On today’s broadcast, get updates on hackathons hosted by Orion and eMoney, Motif Investing introduces subscription pricing, Betterment automates asset location preferences, and more.
So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!
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Here are the links to this week’s top stories:
Now you’ve probably noticed that it’s been a few weeks since my last Bits and Bytes broadcast, and that’s because I’ve attended not one, but two hackathon events hosted by financial technology companies. The first was the Fuse event in Park City, Utah, where Orion Advisor Services assembled developers from dozens of companies to present innovative ways they leverage the Orion Notifications platform. My producer Steve and I vlogged each day of the event, which I highly recommend you watch to find out who claimed the coveted Best in Show award.
And then two weeks later, eMoney hosted their own hackathon event, which had a bit of a different structure from Fuse, as four groups of advisors teamed up with eMoney product, design, and engineering employees to build new planning experiences onto the existing eMoney platform. We made vlogs of this event, too, which I also think is worth your time to watch.
Now, I get that hackathons generate good PR and marketing buzz for the host companies, but quite honestly it’s exciting to see activities like these that promote innovation and experimentation with technology that’s all about helping you serve your clients AND be a better business owner.
Motif Enters Subscription Economy, Introduces Motif BLUE from BusinessWire
Now, moving on to top stories, let’s start with Motif Investing, as the company just introduced a new subscription-based service called Motif BLUE. If you remember back in December 2014, I awarded the Best Back-Office Technology to the Motif Advisor Platform, but that was before the company switched from a flat monthly fee per customer to an AUM-based fee schedule.
But with Motif BLUE, the monthly fee makes a comeback, as customers can pay up to $19.95 a month to invest in three motifs, get auto-rebalancing of professional motifs, and trade motifs three times per month commission free.
So my theory is, customers can use the Motif BLUE Starter plan at $5 a month to mimic one of the asset allocations of the popular automated investment services out there, but instead of paying an AUM-based fee of, oh, 25 to 35 basis points, customers pay Motif roughly $60 a year.
Do the math, and Motif is cheaper when assets go above about $20,000 versus an annual fee of 35 basis points. Now I admit, there are still other differences between Motif Investing and automated investment services, but I think you can sense I believe that fees for investing software should not be based on the size of the assets being managed, and I expect that trend to grow as customers gravitate towards subscription-based pricing models.
But to up the ante, Betterment announced its own new offering called the Tax-Coordinated Portfolio service, where Betterment automatically implements asset location preferences across taxable and tax-deferred or tax-exempt investment accounts.
Now the concept of asset location preferences is nothing new, but what IS new is the ability to use software to automatically manage location preferences on the fly, such as when clients make one-time deposits or withdrawals across their various accounts. Betterment confirmed that this service will be available to Betterment for Advisors customers, so when I go back to that whole discussion around fees a moment ago with Motif Investing, one could argue that higher fees could be justified because of nuanced differences like automated asset location management.
And look, if you want to effectively mange asset location preferences, you really need to see all of your clients’ assets and accounts, which leads me to my final story that comes from Quovo, as the company announced the release of the Quovo Advisor Dashboard. The dashboard allows advisors to quickly view information on both assets under management as well as held-away assets, easily synchronize new client accounts, and generate simple reports based on the data obtained by Quovo.
Now I know aggregating held-away assets has always come with its share of challenges (like expired account credentials), but with the Department of Labor fiduciary requirements coming in April next year, how will you be able to defend the advice you provide to clients if you don’t have a clear picture of their assets and liabilities?
You can certainly get those details without using account aggregation, but it just won’t be very efficient, and with direct-to-consumer providers like Personal Capital and Betterment including account aggregation in their solutions, well, these are the new table stakes for technology in your business. So if you’re not using solutions like Quovo or alternatives like Morningstar ByAllAccounts, Aqumulate, eMoney, Wealth Access, Yodlee and others, there’s still time to add one of these to the tools you use today.
Here are several stories that didn’t make this week’s broadcast:
Riskalyze Rolls Out Coverage for Individual Bonds from Riskalyze
It’s a request we’ve heard from a lot of advisors: make it simple to include individual bonds in a portfolio on Riskalyze. We’re excited to announce that coverage for over 30,000 individual corporate, government and municipal bonds will arrive on October 1.
Despite end-to-end encryption, Qumram enables financial services firms to meet client demand for social media interaction, via WhatsApp, without compromising compliance.
If you’re using G Suite, “Find a time” already lets you set up meetings much faster in Calendar on Android. Today it’s coming to iOS and by the end of the year, the web.