200 were from firms that identify themselves as independent RIAs.

Now I have to admit, this sample size is a lot lower then the peak back in 2011 when the survey collected over 3200 responses, but Financial Planning Magazine changed its survey methodology to prevent ballot stuffing, and insists that the current data is still statistically significant. So, now that we have that out of the way, you can draw your own conclusions from this year’s survey results.

Technology Spending

First up: technology spending. Survey says: Over 90% of advisors spent the same or more on technology this year. But honestly, I don’t see how spending on technology guarantees your firm will be any better in the long run, it just means you spend lots of money on technology.

I care whether you’re gaining efficiency and scalability from the technology you do purchase, which leads us to the next item. CRM software.

Top CRM Software

So what’s the top CRM in use? Survey says! None.

Seriously, none?!? Yeah. Among independent RIAs, 22.9% say they don’t use a formal CRM. Oh wait, I know what CRM they use: Cranium Relationship Management, because It’s All Right Here. Ugh.

But for those of you who DO use a CRM, top survey responses include Salesforce, Junxure, and Redtail, with Wealthbox doing a respectable job closing the gap with the top three.

Top Financial Planning Software

So what about financial planning software: Survey says! MoneyGuidePro takes the top spot, with eMoney in the runner up position for the sixth straight year. Eight other providers battle it out for the remaining solutions, with Advizr being one to watch with its quality showing after just one year in the marketplace.

Top Portfolio Management Software

And moving on, the next category is portfolio management software, with the top provider being, oh that’s right, survey says! PortfolioCenter.

Morningstar, Albridge, Envestnet and Orion round out the top five, as their numbers are fairly consistent with the tech surveys over the last few years. But, I’m fairly sure Envestnet and Orion are a lot closer to one another in marketshare than this survey shows, with Envestnet probably commanding a slight lead, so remember what I said earlier about statistical significance and sample size.

Top Online Advice Solution

Alright, we’re in the home stretch now, as the top online advice solution is: Survey says: Wealth Access? Huh.

So now I’m confused, because Wealth Access provides portfolio reporting, monitoring and aggregation services, but not online advice. So that leaves a Schwab Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ as the true top online advice solution, with nine other providers battling it out for at least some meaningful traction among advisors. I can tell there’s a lot more work to be done here.

Top Client Portal

And finally, I’m wrapping up with the top client portal, so, survey says! Broker-dealer or custodian provided. Ugh. That’s not a portal, that’s online account access! Anyone with an account has that! Seriously.

At least with eMoney, which claimed third place, clients can securely upload documents, see all their financial assets using account aggregation, and more. If all you offer is read-only account access to client, you are not leveraging the potential of a real client portal.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a little depressed after digesting this year’s tech survey. There is a lot of work left to be done.

But here’s the silver lining: this survey covers the technology that some advisors are using up until today, but it’s not indicative of the cutting-edge solutions that have the potential to grow your business in the near future.

For that, you’re going to have to watch next week’s episode on my picks for the Best Technology of 2015.


Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 4, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 4, 2015

FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 17

On today’s broadcast, Grendel updates its CRM and portfolio reporting engine to help you be more efficient, find out what IBM Watson has to say about your personality, and a new app helps “Crystal”-ize what you know about your clients and prospects.

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.

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

Tech Review: Upgrade for Grendel from Financial Planning

[This week’s top story comes from Grendel Online, as the technology provider is evolving from a stand-alone CRM solution to a fully-featured wealth management platform. Now the move towards platforms is definitely a growing trend in the industry, because if you remember last year, inStream Solutions, which started out as a financial planning software program, also added features and adopted the wealth management platform moniker.

This week, Joel Bruckenstein provided an update of Grendel, which features a web-based CRM that stores all the essential contact information and notes about your client interactions. In addition, Grendel now offers performance-reporting modules available through a strategic partnership with First Rate, a performance solution provider for SEI, SunGard and more. So now advisors can view portfolio holdings and performance within the Grendel platform, and they can customize client reports using a report builder that has roughly 100 widgets that can be arranged with a simple drag and drop editor.

Bruckenstein does mention some concerns about the lack of comprehensive trading and rebalancing functionality and limited of integrations relative to other wealth management platforms, but Grendel certainly isn’t asleep at the wheel. While Grendel might fall short of the features offered by established platforms like Envestnet | Tamarac and Orion Advisor Services, Grendel isn’t going to come with the premium price tag, either. Grendel offers a pathway for advisors using stand-alone CRMs who are looking for something a bit more comprehensive, but also want something that won’t break the bank.] Advisors tend to overlook Grendel Online — and I sometimes do as well, for a couple of reasons.

Personality Insights Demonstration from IBM

[Next up is news from IBM, yes, that’s right, THAT IBM. Now on the technology side, you probably associate IBM with its super-computer named Watson, especially after the artificial intelligence computing system decimated human contestants in the popular TV game show Jeopardy.

Anyways, IBM is now actively seeking opportunities to enhance financial services by applying Watson’s enormous capabilities to better address client needs. I admit this might sound a little to like science-fiction, but here’s how you can test the power of Watson today.

IBM has a page online where you can paste in a block of text written by anyone and instantly receive personality insights about the author of the text. The link is in this week’s top stores. Try it with something you’ve written, and then see what happens when you enter text typed by a colleague, or even a client. The more text you have, the more accurate the insights should be, say, for example, using an epic blog post from Michael Kitces. It’s pretty amazing, and also a little creepy at the same time. He has an affinity for blue shirts, huh, who knew?]

Stalk everyone you know with this eerily accurate app that tells you how to talk to people from The Next Web

[And finally, if you think IBM’s personality insights are creepy, a new app out this week called Crystal takes things a step further. Crystal scours the Web for public information written by your connections and then builds a personality profile for that person. If there’s enough public information available, Crystal offers insights on what to say in a conversation, how to compose emails to that person, details on that person’s work style, and what to do when you’re conducting a sales process.

So instead of you doing all the information discovery on clients and prospects to paste into IBM’s personality insights tool, Crystal does all the heavy lifting for you. Say you want Michael Kitces to respond to your emails, for example: here’s a hint, don’t use sarcasm.] Crystal, a new app that analyzes public data to tell you exactly how to communicate with people, has had us all at TNW looking up our friends and family today (as well as ourselves, of course) to find out what it knows about us.

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

AdvisoryWorld Unveils Advisor Proposal Generator from Marketwired.com

AdvisoryWorld, the leading provider of investment analytics, portfolio modeling, and proposal generation technology for the financial services industry, today announced the release of AdvisoryWorld’s Advisor Proposal Generator application.


Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 17, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 17, 2015

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


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.


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

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 12, 2014

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

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)

FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 3

On today’s broadcast, Upside Advisor teams up with a high-profile RIA. Will this partnership do anything to slow the growth of the $(!#-advisers? Redtail CRM previews the new version of its popular CRM. Will the design and feature changes be enough to attract advisors that are using aging systems? And, broker-dealers aren’t turning a blind eye to technology. Find out which firms are investing heavily to boost the efficiency of their representatives.

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. Version 1.6 is now available featuring automated workflows, templates for routine processes, and progress updates all on one screen!

Wealthbox CRM

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

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

Upside Powers Ritholtz Wealth Management’s New Digital Offering, Called Liftoff from Upside Advisor

[First up this week is an announcement from Ritholtz Wealth Management, the New York RIA headed by The Big Picture blogger Barry Ritholtz and Josh Brown, aka The Reformed Broker, who released a new web-based offering to emerging clients called Liftoff. Liftoff is a white-labeled version of the $(!#-adviser solution, uh, ok, online investment solution from Upside Advisor, which I introduced to you back in episode 136.

For around 40 basis points, Liftoff provides automated asset allocation recommendations to clients who want to get started with investing, but don’t yet have enough assets to qualify for a one-on-one relationship with Ritholtz’s advisors. Upside Advisor is just the latest $(!#-adviser, oh, right, online investment provider to join this space, as they’re going up against competing solutions like Wealthfront, Personal Capital, Betterment, Learnvest, Guide Financial, JemStep, Orion Discover; I can’t keep them all straight!

So today you’re faced with a choice: will you sit on the sidelines to see how these low-cost automated solutions play out, or will you partner with a low-cost provider to offer an investment solution for your emerging clients?] Upside, a technology company providing a digital advisor platform to investment advisors, today announced a new partnership with Ritholtz Wealth Management (RWM).

Tech Review: Redtail’s New Edition from Financial Planning

[Next up is a review of Redtail CRM and its third major product update to its software called Project Tailwag. In his October column for Financial Planning magazine, Joel Bruckenstein gives a very favorable review of the redesign and feature enhancements to the industry’s most widely used CRM.

Users will soon have access to a clean, flat design that’s easier to use, and it’s also responsive, as it adjusts to screens of any size from desktops to smartphones. Contact records feature a timeline of client interactions, and important details like contact information and activities and workflows are just a single click away.

Whether you use Redtail CRM or an alternative solution such as Junxure, Salesforce, Wealthbox, and others, these are the types of features and functionality you’re going to need if you expect to cultivate meaningful relationships with clients and differentiate yourself from the $(!#-advisers, uh, I mean, online investment providers.] Redtail Technology just released a major upgrade to its popular CRM application. Dubbed Project Tailwag, this version of Redtail — only the third upgrade in the company’s 12-year history — offers a host of new enhancements.

Racing Ahead from Financial Advisor

[And finally, Joel Bruckenstien once again wraps up this week’s top stories with a technology update from the nation’s leading broker-dealers firms. In his column for Financial Advisor magazine, Bruckenstein highlights LPL Financial’s announcement of ClientWorks, the successor to the existing BranchNet platform that I covered in episode 137, an updated portfolio reporting solution and Client Center dashboard from Raymond James, updates to Commonwealth Financial Network’s Client Household 360 Dashboard and Practice360 business dashboard, and the AIG Advisor Group’s pending release of a mobile version of Salesforce and with integrated Salesforce work flows.

Clearly these broker-dealer firms are investing heavily in technology to boost the capabilities of their representatives, especially as they face increasing competition from all of the $(!#-adviser, ugh, online solutions out there.] The pace of technological innovation has never been greater. Independent broker-dealer firms continue to invest to keep up with the competition, offering advisors and end clients a better experience.

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

Risk Tool Smackdown: FinaMetrica vs. Riskalyze from Financial Planning

I tested myself using two of the more popular risk tolerance instruments: Riskalyze and FinaMetrica.

Smarsh Introduces Enhanced Archiving Support for Instagram from BusinessWire

Smarsh®, the leading provider of hosted archiving solutions for compliance and e-discovery, today announced the Smarsh Archiving Platform now offers enhanced support for Instagram.

Personal Capital integrates Zillow home estimates from Personal Capital

For those of you with property, Personal Capital has come out with a great new feature that will help you keep track of your real estate investments with Zillow.



Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 3, 2014

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 3, 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

T3 2014: Joel Bruckenstein and David Drucker kick off the 9th annual adviser tech conference

T3 2014 conference

T3 2014 is the place to be and be seen for all things financial adviser technology

T3 2014 Draws Over 600 Attendees

Joel Bruckenstein and David Drucker are no strangers to the technology trends in financial services over the last decade. Their premier conference, Technology Tools for Today, or T3, is in its ninth year, and in that time the duo have been on the front lines of pushing the envelope of technology.

If you’re not attending the event this year, you can still get you day started with the Day 1 conference intro video I created to kick off the event.

And no, you can’t wear a tie to T3! Or at least you shouldn’t. Rumor has it Bruckenstein is walking around with a pair of freshly sharpened scissors!

New Companies Aplenty

Bruckenstein and Drucker announced that this year’s event drew over 600 registered attendees and a record number of new companies launching new products or services built for financial advisers.

Joel Bruckenstein at T3 2014

Joel Bruckenstein welcomes over 600 attendees to T3 2014

A quick tour of the exhibit hall reveals that several of these new companies include Gotham Tech Labs and its Wealthbox CRM platform, Quovo and its portfolio aggregation and analytics platform, and RetireUp and its quick retirement plan illustration tool.

As time allows, check back here at FPPad.com for updates and buzz on some of the best sessions and discussions in and around the show floor.