Tag Archives: Yodlee

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 14, 2016

On today’s broadcast, one Wells Fargo broker loses her job after a client spoofing attack, Envestnet acquires Wheelhouse Analytics, and another day, another new robo advisor.

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

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:

FINRA Disciplinary Action for Kathleen Kincade (enter Kathleen Kincade in the Individual Name search field)

[Now October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, so my first story is about an unfortunate cybersecurity incident involving a broker from Wells Fargo. According to a FINRA letter released this month, Kathleen Kincade was targeted by attackers who used spoofed client emails to submit three wire transfer requests for nearly $350,000, two of which were processed before Wells Fargo became aware of fraudulent activity.

One wire transfer for $99,000 was reversed, but the company ultimately had to make the client whole for the remaining $250,000 that was transferred.

The letter goes on to say that Kincade used Wells Fargo’s forms to falsely report that she verbally confirmed the wire disbursement instructions with the client, which was not the case. Now I know you’ve heard me say time and time again that attackers are impersonating clients and are targeting you to get you to send money where it shouldn’t go.

So take this as a reminder that you need to continue to be vigilant and suspicious with respect to sporadic requests for client withdrawals, and always, ALWAYS follow a process to authenticate the identity of your client, usually with a phone call, or else you won’t allow any fund transfers to be processed.]

Envestnet Acquires Wheelhouse Analytics from PRNewswire

[Next up is news from Envestnet, as the company announced the acquisition of Wheelhouse Analytics in a move executives said will provide more insight on key performance indicators for asset managers, enterprises, and financial advisors.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and I have to admit, Wheelhouse Analytics was not on my radar at all until this announcement, so I checked out their website and learned about their solutions for data analytics, online education, and document management for sales and business development. This is more business intelligence than it is financial technology, but I can see how Wheelhouse Analytics can connect to the data stored in the Envestnet platform and ultimately deliver timely insight to financial advisors.

Also, think back to Envestnet’s acquisition of Yodlee last summer, and consider how data on client spending and consumption can generate key indicators on which clients might warrant a follow up phone call, versus those who are on a steady path to meet their goals. I think this is worth watching in the near future.] Envestnet, Inc. announced today that it has acquired Wheelhouse Analytics LLC, a technology company that provides data analytics, mobile sales solutions, and online education tools to financial advisors, asset managers and enterprises

Zacks Advantage Form ADV

Merrill Egde Guided Investing Form ADV

[And I think it’s safe to say that my broadcast wouldn’t be complete without a little robo news, so up first, Zacks Investment Management announced the launch of Zacks Advantage, an automated investment service built on the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios platform that adds a bit of active management to balanced portfolio investing. The minimum account size is $5,000, and fees are 50 basis points for accounts up to $100,000, which drops to 35 basis points for accounts greater than $100,000 according to the Form ADV.

And Bank of America offered more information about Merrill Edge Guided Investing, the company’s automated service that also has a $5,000 account minimum, but charges 45 basis points no matter how much money is invested in the account.

So, I want to ask two questions about all this robo stuff. First, if all the other financial firms have a low-cost automated investing solution, why don’t you? If the solutions are so commonplace, prospects might think that your firm is behind the times because you’re not leveraging a solution that is offered pretty much everywhere else.

But second, assuming you DO provide an automated investing solution, the next question you’ll face is why should a prospect choose your business over all the others, when they appear to do the same thing? And THAT is your opportunity to communicate why your business is different, identify your value proposition, and describe all the things you do that go far beyond portfolio asset allocation and frequent rebalancing.

No robo solution can compete with that!]

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 14, 2016

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for October 14, 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 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

 

ENV thumbnail 620

FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 13, 2016

On today’s broadcast, learn about top advisor technology from the Finovate Spring 2016, two lessons you should learn from a Salesforce database outage, hear top technology tips from industry experts, and more.

So get ready, FPPad Bits and Bytes begins now!

(Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes on YouTube)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Riskalyze, the company that invented the Risk Number™ and twice named as one of the world’s 10 most innovative companies in finance by Fast Company Magazine.

Riskalyze

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

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

Client Insight for Wealth Management from IBM, and

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

Envestnet Advisor Now demo from Finovate Europe 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Envestnet thumbnail

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 SSG Conference Technology Panel from YouTube

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

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

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

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

Docupace Closes on Management Buyback Transaction from BusinessWire

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

New Marketing Materials from Hidden Levers

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

 

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 13, 2016

Watch FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 13, 2016

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