Tag Archives: MoneyGuidePro

FPPad Bits and Bytes for November 18, 2016

On today’s broadcast, Wells Fargo announces a partnership with SigFig, Cetera’s computers systems suffer a two-day outage, lessons from a hack at Lincoln Financial, and more.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(WatchFPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by eMoney Advisor, the leading provider of digital wealth management solutions. eMoney just introduced two new Advanced Analytics products: Advisor Analytics Pro, offering advisors and support staff deeper business insights, and Office Analytics, offering never-before-seen firm-wide insights.

eMoney Advisor

Featuring a customizable Analytics dashboard, an expansive library of new and interactive data charts, and more, eMoney’s Advanced Analytics solutions will help you put your data to work and uncover more opportunities. For more information the eMoney Analytics solutions, visit fppad.com/emoneyanalytics.

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

Wells Fargo Goes Robo With SigFig Wealth Management from WSJ.com, and

Wells Fargo notice of an application for an exemption from certain requirements of rule 3a-7(a)(4)(i) under the Investment Company Act of 1940 from SEC.gov

[First up is news from Wells Fargo, as the bank, which finds itself in the middle of a very public firestorm over opening unauthorized accounts, announced this week that it is partnering with SigFig to release an automated investment service to customers of Wells Fargo Advisors sometime in the first half of 2017.

Other than the potential release date, there really wasn’t any concrete information on pricing or the types of investments to be used in the service. Will they be Wells Fargo mutual funds, or third-party ETFs? As of today, Wells Fargo doesn’t offer its own ETFs, but earlier this year, the company filed an exemptive relief request with the SEC, signaling some intent to enter the ETF space.

But that opens the door for potential problems with the Department of Labor fiduciary rule, highlighted by industry Nerd-In-Chief Michael Kitces, where automated investment services that recommend investments in proprietary products, Kitces calls out Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and BlackRock’s FutureAdvisor, do not qualify under the Level Fee Fiduciary exemption because of the variable compensation inherent in an allocation of proprietary ETFs!

So, this is all “industry” stuff, and not all that applicable to your business, but here’s my point. All the big banks, all the incumbent financial institutions are boarding the automated investment bandwagon. Sooner rather than later, your clients and prospects are going to get solicited by the very institutions they use today.

And clients are expecting an experience like Uber, but you’re still driving around a dirty taxi that has to be flagged down with a hand in the air that doesn’t have a functional credit card machine!] Wells Fargo & Co.’s brokerage arm is partnering with SigFig Wealth Management LLC to bring automated investment advice to clients, the latest example of how traditional wealth-management firms are working with startup robo advisers to offer new digital tools to investors.

Cetera Brokers Endure Two-Day Systemwide Crash from AdvisorHub

[Next up is news about Cetera Financial Group, as the independent broker dealer encountered a company-wide systems outage that affected 9,000 brokers as well as the company’s back-office and operations teams.

According to an AdvisorHub article, the outage started on Monday, and one broker with First Allied reported that he could not sign in to view emails, access performance reports, or even call Cetera using their standard phone number. Cell phone numbers were eventually sent out on Monday evening.

In a firm-wide conference call on Tuesday afternoon, Cetera Chief Executive Robert Moore apologized for the disruption and said systems had been fully restored, and added that no data had been compromised through hacking or any other unauthorized access.

So, let this be a reminder that if it’s been a while since you tested your business continuity plan, next week’s Thanksgiving break might be a good time to do so. It doesn’t matter if you manage your own systems or leverage the resources of a broker-dealer, you need to verify how you can perform the essential parts of your business in the event of a disruption.

Attackers are launching denial of service attacks every day against financial institutions, so it’s important that you know exactly what you need to do when the systems you depend aren’t available.] Just six months after emerging from bankruptcy, independent brokerage company Cetera Financial Group experienced a companywide systems outage Monday and Tuesday that walled off brokers at its seven operating broker-dealers from customer data, emails and other vital account management functions.

Lincoln Financial Unit Gets $650K Fine After Server Hack from Law360, and

LETTER OF ACCEPTANCE, WAIVER AND CONSENT NO. 2013035036601 at FINRA.org

[And speaking of attackers, my last story is about Lincoln Financial Securities, an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Group, as the company paid a $650,000 fine imposed by FINRA for failing to safeguard customer data stored on a cloud server used by one of its OSJs.

Sometime in 2012, hackers were able to access the could server configured by a third-party vendor and obtain records on approximately 5,400 customers. The FINRA Letter of Acceptance doesn’t say HOW the server was compromised, and didn’t identify what kind of server was in use. Was it an FTP server, a service like Dropbox, a proprietary server with remote access, or something else?

But more troubling to me is that FINRA goes on to say that the firm “failed to take adequate steps to monitor or audit the vendors’ performance.” Now hold on. One benefit of leveraging third-party vendors is that they bring expertise to the table that the firm doesn’t have, like, oh, I don’t know, cybersecurity expertise.

But for FINRA to say that the firm failed to test and verify the security of the cloud servers, that just doesn’t seem right. The firm doesn’t HAVE the expertise in cloud server security, which is why the firm hired the third-party vendor in the first place, but now FINRA says that the firm is the one that has to verify the security of the third-party vendor that it hired to bring security expertise to the firm? How is that even possible?

What I do know is FINRA just levied a heavy fine on a firm because their third-party vendor had a hole in their security that was exploited by hackers, and in my opinion, that’s a troubling precedent that has been set.] A Lincoln Financial Group subsidiary on Monday agreed to accept a $650,000 fine leveled by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and implement tighter security protocols after hackers in mid-2012 accessed its cloud server and lifted the confidential records of roughly 5,400 customers.

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

WisdomTree Makes Strategic Investment in AdvisorEngine from WisdomTree

WisdomTree Investments, Inc. announced that it has invested $20 million for a 36% equity interest in AdvisorEngine, formerly known as Vanare, an end-to-end digital wealth management platform which enables individual customization of investment philosophies.

PIEtech℠, Inc. Unveils Integration with MX for Aggregation and Personal Financial Management Functionality from PRWeb

PIEtech℠, Inc., the creator of the industry’s leading financial planning software, MoneyGuidePro®, today unveiled a new integration with MX to deepen the availability of aggregation for MoneyGuidePro® subscribers and add personal financial management (PFM) functionality via the client portal.

Combined Envestnet and Yodlee Data Offering Supports Morgan Stanley Wealth Management from PRNewswire.com

Envestnet | Yodlee and its parent company Envestnet, today announced a partnership for the combined organization, providing data aggregation, digital applications and data reconciliation solutions to Morgan Stanley, one of the largest, most established wealth management businesses in the industry.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for November 18, 2016

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for November 18, 2016

FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 21, 2016

On today’s broadcast, the World’s Most Famous Hacker shares his top cybersecurity tips, Fidelity previews its next-generation advisor technology platform, and get rapid-fire news from three of the fastest-growing portfolio management providers.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Envestnet | Tamarac, providers of Advisor Xi, an industry-leading fully integrated web-based suite for RIAs. Tamarac’s Advisor Xi unifies portfolio management, modeling, rebalancing, trading, billing, and reporting with a fully customizable client portal and enterprise-grade CRM.

envestnet-tamarac-600

If you’re going to Schwab IMPACT next week, be sure you make some time to visit the Envestnet |Tamarac booth for a live demo on their latest client portal and financial planning capabilities.

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

See the #topsecurityshow tweets from Kevin Mitnick’s cybersecurity presentation

[Now continuing with the National Cyber Security Awareness theme this month, my first story is about Kevin Mitnick, the World’s Most Famous Hacker, as he presented some jaw-dropping examples of cyber and social engineering attacks that are being used today to compromise businesses of all kinds, including financial advisory firms.

Envision Consulting hosted the event in Washington DC and brought me in as the master of ceremonies, so I wanted to be sure I shared my top three takeaways with you.

First, Mitnick advised that none of the computers in your business or home should have any kind of peer-to-peer sharing software installed. This software is usually used to download pirated movies and music across peer-to-peer networks, so while you might not be downloading any pirated content, it’s possible that some of your colleagues or even your kids are doing so.

Mitnick said that some peer-to-peer software exposes the contents of a computer’s ENTIRE hard drive to the sharing network without the user’s knowledge, which is never a good thing, so you need to be sure it’s not installed on any of your systems.

Second, Mitnick showed how hackers can use a custom wireless access point to mimic public WiFi hotspots and perform man-in-the-middle attacks on your devices. For about $100, hackers broadcast their own hotspot pretending to be attwifi or free airport wifi, wait for your device to automatically connect, and then intercept the data your device sends back and forth.

So whenever you’re in a public place, turn your wifi connection off and use your mobile carrier’s network, or if you must connect to an untrusted WiFi network, use a virtual private network, or VPN, to encrypt the traffic sent to and from your device.

And third, instead of opening email attachments directly with Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat, consider using Google’s file preview built into the Chrome browser. This way, you won’t risk executing what Mitnick calls “weaponized” files, because Chrome will render a preview of the document in the web browser first, helping you determine if the file looks legitimate or if it seems suspicious. You can check the plugin settings in Chrome to see if the PDF viewer is enabled for your computer.]

Fidelity® Goes to Market with Next-Generation Advisor Technology Platform from BusinessWire

[Next up is news from Fidelity Investments, as the company offered a preview of its automated investment solution for advisors called the Fidelity Automated Managed Platform, a solution co-developed with eMoney Advisor expected to be in pilot in the late first quarter of 2017.

Now if you take a look at the linked article, you’ll see a few screenshots of the solution powered by the eMoney online experience, so this doesn’t appear to be a repackaged version of Fidelity Go that is offered to retail clients, and the portfolio allocations are the same as those in Fidelity Go which are managed by the sub-advisor Geode Capital Management.

Unfortunately the preview didn’t cover any specific pricing of the Fidelity Automated Managed Platform, and advisors not already using eMoney will have to purchase at least the eMX Select subscription that’s somewhere around $1,500 to $2,000 per year, which is an interesting way to get advisors to buy more eMoney subscriptions. The press release also includes descriptions of the coming Wealthscape total advisor platform, Wealthscape Portfolio Tools, Wealthscape Regulatory Early Warning, and more. There’s a lot to take in from the press release, so be sure to follow the link included with this week’s top stories if you want to get completely up to speed.]

Envestnet | Tamarac Offers Goals-Based Reporting in Advisor View™ & Client Portal from PRNewswire, and

BAM Advisor Services Selects Orion as Exclusive Portfolio Accounting Software for RIAs from Marketwired, and

Addepar Surpasses $500 Billion in Assets and Opens Platform API for Integrations from PRNewswire

[And I’m running out of time, so let me finish with a rapid-fire update that starts with Envestnet | Tamarac, as their Advisor View client portal integration with MoneyGuidePro is now officially in production, then Orion Advisor Services, as the company announced a partnership with BAM Advisor Services to provide portfolio management software services to their collective $27 billion dollars in assets, and finish with a surprise update from Addepar, which used a rare press release to announce that the company surpassed $500 billion in assets managed on its platform and the rollout of the Addepar Open API for third party developers.]

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 21, 2016

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 21, 2016

FPPad Bits and Bytes for July 29, 2016

On today’s broadcast, it’s a robo free-for-all, so put on your best robo accessory, because FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Envision Consulting, providers of IT management and support, cloud computing, and cybersecurity services to RIAs. This October, Envision is hosting a cybersecurity event with Kevin Mitnick, the World’s Most Famous Hacker, where you can find out how to leverage Kevin’s knowledge of the latest hacking techniques to protect your business from attack.

Register Today!

Space is limited, so secure your registration today by visiting topsecurityshow.com, and if you use my promo code, FPPad, you’ll save 15% off the price of your registration.

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

Fidelity Launches Automated Investment Advice Service from WSJ.com

Fidelity Go Vs. Pokemon Go: Be A Low-Cost Investor Or AR Zombie from Investor’s Business Daily

Better Together: Automated Investing with Professional Guidance from BusinessWire

TD Ameritrade Earns $240M in Quarter; Says Retail Robo Is Coming from ThinkAdvisor

TD Ameritrade Institutional, XY Planning Network Launch Program to Cultivate Next-Generation RIAs and Investors from TD Ameritrade

Wells Fargo Plans to Start Robo-Advisory in 2017, Sloan Says from Bloomberg

Big News for the Quantopian Community: Managing External Capital from Quantopian

[Get ready for the robo news, as this week’s top stories come from Fidelity Investments and TD Ameritrade, as both financial institutions recently announced online investing solutions for the retail investor. A few days ago, Fidelity officially rolled out Fidelity Go, specifically targeting digitally savvy customers in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, with investment assets in the low six figures.

When asked by Investor’s Business Daily what happens when Fidelity Go customers get older and wealthier, Rich Compson, head of managed accounts at Fidelity, responded that customers would be referred “to other services like Fidelity’s Portfolio Advisory Services.”

Ok, ok, but advisors aren’t completely left out, as Fidelity did promise details about an automated service it’s developing for financial advisers by year-end. That’s, details, by year-end.

And a few weeks ago, TD Ameritrade announced it had completed updates to its Amerivest Managed Portfolios retail offering, including a digital overhaul for better goal setting, performance tracking, and more.

In ThinkAdvisor’s interview with incoming CEO Tim Hockey, he said that the company will be using Amerivest’s tech enhancements “to launch a new robo for the self-directed client’s needs” scheduled for sometime in 2017.

When asked about referrals to RIAs who custody with TD Ameritrade Institutional, Hockey added that retail clients with $1 million dollars or more are the “target referral” for affiliated RIAs.

That comment came out at the same time the company announced a program with the XY Planning Network to provide dedicated service and no minimum asset requirement to use TD Ameritrade Institutional’s custody services. That’s good, it’s gotta be awkward knowing TD Ameritrade is going to target digitally savvy investors, aka potential XYPN clients, with their own retail robo solution.

On top of all that, Wells Fargo also announced that it, too, is entering the robo market, with a solution expected also sometime in 2017.

And if you don’t like today’s current robo solutions, you can go build your own robo algorithm with Quantopian, who just received fresh venture capital this week from hedge fund investor Steve Cohen.

That’s it, all I hear all day long is how great robos do this, or how wonderful robos do that: robo, robo, robo!]

Envestnet | Tamarac to Roll Out Client Portal 2.0 from PRNewswire

[Now in NON-robo news, how about an update from Envestnet | Tamarac, as the company released the latest version of its client portal to advisors who use the Advisor View™ application. If you watched my coverage of the Envestnet Advisor Summit earlier this year, you would have seen a preview of the updated client portal, plus the key enhancements highlighted by Brandon Rembe. So click right here so you can watch that video.] Envestnet | Tamarac has completely redesigned the client portal in its Advisor View™ portfolio management and performance reporting application. The new client portal will be implemented as part of Tamarac’s July 2016 technology release, and seeks to help RIAs create highly customizable client portal experiences to engage their clients and appeal to the next generation of investors.

MoneyGuidePro creator releases DOL fiduciary-focused software from InvestmentNews.com

[Also, MoneyGuidePro recently released a utility called Best Interest Scout, intended to gather information about client goals, expectations, and investment details in one place. This should help you from a workflow perspective, but the tool should also be helpful in identifying when you must engage in a Best Interests Contract with a client. If you’re concerned about compliance with the pending fiduciary rule from the DoL, expect more tools like Best Interest Scout to come to market.] PIEtech, the creator of financial planning software MoneyGuidePro, has built a tool to see how well clients’ portfolios are aligned with their best interests, including retirement goals and concerns, insurance needs, and health-care costs.

Now since I took a few weeks off, I just don’t have time to cover all the stories in my backlog, including news on the talent exodus at Wealthfront, the Betterment for Business 401(k) offering surpassing 200 plan sponsors and $5 billion in AUM, Quovo, Riskalyze and more, so links to those stories are below:

Talent exodus hits Wealthfront including heads of product, marketing and operations from RIABiz.com

Wealthfront, founded in 2008, is experiencing its first big talent exodus — a flurry of departures that includes some C-suite titles and a Unicorn shepherd.

Betterment for Business Surpasses 200 Plan Sponsors from PRNewswire

Betterment for Business, the only turnkey 401(k) service that includes personalized investment advice for all participants, announced today that it has successfully added 200 plan sponsors to the platform in the last six months.

Betterment Becomes First Independent Robo-Advisor to Surpass $5B of Assets Under Management from PRNewswire

Betterment announced today that it is the first independent robo-advisor to reach $5 billion in assets under management. The company now helps more than 175,000 customers intelligently manage and grow their wealth.

Apex Clearing to Offer Vanare’s Digital Advice Platform from PRNewswire

Apex Clearing Corporation will begin offering to its broker dealer and RIA clients the ability to digitally manage investments using Vanare’s digital advice platform. Vanare offers a wealth management technology platform with a highly customizable white labeled Roboadvisor.

Advisor Software, Quovo Partner to Strengthen Goals-Based Planning Capabilities for Wealth Managers from PRNewswire

Advisor Software, Inc. has teamed up with Quovo to provide wealth managers with seamless access to aggregated client financial data, which can help put together an all-encompassing financial picture for every client.

Marstone and Quovo Announce Partnership from MarketWired.com

Marstone, an innovative digital wealth company, and Quovo, a financial data science company for the wealth management industry, today announced that they have completed a partnership to enhance Marstone’s digital wealth solutions with Quovo’s industry-leading data aggregation.

Riskalyze Autopilot for Retirement Plans from Riskalyze

LastPass introduces Emergency Access from LastPass

With the Emergency Access feature, you can give trusted family and friends access to your LastPass account in the event of an emergency or crisis.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for July 29, 2016

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for July 29, 2016

 

FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 29, 2016

On today’s broadcast, Redtail is the beneficiary of two announcements, MoneyGuidePro releases G4, and see the latest audio and video solutions to enhance your online content

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(WatchFPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Kaleido, introducing their new flexible marketing services that turn your marketing plan into action.

kaleido 620

Learn how Kaleido can help you implement the marketing projects you’ve been putting off by visiting fppad.com/kaleido.

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

Morningstar and Redtail Technology Announce Expanded Agreement, Adding Redtail’s Robust CRM Functionality to Morningstar Office for Financial Advisors from PRNewswire, and

Zapier integration with Redtail CRM is now available from Redtail Technology

[This week’s top story is a two-for-one about Redtail Technology, as the CRM provider was first mentioned by Morningstar as the company is further expanding its integration with the popular CRM for advisors. Two years ago, Redtail users started accessing Morningstar research and analytics directly in the CRM, and with the latest integration, users of both solutions can transfer data between the two systems, reducing the amount of manual data entry as well as synchronizing client and account data viewed in Redtail CRM.

The second story from Redtail is the announcement of a new integration with Zapier, a popular web automation application. The connection with Zapier means that Redtail users can use triggers in Redtail, such as a new activity or a new contact in the CRM, to create an action in another program, which includes over 500 popular services like Slack, Google Docs, MailChimp and many more.

Other providers, including Wealthbox CRM, have been hinting at soon-to-be-released integrations with Zapier and others for several months now.
So if you’ve been frustrated with the lack of direct integrations within your CRM, you’ll soon be able to build your own custom trigger and action workflows using apps like Zapier.] Redtail CRM is now available publicly in Zapier’s App Directory in beta version.

PIEtech, Inc. Releases 4th Generation of MoneyGuidePro – Helping Firms Deliver Higher Quality Plans in a Scalable Manner from PRWeb

[Next up is news from MoneyGuidePro, as the financial planning software provider officially released the fourth generation of its software, aptly named G4. Advisors will definitely notice an updated look and feel to the user interface, but G4 largely retains many of the core features present in the prior version, G3, such as the Play Zone, Social Security Maximization, and the What Are You Afraid Of? modules.

One of the more significant changes is the addition of five pre-built workflows called “conversations” which are used to streamline the creation of an initial financial plan. Advisors can complete the conversation data entry alone or together with clients in a meeting, or decide to grant clients access to an online portal where they enter data completely on their own.

The pre-built workflows limit the amount of data needed to create a plan so that the entire process isn’t overly tedious. With a preliminary plan created, advisors can then drill down into more specific areas of the plan.] PIEtech’s vision, “Everyone needs and deserves a quality financial plan,” has never been truer – for both advisors and clients. Today, PIEtech released the fourth generation of MoneyGuidePro® to help financial advisors develop and deliver quality financial plans on an unprecedented scale.

Watch the G4 video tutorial on the MoneyGuidePro website.

FPPad Coverage from the 2016 NAB Show on YouTube

[And finally, I want to wrap up this week’s broadcast with a heads up about the videos Steve and I made at the NAB Show last week. We featured the top video, audio, and technology gadgets, as well as whatever that thing is, from over 1,800 exhibitors that you can use to start making your own online content. You’ll learn about 360º cameras, wireless microphones, lighting, production resources and more that are all affordable and easy for you to use.]

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

Quovo and Vanare Partner to Help Financial Firms Provide Better Client Experience from PRNewswire

Advisors striving to improve the client experience by providing offerings tailored to their entire financial picture can now seamlessly aggregate their client’s data into a fully customized online wealth management platform.

Data Points Releases Its Behavioral Finance Assessment Platform from PRWeb

Data Points announced today the release of its Predicting Wealth™ platform, which provides the financial services industry a scientific way to identify clients with the highest potential for building wealth across all market segments. The platform delivers analytics on the financial behaviors of clients and predictive assessments to drive financial success.

United Capital Announces FinLife Partners: a White Label of Firm’s Integrated Advice, Investment Management, Technology and Coaching for Advisers from BusinessWire

Today, United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC (“United Capital”), a Financial Life Management firm, announces the launch of FinLife Partners, a turnkey advice and planning platform that allows independent advisers access to the firm’s proprietary Financial Life Management system, including adviser-branded client experience tools, digital workflow technology and personalized on-demand coaching.

SEC Warns More Cyber Enforcement Actions Coming from Nasdaq.com

The SEC has a long to-do list, but ensuring that advisors and other registrants are protecting clients’ sensitive information from cyber threats is right at the top, and more enforcement actions are expected.

PayPal leads $30 million round in Acorns investing app from TechCrunch

Acorns, the investing app, is announcing a $30 million strategic investment from PayPal, with participation from the Rakuten FinTech Fund. This brings the team’s total funding to $62 million.

Katch is shutting down May 4th from Katch

After 12 months of building the best way to save and discover mobile live streams, it is with great disappointment that we must announce that Katch will be shutting down.

Docupace Announces Independence from RCS Capital (RCAP) from BusinessWire

Docupace Technologies LLC, financial services’ premier digital compliance and cyber security company, announced today that it will pursue growth independently of investment from RCS Capital Corporation

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 29, 2016

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 29, 2016

FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 15, 2016

On today’s broadcast, LPL Financial hooks up with BlackRock’s FutureAdvisor, Riskalyze and Advizr integrate their platforms, and bots might be the future of financial 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 Twenty Over Ten, providers of beautiful, tailored, mobile responsive websites specifically for Financial Advisors.

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Easily manage your brand while automatically archiving your website changes for compliance. Sign up for a 45 day free trial today by visiting twentyoverten.com/fppad. Oh, and be sure to watch the YouTube channel for videos from next week’s NAB Show, which are also brought to you by Twenty Over Ten.

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

LPL Financial to Leverage BlackRock Solutions’ FutureAdvisor to Offer Robo Solution to Advisors and Their Clients from LPL Financial

[Now on to this week’s top story which comes from LPL Financial, as the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer announced it will use BlackRock’s recently-acquired FutureAdvisor platform to power an online automated investment offering. LPL first hinted at its plans for a “robo advisor” back in the summer of 2015 at its annual Focus conference, which was roughly one month before BlackRock made its FutureAdvisor acquisition.

While the announcement sure generated some buzz, no details on specific pricing or availability were provided. What the press release did say is that the model portfolios will be provided by LPL’s research department, so at least initially, advisors and reps will not be able to create their own custom allocations.

The press release also said the automated solution will be integrated with LPL’s custodial platform, but it didn’t say if that was the existing BranchNet platform or the much-anticipated ClientWorks, which as far as I know, has still not been officially released.

So at least we now know what LPL’s robo strategy will be, but with so many forward-looking statements, we don’t know when that strategy will be ready for use by LPL’s financial advisors.] Leading retail investment advisory firm and independent broker/dealer LPL Financial LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of LPL Financial Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:LPLA), today announced it will use BlackRock Solutions’ (BRS) FutureAdvisor platform to support a digital advice platform for use by LPL’s financial advisors and institutions and their clients.

A Match Made in Heaven: Advizr and Riskalyze Integrate from Businesswire

[Next up is news from Riskalyze and Advizr, as the two companies announced a new integration to streamline financial advisor workflows. The new integration will import Riskalyze model portfolio sets into the Advizr financial planning software, allowing advisors to recommend the most appropriate asset allocation according to their client’s personal Risk Number.

Not only that, both companies offer effective lead generation tools for advisors, with Riskalyze offering prospects the opportunity to determine their own Risk Number, and Advizr offering a quick financial plan illustration with Advizr Express.

The combination of the two will help advisors gain more information about prospects’ risk tolerance and the building blocks of a complete financial plan.

The companies called the integration “a match made in heaven” because both of them are winners of the Best Client Facing Technology award announced right here on FPPad.

So as a result, and I am now officially accepting endorsements for matchmaking on my LinkedIn profile.] Advizr, the financial planning software recognized as the Best Client Facing Technology of 2015 by Bill Winterberg’s FPPad, and Riskalyze, the world’s first Risk Alignment Platform recognized for the same award in 2014, are integrating their award-winning products to provide an elegant, intuitive and seamless solution to financial advisers.

Messenger Platform at F8 from Facebook.com

[And finally, this week’s top story comes from the future, oh wait, “THE FUTURE!” as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage at this week at F8 conference and detailed the company’s roadmap for the next 10 years.

My best takeaway for you is the launch of the Messenger Platform that includes automated messaging powered by bots, no, not that bot, these are automated messenger bots.

With bots in messenger, you can make online clothing purchases, receive weather forecasts, view top headlines and more.

I can totally see bots making their way into your technology. Imagine if you could ask your Redtail bot when you next client meeting is scheduled, or your Orion bot how your AUM has grown over the past year, or even allow clients to ask the MoneyGuide Pro bot for their updated retirement confidence meter. How cool is that?!?

And if vendors eventually integrate bot into existing services, I bet that they’ll also include message archiving and retention so you can confidently use bots without violating your compliance requirements.

Oh, did I just give those vendors a little more work to do? I’m sorry!

Unfortunately there’s no word yet from FINRA or the SEC whether your bot has to be fingerprinted and subject to a background check. Thank you, I do two shows a night!] We’re excited to introduce bots for the Messenger Platform. Bots can provide anything from automated subscription content like weather and traffic updates, to customized communications like receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages all by interacting directly with the people who want to get them.

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

Former Top Schwab Executive Joins Betterment Board from New York Times

Less than one month after an investment round that doubled its private valuation to around $700 million, the robo-adviser Betterment is adding a former top executive from Charles Schwab, John S. Clendening, to its board.

Find time for your goals with Google Calendar from Google

That’s why starting today, we’re introducing Goals in Google Calendar. Just add a personal goal—like “run 3 times a week”—and Calendar will help you find the time and stick to it.

Orion’s Integration of FactSet’s Robust Research and Analytics Allows Advisors to Better Serve Their HNW and Institutional Clients from Marketwired

Orion Advisor Services, LLC (“Orion”), a premier portfolio accounting service provider for financial advisors, has announced it is now integrated with FactSet, a leading provider of financial data, analytics, and service, to offer its advisor clients easy access to portfolio research and analytics.

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 15, 2016

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 15, 2016

Between Sessions with MoneyGuidePro at T3 Enterprise 2015

I met with Bob Curtis, CEO of PIETech (providers of MoneyGuidePro software), between sessions at T3 Enterprise 2015 to dive into the details of what he discussed during his general session presentation at the conference.

MoneyGuidePro conducted one of the most unconventional presentations at the T3 Enterprise Conference, inspired by sketches from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Curtis, dressed head to toe in medieval regalia, told the audience that the holy grail in financial services is that everyone needs and deserves a quality financial plan. But most people don’t have plans because they aren’t comfortable approaching financial advisors to create one.

“71% of people are scared of talking to a financial advisor,” said Curtis. “How did we do that?”

Instead, Curtis offered, consumers are turning to online resources to create their own plan without the assistance of a professional.

“Do you think anyone is afraid to go online at home & engage with a computer?” asked Curtis.

“It’s easy and fast. It’s not intimidating.”

To rethink the way advice and planning is delivered, Curtis told the audience that employees of financial enterprises should go through their own planning experience to get a better feel for it and rethink parts of the process that are confusing, problematic, or too intrusive.

That is one reason why Curtis announced that a new MoneyGuideClient experience is coming soon, where clients are in the driver’s seat when creating their plan, and not the financial professional.

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

Laser App doubles down on technology training at its first Advisor Con event in Las Vegas

In its first Advisor Con event, Laser App gathered advisors in Las Vegas and doubled down on providing technology training resources.

As technology adoption continues to be a challenge for many financial advisors, Laser App met the issue head on with a new event dedicated to technology training.

In this three video series from the first-ever Laser App Advisor Con event, you’ll see how the company kicked off its inaugural conference by putting technology vendors front and center to highlight the value they bring to advisory firms.

Advisor Con Day One Kickoff

What you’ll learn in this video: My top three takeaways from the morning sessions, including MoneyGuidePro, Riskalzye, and Silanis.

Advisor Con Day One Provider Presentations

What you’ll learn in this video: Hear the tips technology providers want Advisor Con attendees to take back to their office.

Advisor Con Day Two Training

What you’ll learn in this video: Find out why Laser App dedicated an entire day of the Advisor Con agenda to technology training sessions.

FPPad Bits and Bytes for August 14

On today’s broadcast, Envestnet acquires account aggregation provider Yodlee, Advizr makes two announcements to close the gap among financial planning software, and find out why automated investing services might be losing their competitive advantage.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(WatchFPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by eMoney Advisor, host of the eMoney Advisor Summit coming October 19th through 21st in Orlando.

emoney summit

Take a deep dive into the emX strategies that help you Connect, Engage and Win with your clients. Plus, everyone watching this show can take advantage of a one hundred dollar discount off your registration, so visit fppad.com/emoneysummit15 today and use promo code FPPAD100. That’s FPPAD100.

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

Envestnet to Acquire Yodlee from Envestnet

[This week’s top story comes from Envestnet, as the wealth management technology and service provider announced it is acquiring Yodlee in a deal valued somewhere around $660 million. Now most of you know Yodlee for account aggregation, but Yodlee really doesn’t sell services directly to advisors.

Instead, some advisors benefit from Yodlee aggregation through third-party integrations, with MoneyGuidePro being the most well know,after announcing a Yodlee integration to much fanfare last year, priced at a dollar per day. You can get more details on that in episode 120 that I linked over here.

So let’s cut to the chase: is this good or bad? If you’re an Envestnet technology user, this is really good. Aggregating clients’ held away accounts gives you better visibility on what clients actually own, how they’re allocated, and in some cases, how they manage their cash flow. This information can only make the advice you give better, and that’s a fantastic thing for everyone!

BUT, if you compete with Envestnet and/or take advantage of Yodlee aggregation today, the future isn’t so clear. It’s way too early to speculate what’s going to happen to Yodlee’s pricing and availability, but if efficient account aggregation is a cornerstone of your business, it might be time to keep alternatives like Aqumulate, ByAllAccounts, or Quovo in mind.] Envestnet, Inc. (NYSE:ENV), a leading provider of unified wealth management technology and services to financial advisors, and Yodlee, Inc. (Nasdaq: YDLE), the leading cloud-based platform driving digital financial innovation, today announced that the Boards of Directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive agreement under which Envestnet will acquire all of the shares of Yodlee in a cash and stock transaction valued at $18.88 per share, or approximately $660 million on a fully-diluted equity value basis.

 

Introducing: Advizr Express from Advizr

[Next up is news from Advizr, an up-and-coming financial planning software provider, who this week made two announcements. First is the introduction of a prospecting tool called Advizr Express, allowing you to attract prospects by offering a super-simple retirement readiness illustration either on your website or for use with prospects during an initial meeting. Advizr Express is in beta testing today with an official release anticipated later this month.

Advizr’s second announcement is a new integration with Orion Advisor Services to import client portfolio holdings to avoid manually entering that information by hand. This adds to an existing integration with Blueleaf, and should be a preview of what to come with connections with many of the leading custodians. Wink wink.

So while Advizr is still a ways away from offering the number of integrations found in category leaders like Advicent, eMoney, and MoneyGuidePro, updates like these should help Advizr close the gap and offer you more choice in the tools you use to deliver financial planning.]

Automation Won’t Replace People as Your Competitive Advantage from Harvard Business Review

[And finally, I want to wrap up this week’s broadcast with an article from Harvard Business Review titled Automation Won’t Replace People as Your Competitive Advantage. For two years and seventy episodes of Bits and Bytes, the chatter about automated investment services and algorithmic rebalancing has reached a fever pitch, but scroll down to the end of that article and you’ll read a striking statement:

“Once smart machines are built to solve problems in asset efficiency (or indeed any area of operations) they very rapidly spread and become pervasive across an industry. Therefore, they cease to provide a competitive advantage.”

I think this perfectly describes what’s happening today in automated investing. Sure, six years ago, Wealthfront and Betterment attracted attention because there was nothing out there like their automated services. Their exclusivity was their competitive advantage.
But fast forward to today where automated services are available from Schwab, Vanguard, Future Advisor, Blooom, and even LPL Financial having announced their own plans for an automated service. Automated investing is becoming pervasive.

But what that also says to me is that if you don’t have some kind of low-cost automated service to offer, it may actually be viewed as a disadvantage because they’re so common in the industry. It’s like telling clients you won’t communicate with them via email. It’s so pervasive, who DOESN’T use email?] Geoff Colvin’s primary argument is that there are some unique human capabilities, like empathy and storytelling, that will keep people employable even as automation chips away at the content of most jobs.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for August 14, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for August 14, 2015