Tag Archives: tamarac

FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 16, 2016

On today’s broadcast, Schwab announces its Schwab Intelligent Advisory services, Finicity raises $42 million for account aggregation, Envestnet|Tamarac rolls out Yodlee, 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 eMoney Advisor, featuring a new Client Onboarding process as a part of their leading client experience. Onboarding replaces printed fact-finding documents with an automated, digital workflow, allowing clients to populate their own personal financial information online from anywhere — adding an extra layer of convenience and efficiency to your service.

eMoney Advisor

For more information on eMoney’s Client Onboarding tool, visit fppad.com/emoneyonboarding today.

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

Schwab Announces Schwab Intelligent Advisory™ from Charles Schwab

[Now the big story this week is news from Charles Schwab, as the largest custodian for RIAs announced plans to introduce Schwab Intelligent Advisory™ in the first half of 2017. In the press release, Schwab’s Neesha Hathi said that Schwab Intelligent Advisory is designed for emerging or mass affluent investors who don’t have complex financial situations, features access to CFP® professionals who are available by phone and videoconference, and charges fees of just 28 basis points (disclaimer!) with a maximum of $3,600 a year.

Now this isn’t as much of a technology story as it is a marketing story, because the technology for Schwab Intelligent Advisory portfolio management is that same that powers Schwab Intelligent Portfolios for retail investors and Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ that you can use in your own RIA if you custody assets with Schwab.

But, how does that make you feel knowing you’re using the same technology that your custodian will use to offer its own human-assisted advisory services to mass affluent clients?

So I was asked if I thought RIAs should be concerned about this announcement, and I said yes, RIAs should absolutely be concerned. Look, when it comes to getting a prospect to buy what you do, most of the time it’s not what you say, it’s what people hear, and I’ve gotta admit, prospects are hearing comprehensive plans by CFP® professionals with 24/7 access, all for 28 basis points (disclaimer!)? Unless your prospects hear something far more different and compelling from you, I just can’t believe they’ll be willing to pay more than three times the price of Schwab Intelligent Advisory for your services.

And I’m not ignoring Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services, which also employs hundreds of CFP® professionals and charges 30 basis points (thank you!), with more than $40 billion on the platform and growing. A few of you have told me that you’ve lost clients to Vanguard’s service, which is also likely going to happen with Schwab Intelligent Advisory, but the difference with Vanguard is that they’re not also soliciting your custody business while simultaneously soliciting mass affluent clients.

But the executives at Schwab surely know what they’re doing, and I think they know their target RIA client pretty well, which I suspect largely enforces client account minimums of a million dollars or more, so Schwab Intelligent Advisory really isn’t a competitive threat, because it’s not intended for the high-net worth clientele targeted by the largest RIAs that generally choose to custody with Schwab.] Charles Schwab today announced plans to expand its suite of wealth management and advisory services with the launch of Schwab Intelligent Advisory, a hybrid advisory service that combines live credentialed professionals and algorithm driven technology to make financial and investment planning more accessible to consumers.

Finicity Secures $42 Million in Funding to Accelerate New Solution Development from Finicity

[Now one of the things not mentioned about Schwab Intelligent Advisory is account aggregation, which is the focus of my next two stories, starting with Finicity, as the company announced it secured $42 million in a new funding round led by Experian.

This is the first time I’ve mentioned Finicity in my broadcast, but I have a popular post on FPPad from March of this year when Intuit announced it was shutting down their Financial Data API and selected Finicity to offer façade APIs to developers who needed to transition off of Intuit’s aggregation.

In the wake of that change, Guide Financial, which was acquired by John Hancock in the summer of 2015, shut down back in October, but other than that I haven’t heard of other significant disruptions among other tech providers.

What remains to be seen is whether or not Finicity makes an attempt to offer aggregation services to advisers, either directly or by partnering with existing technology providers, so if you have some intel you can share with me, I’d appreciate the heads up, otherwise advisers can continue to engage aggregation providers such as Morningstar ByAllAccounts, Aqumulate, eMoney, Quovo Wealth Access, and Envestnet|Yodlee.] Finicity, a leading provider of real-time financial data aggregation and insights, has secured $42 million in new funding. Experian, a global innovator in consumer and business credit reporting, led Finicity’s Series B round, along with a venture debt facility provided by Bridge Bank and participation from existing investors.

Tamarac Incorporates Yodlee’s Data Aggregation into Advisor Xi® from PRNewswire

[And speaking of Envestnet|Yodlee, my last story highlights the rollout of Envestnet|Yodlee to the Envestnet|Tamarac platform. While at the Schwab IMPACT conference in October, I had a chance to connect with Brandon Rembe to get a quick update on what this new feature means for advisors.

I’ve linked the full interview over here and in the description below, but let me just finish by saying that technology like account aggregation is still a bit of a differentiator for you, since it helps you know as much as you can about your client’s total financial picture, and not just what clients have at one custodian, such as, ohhh, Charles Schwab, which is a complete coincidence.] Envestnet | Tamarac now enables advisors to add assets and liabilities to households in Advisor View™, helping them expand their focus and deliver more holistic advice to clients.

A few parting words:

Before I sign off, you need to know that I have some big plans in the works for FPPad content in 2017. I’m not going to go into the details right now, but what you will notice is that this broadcast, the almost-weekly videos, will be taking a bit of a hiatus for a few months.

But don’t worry, I’ll still be providing my independent insight on financial technology that thousands of you count on as you navigate what I feel is an exciting, unprecedented opportunity in the business of financial advice.

So connect with me anytime on Twitter, I’m @billwinterberg, or sign up for my email newsletter at fppad.com/subscribe

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

Scottrade® Advisor Services Clearing Paths for Advisors with New Tech Agreements from Scottrade

Scottrade® Advisor Services now has agreements with two leading industry solutions providers to help RIAs run their day-to-day routines. Scottrade signed agreements with Morningstar, Inc. and Orion Advisor Services, LLC to offer their services at a discount.

Yahoo Says 1 Billion User Accounts Were Hacked from NY Times

Yahoo, already reeling from its September disclosure that 500 million user accounts had been hacked in 2014, disclosed Wednesday that a different attack in 2013 compromised more than 1 billion accounts.

A Note From Chris O’Neill about Evernote’s Privacy Policy from Evernote

We recently announced an update to Evernote’s privacy policy that we communicated poorly, and it resulted in some understandable confusion. We’ve heard your concerns, and we apologize for any angst we may have caused.

Introducing Asset Classes from Riskalyze

Advisors have been asking for better ways to visualize portfolio allocations, and we’re excited to announce today that we’re rolling out Asset Class coverage for all portfolios in Riskalyze!

Personal Capital Adds $1.5 Billion in AUM and Closes $100 Million in Financing in 2016 from PRNewswire

Personal Capital, the leading digital and professional advisor based wealth management firm, today announced that IGM Financial Inc. has completed the firm’s Series E round. Additionally, Silicon Valley Bank has extended $25 million in credit to the firm.

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 16, 2016

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for December 16, 2016

FPPad Bits and Bytes for November 4, 2016

On today’s broadcast, Brian Shenson updates Schwab’s technology roadmap, Riskalyze raises $20 million in capital, SS&C acquires Salentica, 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 eMoney Advisor, who just announced their Fiduciary Framework initiative to help advisors and firms comply with the recent DOL Fiduciary Rule. The framework weaves DOL-friendly solutions into each stage of the advisor-client lifecycle—like client acknowledgments, event logs, best interest workflows, and more—all within the existing integrated wealth management platform.

eMoney Advisor

For more information on Fiduciary Framework, visit fppad.com/emoneyadvisor

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

Riskalyze Raises $20 Million Growth Equity Investment to Accelerate Risk Number® and Robo Platforms for Independent Financial Advisors from PRNewswire

[Now first up, I attended Schwab IMPACT 2016 in San Diego last week and posted a few videos about Schwab’s technology updates, including a detailed discussion with Brian Shenson about the phase out of Integrated Office, new providers in OpenView Gateway, and the much anticipated timeline of Portfolio Connect. It’s an informative interview, and stick around for the tour of OpenView MarketSquare where I Brian and I practiced our sprints in the massive exhibit hall.

And then on Monday this week, Riskalyze announced that the company secured $20 million in capital from FTV Capital to fuel its future growth. Here’s CEO Aaron Klein on how this additional capital will help Riskalyze execute on its mission.

Aaron Klein: “Our mission every day is making sure that we’re empowering those advisors to really build fearless investors, to align the world’s investments with each investor’s Risk Number, and you know, for us finding the right partner to allow us to continue the incredible growth we’ve seen so far was the right move.”]

SS&C to Acquire Leading Advisor CRM Solution, Salentica from PRNewswire

[Next up is news from SS&C Technologies, which you should recognize as the company that acquired Advent Software for $2.7 billion earlier this year. Last week, SS&C announced it acquired Salentica, a professional services firm known for customizing Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM for institutions and large RIAs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

So this acquisition is important for its vertical integration, as thousands of advisors who already use Advent or Black Diamond for portfolio management today should soon benefit from better integrations of Salesforce and Dynamics CRM all from the same provider.
This also helps SS&C close the gap with a competitor like Envestnet | Tamarac, who has offered an all-in-one technology solution to advisors for several years.

But on the other hand, not all advisors want to be captive to an all-in-one provider, and prefer the best-of-breed approach to their technology, so with Salentica now under the ownership of SS&C, we’ll have to see how the political aspects of this relationship play out in the near future.
Nevertheless, I’m optimistic that SS&C will support Salentica’s integrations with a variety of portfolio management providers, but I definitely would proceed with a little more caution if my business used a solution other than Advent and Black Diamond.] SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc., a global provider of financial services software and software-enabled services, today announced its acquisition of leading CRM solution Salentica.

TD Ameritrade to Buy Scottrade in $4 Billion Deal from the New York Times, and

TD Ameritrade Announces Essential Portfolios Robo-Advisor from BusinessWire

[And finally, I’m wrapping up with two updates involving TD Ameritrade, starting with the announcement of the acquisition of Scottrade for $4 billion dollars, then followed up by the soft launch of Essential Portfolios, the company’s own automated investment service for retail investors.

First, the Scottrade acquisition is likely to affect advisors with under $10 million in assets under management, as Scottrade has historically been welcoming of advisors with smaller accounts. So over the next year or two, I’d expect smaller advisors to be under pressure to grow their assets under management, or find another custodian altogether like Shareholders Service Group, or join a membership group like the XY Planning Network that leverages the size of its network to facilitate business with TD Ameritrade Institutional.
Either way, I think it means structural changes are on the horizon for dozens of smaller advisory firms.

And the second story about Essential Portfolios adds yet another retail-facing automated investment solution to the crowded marketplace. It features a $5,000 account minimum, fees of 30 basis points, and offers just five model portfolios, each made up of five ETFs, with allocations recommended by Morningstar Investment Management that are automatically rebalanced.

Look, clients are getting bombarded with all this marketing about low-cost, automated, intelligent investing services from nearly every provider in the business. So unless your marketing pockets are as deep as theirs, you’re going to have to craft a message that your technology rivals that of the automated services, and that you offer advice and services that go way beyond what the low-cost solutions provide. Not only do you have to say it, but you have to do it.] TD Ameritrade announced on Monday that it would acquire Scottrade Financial Services, a rival discount brokerage, for $4 billion, in a bid for scale at a time when small investors are losing their taste for stock trading.

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

Web Design Pros Enter the Financial Advisory Industry with the Public Launch of Twenty Over Ten from MarketWired

Twenty Over Ten, an unparalleled, compliant website-builder, today announced its formal public launch. Cofounded by Penn State Associate Professor of Graphic Design Ryan Russell and Designer and Developer Nick Dimatteo, Twenty Over Ten helps financial advisors create beautiful and compliant websites tailored to their unique brands.

PIEtech℠, Inc. to Complete Deep Integration With Riskalyze Creating the Most Powerful Client Risk Analysis Experience from PRWeb

PIEtech℠, Inc., creator of the leading financial planning software, MoneyGuidePro®, announced today that it is building a multi-faceted, deep integration with Riskalyze, the risk alignment platform founded upon the Risk Number®.

Junxure Cloud, Riskalyze Announce Integration from PRNewswire

Junxure, the industry leading CRM solution and technology company for financial advisors, this week announced new enhancements to its cloud-based CRM platform, Junxure Cloud®. As part of its ongoing work to integrate with leading platforms serving advisors, Junxure Cloud has partnered with Riskalyze, the industry-leading risk alignment platform and inventor of the Risk Number®, to integrate the two popular systems.

Get LastPass Everywhere: Multi-Device Access Is Now Free! from LastPass

I’m thrilled to announce that, starting today, you can use LastPass on any device, anywhere, for free. No matter where you need your passwords – on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone – you can rely on LastPass to sync them for you, for free.

Passing the Baton, Again from Wealthfront

After an amazing tour of duty, Adam Nash is handing the baton back to me [Andy Rachleff]. While Nash will be transitioning out of an operating role at the company, he will continue to play a strategic role as a member of our Board of Directors.

FOLIOfn, Inc. Acquires Leading Responsible Investing RIA, First Affirmative Financial Network from PRNewswire

FOLIOfn, Inc. announced today that it has acquired First Affirmative Financial Network, one of the nation’s most prominent registered investment advisor firms specializing in sustainable, responsible, impact (SRI) investing.

Invessence and PrairieSmarts Partner to Arm Advisors with Better Risk Assessment Tools for Easier DOL Compliance from PRWeb.com

Digital wealth management technology provider Invessence announced today that it has partnered with PrairieSmarts, an innovative risk analytics firm, to provide risk assessment tools for financial advisors and their clients. Enhancing Invessence’s comprehensive digital wealth platform, the robust risk tools from PrairieSmarts will assist advisors in calculating, documenting and managing the alignment of a client’s risk profile with a compliant portfolio recommendation.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for November 4, 2016

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for November 4, 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 September 30, 2016

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!

(WatchFPPad 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

On October 20th, two innovative and rapidly growing firms will share how they leveraged the Advisor Xi Suite in their business during an interactive webinar. Space is limited, so secure your spot today by visiting http://fppad.com/tamarac

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

Fuse 2016: Day One and eMoney Advisor Summit 2016: Hack-a-thon Day One

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.

Tax-Coordinated Portfolio™: The Latest Breakthrough in Tax-Smart Investing from Betterment

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.

Quovo Unveils Advisor Dashboard, Arming Financial Advisors With Enriched Client Data Insights in an Intuitive User Interface from Marketwired

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.

Qumram launches fully-compliant WhatsApp social media record keeping from Qumram

Despite end-to-end encryption, Qumram enables financial services firms to meet client demand for social media interaction, via WhatsApp, without compromising compliance.

Save time with smart scheduling in Google Calendar from Google

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.

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 May 20, 2016

On today’s broadcast, I’m on location at the Envestnet Advisor Summit. You’ll hear from Bill Crager about Open ENV, Stuart DePina on adding Salesforce integration to Tamarac, and hear how the Yodlee acquisition is enhancing the Envestnet platform.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(WatchFPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

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

Envestnet Unveils Open ENV from Envestnet

Envestnet, Inc. has unveiled Open ENV to offer differentiated user experiences, accelerate integrations and extend the availability of Envestnet’s solutions.

Envestnet | Tamarac Unveils A New Version of Advisor CRM® from Envestnet

Envestnet | Tamarac has rolled out a new edition of its Advisor CRM® application, Advisor CRM, which incorporates the latest Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 update and is compatible with Microsoft Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 2016

 

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FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 1, 2016

On today’s broadcast, Betterment raises $100 million in fresh capital, Fidelity tests FidelityGo, Schwab pulls the plug on OpenView Integrated Office, and more.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

First, a heads up, Steve and I will be on the road later this month covering the massive NAB 2016 event, scouring the exhibit halls for technology you can use to make great videos and podcasts, followed by the 2016 Shareholders Service Group conference in San Diego. Visit fppad.com/subscribe and sign up today so you don’t miss any of our coverage from the events.

Betterment Raises $100 Million from Betterment.com

[Now on to this week’s top story which comes from Betterment, as the automated investment service raised another $100 million dollars in venture capital, bringing the total amount they’ve raised to $205 million. Betterment is pulling away from a crowded field of robo competitors, now servicing over 150,000 customers, managing $3.9 billion in assets, and valued at a reported $700 million.

Betterment says they will use the funding to grow the Betterment for Business 401(k) platform and the Betterment Institutional offering for you, the financial advisor.

But despite all the money raised and what they say about being their customer’s central financial relationship, Betterment’s questionnaire still doesn’t tell customers that they should pay off high interest credit card debt or build up an emergency fund first before investing. Oh, that’s right, customers can find that advice somewhere on the blog.

So I’ll reiterate what I posted on Twitter this week: Betterment, I hope you use the money to make unbiased fiduciary advice accessible & affordable to everyone.

If you want to read more about the latest round of Betterment’s funding, head over to fppad.com/183 for the links to this week’s top stories.] Today marks an important milestone for Betterment and our more than 150,000 customers who have invested over $3.9 billion with us. We’re excited to announce that Betterment has closed a $100 million investment, led by a new partner, Kinnevik.

Fidelity Starts Testing Robo-Adviser Service on Existing Clients from Bloomberg.com

[Next up is news from Fidelity, as the company announced plans to begin testing Fidelity Go, its own automated investing service for retail investors, with roughly 500 customers this week, with an official rollout sometime in the second half of this year.

If you remember back to November of 2015, Fidelity broke off its relationship to promote Betterment Institutional to advisors, and then coincidentally announced the Fidelity Go retail product that competes more or less with Betterment. Fidelity Go will feature investment portfolios managed by Geode Capital Management, all in fees at 39 basis points or lower, automatic rebalancing, but no tax loss harvesting.

With Fidelity Go as a retail offering, you should know that Fidelity told me that a B2B version is under development, and while they couldn’t give me a solid release date, they did say the offering will be customized to your needs as an advisor.

Nevertheless, Fidelity joins Charles Schwab as an institutional custodian with an automated investment solution in the retail space, but at no platform fee in exchange for a little extra cash allocation, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, in my opinion, is going to be tough to beat.] Fidelity Investments, the second-largest U.S. mutual fund company, will test an automated-investment service starting Wednesday on a small group of existing customers. Fidelity plans to offer the service to the public in the second half of this year.

Schwab Unplugs Its Customized Version of Salesforce from WealthManagement.com

[And speaking of Schwab, this week’s final story is news that Schwab Advisor Services is discontinuing the Schwab OpenView Integrated Office solution effective July 31. Roughly 150 firms are using the solution, so they’re going to have to find some other technology to replace Integrated Office, specifically the custom version of Salesforce that came with it.

The link to the story at fppad.com/183 has the details on options for affected advisors, including using Salesforce with Schwab OpenView Gateway or migrating to a completely new CRM, but here’s the angle I want to focus address.

This is absolutely an example of what can happen when you choose a custodian’s proprietary solution for a part of your technology. How committed is that custodian going to be to offer that technology over the lung run? In this case, Schwab, for whatever reason, is shutting down Integrated Office, leaving 150 advisors with just three months to figure out what to do.

So I don’t blame you one bit for getting a little uneasy when custodians offer proprietary technology solutions to you that they own and control. But with more custodian acquisitions of technology on the horizon, I’m afraid this is a risk you’re going to have to assume more frequently as time moves on.

One more thing: if you want a firm with Salesforce experience in financial services, get your pencils out, because you should consider contacting LiquidHub, Concenter Services, Navatar, Salentica, or AppCrown.] One hundred fifty Charles Schwab advisors must find a new client relationship manager (CRM) by July 31.

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

Envestnet | Tamarac Rolls Out New Household Structure and Service Team Functionality in Advisor View™ Client Portal from PRNewswire.com

Envestnet | Tamarac has launched four major software updates designed to strengthen RIAs’ online engagement with clients. The roll-out is part of the firm’s March 2016 technology release.

Advyzon Integrates Laser App Software to Enhance Client Advisor Relationship from LaserApp.com

Laser App Software, the premier provider of forms automation and management software for the securities and insurance industries, has announced that Advyzon, an all in one cloud-based platform combining portfolio management, performance reporting, CRM, client portal and planning, integrated with Laser App Software to enhance its client dashboard.

Marketware International is pleased to announce that it has become a new member of the IBM Watson Ecosystem Partner Program.

Our team has been hard at work creating the AdvisorQA mobile product experience for Financial Services. It provides a new mobile Content Management and Social Collaboration tool that utilizes the cognitive computing and research capabilities of IBM Watson.

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 1, 2016

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for April 1, 2016

TRX Unplugged: What happens when a tech provider eschews formality and unplugs for the day

Total Rebalance Expert, or TRX, is widely known for its impeccable portfolio rebalancing and tax management features. After all, TRX was born from Sheryl Rowling’s own need for an extremely precise tool to manage the demands of her RIA and CPA businesses.

But what escapes many advisers is the company’s culture born from the land of eternal summer, aka San Diego.

TRX lacks the institutional swagger of its larger counterparts, including iRebal from TD Ameritrade Institutional and Tamarac Advisor Rebalancing from Envestnet, but focuses on delivering value with its product line, where attention to detail and accuracy down to the penny and fractional share is vital.

So what happens when TRX decides to let its collective hair down and focus on education and value for its customers? You get TRX Unplugged.

Watch the coverage of TRX Unplugged above to gain a sense for how the company supports its advisor relationships and courts prospective firms with its deliberate relaxed attitude and atmosphere.

FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 15

On today’s broadcast, the SEC issues an alert about automated investment tools, see how Envestnet is ready to leverage its recent acquisition of Upside, and, find out which fintech buzzword has huge implications for your business.

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 named as one of the world’s 10 most innovative companies in finance by Fast Company Magazine.

Riskalyze

Advisors use Riskalyze to show prospects they’re invested wrong and prove to clients they’re invested right. See how the Risk Number can grow your business today by visiting riskalyze.com/fppad to book a guided tour.

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

Investor Alert: Automated Investment Tools from the Securities and Exchange Commission

[This week’s top story comes from the Securities and Exchange Commission, as the industry regulator recently released an investor alert concerning automated investment tools, more commonly known as, well, you know where I’m going.

In its five-point alert, the SEC urges all investors to understand terms and conditions of any online service, know what the limits of automated tools are and assumptions that don’t apply to their situation (say, perhaps, tax illustrations for a married couple living in California who are in the highest tax bracket), be aware that when filling out questionnaires, garbage in equals garbage out, be careful not to assume goals are the same as a generic investment time horizons based on age, and to practice good security hygiene to protect financial accounts.

So how can you use this alert to make your business more appealing to prospective clients? At the very least, be as transparent as possible about your fees and your process. Next, focus on the ongoing relationships you have with clients, because the advice you provide doesn’t end the moment a client fills out a risk tolerance questionnaire.

And finally, emphasize the breadth of your services. Yes, prudent investing is important, but it’s critical to also factor in insurance needs, tax strategies, estate planning and so much more, all of which are areas largely untouched by automated investment tools. Let’s be absolutely clear, this is your value to your clients, and if you’re not broadcasting it at every opportunity you have, you’re in danger of failing to differentiate your business from the competition.] The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) are issuing this alert to provide investors with a general overview of automated investment tools.

Envestnet Driving Digital Advice Transformation from Envestnet.com

[Next up is more news from Envestnet in a follow up to the company’s summit held earlier this month in Chicago. Last week I covered Envestnet’s acquisition of Finance Logix, but this week the story is all about Envestnet’s new digital advice portal called Advisor Now™. So what is Advisor Now?

You start with the original Envestnet Advisor Suite™ for portfolio management, add in a serving of the Envestnet | Tamarac Advisor Xi platform for its CRM, portfolio rebalancing, and client portal features, mix in the online automated investment solution from Upside, blend them all together and out comes Advisor Now.

So clearly Envestnet is further positioning itself as a dominant custodian-agnostic all-in-one technology provider, and if you’re an existing Envestnet and/or Tamarac user, you’ll soon experience the benefits of Advisor Now as it gets updated according to the company’s 60-day release cycle.

But if your technology consists of integrations between separate best-of-breed solutions, I think you have some work ahead of you if your objective is to match the Advisor Now portal feature-for-feature.] Envestnet, Inc. announced that it will be launching Advisor Now™, a digital advice portal harnessing Envestnet’s core capabilities to help independent advisors demonstrate more value to clients and improve financial outcomes for investors.

Purge the Word ‘Frictionless’ from Banking from Bank Innovation, and

Hedgeable’s Robo Advisor 2.0 Platform Automates Risk Managed Investing,

Vanguard Debuts Diversification Visualizer,

and Trizic’s Accelerator Enables Financial Firms to Scale Investment Advice from Finovate.com

[And finally, I’ve was following the chatter on Twitter this week from the Finovate Spring 2015 conference in San Jose, and one of the buzzwords that lit up the #Finovate hashtag was “frictionless.” The majority of presenters, whether they were mobile payment solutions, peer-to-peer lending networks, or even crowdfunding services to pay off medical bills, focused on eliminating the friction in financial transactions.

In fact, “frictionless” was mentioned so much that one attendee said the word should be purged from the world of banking. But think about your business for a minute. How much friction do you create for your clients? How much paper are you pushing? Are you accessible by text and video chat in addition to phone calls and face-to-face meetings? Can clients access the information they want from a smartphone?

I think it’s time you look at your business from the client’s perspective and identify all the processes that generate friction. For each process, figure out how technology can streamline what you do and reduce the time and effort required to get something done. That sounds like a pretty useful activity for a Friday afternoon if you ask me.

Oh, and if you want to know which three companies from Finovate are worthy of attention on my radar, they are Hedgeable, for their online investment service featuring active management and alternatives, Vanguard, for their clever 3D graphs of diversification illustrations, and Trizic, yet another online investment service that can be white labeled by financial advisors.] It’s time to relegate the phrase ‘frictionless’ to the FinTech trashbin.

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

Beyond E-Signatures from Financial Advisor Magazine

As someone who has been a proponent of the paperless office for many, many years, I often feel a sense of frustration at the number of paper-driven activities still prevalent in our industry.

How Well Does Your Firm Virtually Serve Your Clients? from ThinkAdvisor

Advisors need to make sure their technology offerings are in line with their clients’ expectations

Watch Bits and Bytes for May 15, 2015

Watch Bits and Bytes for May 15, 2015

FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 8

On today’s broadcast, IBM flexes its cognitive computing muscles at a World of Watson event, Finance Logix gets acquired by Envestnet, and Vanguard deploys Personal Advisor Services to the masses.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now.

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Croesus, the affordable all-in-one portfolio management & CRM software for RIAs. Over 9,500 investment professionals use the Croesus application to manage more than $700 billion in assets, and Croesus is offering a 50% discount on set-up fees for Advent Axys users until June 30th.

Croesus

To learn more about Croesus or to sign up for a free trial, visit fppad.com/croesus.

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

IBM World of Watson and what the future holds for financial advisers from FPPad.com

Visit QuidPick1, and SparkCognition online.

[This week’s top story comes from IBM, as the company held a two-day conclave in New York to introduce the IBM Watson Developer Cloud. I attended the event to look for ways cognitive computing from IBM Watson can enhance the financial services industry, so here’s what I found.

First, a company called Quid, which is using Watson to ingest millions of documents to index them based on information around stocks and portfolios. Something like this can significantly streamline your portfolio research workflow. And another company is Pick1, which uses IBM Watson to segment and analyze your clients based on their personality derived from what they write in emails and post on social media.

And on the cybersecurity side, a company called SparkCognition is leveraging IBM Watson to detect, assess, and research external threats that businesses encounter every day from hackers. Tools like these are poised to help you protect the critical information in your business, as well as the assets of your clients, which has become a huge focus for regulators this year.

I filmed a video blog while at World of Watson to give you a sense of the size and scale of the event, offer some of my candid thoughts from presentations, and keep you aware of what your business will need to stay competitive in the future.]

Envestnet Acquires Finance Logix from BusinessWire, and

Envestnet Acquires FinanceLogix As The Integrated Financial Planning And PFM Buying Frenzy Continues from Kitces.com

[Next up is news from Envestnet, as the company announced it is acquiring Finance Logix, a financial planning software provider, for around $32.5M of cash and stock as calculated by Nerd’s Eye View blogger Michael Kitces. I was on my flight back from World of Watson when the news broke, so thankfully Michael Kitces cranked out a comprehensive post on the deal. Here are the important takeaways.

In 2012, Envestnet acquired Tamarac for their CRM, portfolio management, client portal and rebalancing software platform, then two months ago, they acquired Upside and their automated investment solution, so one of the few pieces missing in an all-in-one platform was financial planning software. Enter Finance Logix.

This deal and Fidelity’s recent acquisition of eMoney means that fewer potential acquisition targets remain, primarily MoneyGuidePro, MoneyTree, inStream, and private-equity backed Advicent Solutions. But clearly, the pace of acquisitions is accelerating, so it’s likely a question of when, not if, one of the solutions you use today gets acquired by a custodian or a large investment and technology provider.] Envestnet, Inc., announced today that it has acquired Finance Logix, a technology company that provides leading-edge financial planning and wealth management software solutions to banks, broker-dealers and RIA firms.

Vanguard unveils advice and investing program for the hoi polloi from Reuters

[And finally, Vanguard is out with news this week that its low-cost Personal Advisor Services, or PAS, is now being rolled out to all investors and the minimum account size has been lowered to just $50,000. With an annual fee of just 0.3%, Vanguard is walking a fine line of putting pressure on the fees advisors charge for investment management services, while simultaneously soliciting advisors to use Vanguard’s low-cost funds and ETFs in their portfolio allocations for clients.

Fortunately, Vanguard officials told Reuters that “Sophisticated investors will still need customized advice on taxes, estate planning and niche areas the new service will not offer,” which is a different stance than others out there who say investors don’t need to pay for expensive financial advisors.

Nevertheless, the pressure is on for you to aggressively price your fees, especially for investment management, but you also need to communicate how your firm goes well beyond offering one-size-fits-all advice.

That means you need to be more efficient and streamlined using technology available today so you have the capacity to establish meaningful relationships with clients and focus on the things that actually matter to their financial success.] Arguing that many of its customers cannot afford to pay high investment advisory fees, The Vanguard Group on Tuesday unveiled a low-cost service combining an automated investment plan with advice from a Vanguard financial planner.

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

Envestnet Driving Digital Advice Transformation from MarketWatch

Envestnet, Inc. announced that it will be launching Advisor Now™, a digital advice portal harnessing Envestnet’s core capabilities to help independent advisors demonstrate more value to clients and improve financial outcomes for investors.

Trizic Closes $2 Million In Additional Seed Funding From Operative Capital from Yahoo.com

Trizic, the technology company powering digital wealth advisory solutions for financial institutions and Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), today announced an additional $2 million in seed funding from Operative Capital, an early-growth stage investor in disruptive financial technology start-ups.

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 8, 2015

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 8, 2015