Tag Archives: T3 2014

T3 2014: How a $5 billion RIA’s Laserfiche conversion generated time savings of 40%

Jim Anderson of CLS Investments, LLC: "We were living on borrowed time."

Jim Anderson of CLS Investments, LLC: “We were living on borrowed time.”

One $5 billion RIA converted 1.5 million documents to Laserfiche in less than a year, saving the company 40% of its collective time

One of the more practical general sessions at T3 2014 was presented by Jim Anderson, Chief Systems and Project Creator at CLS Investments, LLC.

CLS Investments is a third party investment manager and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NorthStar Financial Services Group.

You may recognize NorthStar for its Orion Advisor Services, LLC subsidiary, serving advisers’ needs as a portfolio management service bureau for more than a decade.

On the investment side of NorthStar, CLS Investments is an SEC-registered investment adviser and maintained more than $5.6 billion in assets under management as of mid-2013.

“Living on Borrowed Time”

So what was the most appealing part of Anderson’s general session presentation? He detailed the process of transitioning out of an aging IBM FileNet enterprise content management system to a more robust platform powered by Laserfiche (see How Laserfiche is used in the family office environment).

“We were living on borrowed time,” Anderson said to a room full of T3 Conference attendees.

What frustrated employees of CLS Investments the most was the fact that documents could only be retrieved based on their metadata, or document descriptions, added Anderson.

Should a document get misfiled or labeled incorrectly, it was as if the document had been permanently deleted with no possibility of retrieval.

According to Anderson, FileNet was that much of a black hole that employees didn’t have any confidence in the system.

Laserfiche Rises to the Top

As Anderson and other project leaders surveyed the content management marketplace, Laserfiche was the one solution that consistently offered answers to CLS Investment’s many requirements.

CLS Investments wanted a platform that could push the administration and management of documents back to each business unit in the organization. Roles-based workflow, integrated compliance functions, and full-text search capabilities were also must-have requirements.

Accelerated Information Systems was the Laserfiche value-added reseller selected by CLS Investments

Accelerated Information Systems was the Laserfiche value-added reseller selected by CLS Investments

While the product was promising, Laserfiche is primarily sold through a network of value-added resellers, or VARs. Anderson knew that the success of the pending project would largely be determined by the quality of the Laserfiche VAR.

“We wanted to work with a partner who thinks like we do and speaks our language,” said Anderson.

And in its search for a Laserfiche VAR, CLS Investments selected Accelerated Information Systems based in the New York City metro area.

Doubling Licenses Twice in One Year

As CLS Investments was just beginning its due diligence on Laserfiche, Zaheer Master, founder of Accelerated Information Systems, invited Anderson and his colleagues to attend Laserfiche Empower, the content management provider’s annual conference (watch Laserfiche Unveils Product Roadmap at Empower 2014).

Zaheer Master

Accelerated Information Systems founder Zaheer Master: “It’s not what you don’t know that can hurt you; it’s what you can’t find.”

Anderson commented that after seeing the size of the worldwide Laserfiche community as well as the network of add ons, plugins, and third party developers, he and his team had much more confidence that Laserfiche could be the best fit for CLS Investments.

Anderson originally planned to start with 25 licenses for the pilot phase of Laserfiche implementation, but based on his conference experience, he doubled the pilot size to 50 licenses.

Nine months into the implementation, CLS Investments once again doubled its number of licenses to 100.

“The growth of Laserfiche at CLS is a result of the successful change management process applied by the CLS project team and Accelerated Information Systems,” said Master.

“By addressing the most visible pain points early on in the project, we gained momentum for bringing the benefits of Laserfiche to more departments,” he added.

“Everyone’s Hair Was On Fire”

Nevertheless, not all employees of CLS Investments were completely sold on Laserfiche. Any change can be challenging, said Anderson, but changes that affect everyday workflow and habits are especially hard to embrace.

But one scenario in the middle of implementation acted as the pivot for Laserfiche adoption.

Anderson described that one day, accounting had an urgent need for a fee schedule, but was unable to find any trace of the document in its legacy systems.

“You’ve all seen it before. It was as if everyone’s hair was on fire in a mad scramble to find the missing fee schedule,” Anderson said.

But during the conversion of more than 1.5 million records from FileNet to Laserfiche, Accelerated Information Systems applied optical character recognition, or OCR, to every single record.

“With full-text search, we found the fee schedule and everyone calmed down. It was then that our managers knew that we had the right tool,” he said.

The scenario is not too uncommon among Accelerated Information Systems’ clients, says Master, adding, “It’s not what you don’t know that can hurt you; it’s what you can’t find. CLS now knows they can find every document, every single time, even if it’s filed in the wrong folder.”

A 40% Time Savings

Throughout the implementation process, Anderson described how CLS Investments was able to create workflows to compliment and streamline existing processes, not interrupt them.

Also, as an enterprise user of Salesforce, CLS Investments is able to leverage the Laserfiche integration that allows users to view their Laserfiche repository directly from Salesforce.

Anderson closed with an impressive statistic about the return on investment CLS Investments has realized in the year since its initial Laserfiche implementation.

“By leveraging the workflow rules to structure processes and validate steps along the way, we estimate that we’ve saved roughly 40% of our time by switching to Laserfiche,” said Anderson.

Social CRM for financial advisers: How activity streams will enhance client relationships

Wealthbox CRM wants to deliver "Social CRM" to financial advisers

Wealthbox CRM wants to deliver “Social CRM” to financial advisers

Social CRM for financial advisers ushers in a new paradigm in managing client relationships

Your day begins with quick glance at your mobile device. Open an app and you see that six of your clients are traveling for business, two of them overseas. Another client just revealed that her daughter’s volleyball team won a regional championship.

At first it sounds like you’re checking your Facebook feed. Or perhaps you’re swiping through lists on Twitter.

But in fact, you’re checking your social CRM.

Social CRM for Financial Advisers

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more attract billions of users month after month by aggregating updates from your professional, personal, and social connections.

So why not build the same functionality into CRM software, the technology advisers use the most day after day?

Wealthbox CRM

One startup doing so is New York City-based Gotham Tech Labs with the introduction of Wealthbox CRM.

I reviewed the final beta version of Wealthbox CRM prior to its general release announced at this week’s 2014 T3 Conference and provided my impressions in this month’s Morningstar Advisor column.

So go visit Morningstar Advisor and find out how a social CRM might open up new opportunities in your business.

Image credit: Wealthbox.com

T3 2014: MoneyGuidePro to integrate Yodlee for account aggregation

Bob Curtis, President and CEO of MoneyGuidePro (right) forecasting the future of financial planning with Harold Evensky (left)

Bob Curtis, President and CEO of MoneyGuidePro (right) forecasting the future of financial planning with Harold Evensky (left)

Popular MoneyGuidePro financial planning software to aggregate held away accounts through a new Yodlee integration

Ask most technology consultants and financial advisers about their account aggregation options, and you’ll likely hear just a few common names.

ByAllAccounts, Fiserv’s CashEdge, and perhaps Intuit.

But Yodlee?

That solution almost never gets mentioned.

Until now.

MoneyGuidePro Integrates Yodlee

In a packed general session at the 2014 Technology Tools for Today (T3) conference, Bob Curtis, President and CEO of MoneyGuidePro announced that the popular financial planning software program will soon integrate account aggregation functionality using services from Yodlee.

One of the reasons I believe Yodlee hasn’t gained traction among financial services technology solutions is price. Yodlee is a rather expensive solution relative to its counterparts in the marketplace.

But MoneyGuidePro is breaking down the potential barrier of cost with very aggressive pricing.

Yodlee For $1 a Day

In his general session, Curtis announced that MoneyGuidePro will offer the Yodlee integration at an introductory cost of $365 annually. That’s right, just $1 per day.

And as to when the Yodlee integration will be available, Curtis told advisers that the account aggregation functionality is anticipated to be rolled out in Q2 of 2014.

For more information on the Yodlee integration with MoneyGuidePro, read the full press release at BusinessWire.

T3 2014: SEI enters the integration arms race through strategic partnerships with Redtail Technology, MoneyGuidePro, and ActiFi

left to right: Redtail Technology CEO Brian McLaughlin, ActiFi CEO Spenser Segal, PIETech CIO Tony Leal, SEI Advisor Network Director of Research and Validation Raef Lee

left to right: Redtail Technology CEO Brian McLaughlin, ActiFi CEO Spenser Segal, PIETech CIO Tony Leal, SEI Advisor Network Director of Research and Validation Raef Lee

SEI announces strategic partnerships and enters the integration arms race dominated by four leading custodians

When you think of custodians that make headlines for technology integration initiatives, four institutions likely come to mind.

The “Big Four” Integrated Custodians

In no particular order, Schwab Advisor Services, Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, TD Ameritrade Institutional, and Pershing LLC are the custodians most advisers observe as each tries to one-up the other in the technology integration arms race.

On a side note, emerging advisers with small but growing businesses are paying attention to developments at TradePMR, Scottrade, and Shareholders Service Group.

SEI Enters The Integration Arms Race

But another custodian looking to enter the arms race of integration is SEI, the Oaks, Penn.-based company providing outsourced services to financial advisers for more than 20 years. SEI serves over 5,700 advisors who collectively manage over $41 billion in assets under management.

Raef Lee, Director of Research and Validation. SEI Advisor Network

Raef Lee, Director of Research and Validation. SEI Advisor Network

In a pre-conference meeting at T3 2014, Raef Lee, Director of Research and Validation for the SEI Advisor Network, revealed that the company is entering into a strategic partnership with leading technology and consulting providers Redtail Technology, MoneyGuidePro, and ActiFi.

In development for the last 18 months, and actively under construction for the last nine, SEI plans to rollout the complete solution to advisers by the end of 2014.

Cross Application Workflow Automation

“The partnership will provide the first true cross application workflow automation platform for end-to-end processing orchestrated across multiple applications,” said Spenser Segal, founder and CEO of ActiFi.

In other words, advisers using SEI’s new integrated solution will be able to initiate workflows in Redtail that then execute actions on the custodial side without ever leaving the Redtail environment. It’s the “without ever leaving Redtail” that makes this solution unique.

From Financial Plans to Proposals

Another key differentiator of SEI’s proposed solution is the ability to generate investor proposals using information previously created in MoneyGuidePro financial plans.

“There’s never been a good integration with a proposal system, so having this new integration to seamlessly pass account and client information is the most exciting thing about this solution,” said Tony Leal, CIO and partner at PieTech, the providers of MoneyGuidePro financial planning software.

No Cost Integration

SEI also announced that the new integrated solution will be offered at no cost to advisers who affiliate with SEI.

Advisers will need to purchase standard subscriptions to Redtail CRM and MoneyGuidePro, which combined cost less than $2,000 per year. However, activating and using the SEI solution is free.

For all the details on the upcoming SEI integrated solution, read the press release at MarketWire.com.

T3 2014: Pershing’s new NetXInvestor™ revamps the investor-facing portal experience

A frist look at Pershing LLC's NetXInvestor™ dashboard

A frist look at Pershing LLC’s NetXInvestor™ dashboard

Quick to respond to the demands for better client portals, Pershing LLC today announced a new generation of its investor-facing portal under the new name of NetXInvestor™.

Formerly NetExchange Client®, Pershing’s client-facing portal has been redesigned to be much more intuitive to use, highly customizable, and compatible with nearly all mobile devices.

“The redesign of NetXInvestor delivers on one of our top priorities at Pershing – enhancing the investor experience,” said Ram Nagappan, chief information officer of Pershing, in a press release earlier today.

Patrick Yip, Director of Advisory Market Technology Strategy at Pershing, a BNY Mellon company

Patrick Yip, Director of Advisory Market Technology Strategy at Pershing, a BNY Mellon company

While at T3 2014, I will try and swing by Pershing’s booth and grab a few screenshots to share so you can get a sense of what makes NetXInvestor a worthwhile contender for the next generation of client-facing portal solutions.

For all the details, read today’s press release about NetXInvestor™ from Pershing LLC.

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.