Advisor Tech Talk (Week of 2/13/24)

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Wealth technology is continuing to evolve, and we’re here to help you decipher it.

Of course it was another busy week in advisor-facing technology, with updates and announcements from the likes of TIFIN, Advisor360, Orion and InvestCloud—we’ll get all of those to you shortly. 

We’d like to take a moment to address a key article from Kitces.com–Michael Kitces has long offered a nuanced view of advisor technology, and near the end of January, one of his writers, Ben Henry-Moreland, noted a pivot in wealth tech. While for years we have been discussing wealth tech as a way to make advisors faster and more efficient, so that they can serve more people and address a growing demand for professional financial advice. 

Henry-Moreland points out that most of the technology we’re discussing today is not concerned with making advisors faster or more efficient and can’t really increase their client load—rather, the wealthtech we’re currently implementing across the financial services industry allows advisors to do more, spend more time with clients and provide a deeper level of services. 

Now this is all well and good—I’m sure the traditional clientele of financial advisors is thrilled with the prospect of getting more value for those hefty assets-under-management fees they pay—but it leaves a key question of the industry in our time unsettled: who answers the growing demand for financial advice?  

If advisors aren’t going to meet consumer demand with wealth tech, then someone else, an Amazon or a Google, is going to do it with fintech—and it may go down as a crucial missed opportunity for the financial services industry. 

Let’s get to our headlines. 


Advisor360° 

Financial advisors and their firms are kicking off 2024 with greater efficiency, courtesy of platform enhancements from Advisor360°, a leading provider of integrated technology for enterprise wealth management firms. As 2023 came to a close, Advisor360° updated some of its most popular features, including its Gifts and Entertainment Disclosure capability, bringing an improved workflow experience to all users. 

Gifts and entertainment disclosure is critical for compliance with FINRA and SEC regulations, however, traditional record-keeping mechanisms are time-consuming and prone to inaccuracies in documentation, particularly around events with shared clients. Recent updates to Advisor360°’s gifts and entertainment disclosure capabilities reduce time spent on manual entry by 90% compared to commonly used systems.  

The upgrade eliminates the need for advisors and staff to copy data from multiple fields into others—gift and entertainment reporting is now completed on one screen in a few clicks. When one user makes a single submission on behalf of multiple advisors, the cost per client is calculated automatically, stored in the client’s profile and aggregated throughout the year. The new tool also allows advisors to easily export disclosures into tax preparation software, saving time and reducing errors during data entry. 

Catchlight 

Aiming to bolster organic growth and ensure highly tailored engagement with potential clients, Mercer Global Advisors, Inc. (“Mercer Advisors”), a national Registered Investment Adviser (RIA), will fortify its digital, direct-to-consumer sales and marketing campaigns with Catchlight. Mercer Advisors, among the fastest-growing RIAs with more than 290 advisors and 85 offices nationwide, has built a powerful growth process and will add Catchlight as an integral component to a lead acquisition strategy that hinges on quickly identifying higher value leads that meet their criteria and utilizing insights to accelerate engagement on a large scale. 

Mercer Advisors will use Catchlight’s insights of prospective clients to rapidly build a more complete understanding of each prospect’s financial landscape and anticipated needs. Insights such as the Catchlight Score, a prediction of a prospect’s likelihood to convert to a client, and estimated investable assets and other key characteristics, can position Mercer Advisors to optimize its client acquisition processes, and initiate more meaningful, personalized contact with its leads. By incorporating Catchlight into its data-driven sales strategy, Mercer Advisors can route leads to the advisors best suited to their circumstances and setting the stage for a stronger advisor-client relationships. 

Charityvest 

Charityvest, a provider of modern charitable giving accounts, announced a partnership with OneAscent, a leading family of companies committed to delivering financial solutions to advisors and investors. Together, they are launching OneGive, a private-labeled donor-advised fund (DAF) and philanthropy program to OneAscent’s advisors and their clients. 

The partnership also marks the public launch of Charityvest for Advisors, the next-generation capability powering OneGive, which can enable any wealth advisor to offer a comprehensive charitable giving program leveraging Charityvest’s modern financial technology for DAFs under their own brand. 

The OneGive DAF program (powered by Charityvest) is part of OneAscent’s commitment to make giving a key capability as they add more value to clients. 

Through Charityvest for Advisors, each OneAscent client will have access to a OneGive DAF managed by their advisor. They also have access to curated giving opportunities, charitable advisory experts, and educational content on demand. Through the intuitive, tech-enabled experience and the programmatic involvement of the advisor, conversations about giving can become more easily actionable, leading to more giving. 

GeoWealth 

GeoWealth, a proprietary technology and turnkey asset management platform (TAMP), today announced that it has exceeded $28 billion in platform assets as of December 31, 2023, signifying a 45 percent year-over-year growth rate. The significant increase in assets is supported by an increase in accounts to more than 180,000. This recent growth underscores GeoWealth’s commitment to serving firms of all sizes and structures, from emerging, independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) to large enterprises. 

Hexure 

Hexure, a provider of sales and regulatory automation solutions for the life and annuity industry, announced that Farmers Life Insurance Company (Farmers Life), has chosen FireLight e-application to provide their distribution partners a streamlined and accelerated e-submission process for their expanding annuity offerings. 

Farmers Life selected the FireLight platform to digitalize its annuity paper application to make it easier and quicker for its network of distribution partners and their advisors to access and submit Farmers Life annuity applications for faster contract issuance. Farmers Life will provide advisors with a familiar, straightforward, in-good-order annuity application experience using available FireLight integrations and incorporating its payment processor. FireLight also provides Farmers Life with automation, business rules and features to enhance back-office sales operations and efficiencies. 

InvestCloud 

InvestCloud, a global provider of wealth and asset management solutions, announced the appointment of Shawn Donovan as Chief Revenue Officer (“CRO”), responsible for the company’s sales and account management strategy globally with a key focus on enhancing value creation and delivery for clients. This announcement further underscores InvestCloud’s commitment to leading the digital transformation of wealth, strengthening the client experience and accelerating growth, as the company supports more than $6 trillion in assets under management across its platforms. 

Mr. Donovan brings extensive experience in the financial services and technology industry to his new role at InvestCloud. He spent more than 30 years in progressive global leadership roles with responsibilities spanning sales and account management, strategy and operations, and general management, while at EDS, Acxiom, Fiserv and Neustar. In addition to serving on various executive management committees and leading large-scale global sales organizations throughout his career, Mr. Donovan’s background includes over five years as the Chief Sales Officer at Fiserv, where he managed teams with more than 400 sales executives and achieved record-setting sales. 

Orion Advisor Solutions 

Orion Advisor Solutions has expanded advisor access to Navigator Total Wealth Strategies from Clark Capital Management Group, an independent asset manager, via its Orion Portfolio Solutions (OPS) platform. The strategies, previously exclusive to OPS clients who custody assets with Schwab, are now also accessible for advisors with custody at Fidelity. 

Designed to navigate changing market conditions, Navigator Total Wealth Strategies are fully diversified strategies tailored for the high-net-worth market. These institutional quality strategies are actively managed, combining multiple strategies and asset classes into a single account. Strategies are available in five risk comfort zones and are available in tax aware formats. 

Raymond James 

Raymond James today announced the launch of its new Paraplanning Services for financial advisors. This on-demand, in-house offering is designed to help advisors grow their business by further incorporating financial planning into their practice, according to Frank McAleer, senior vice president, Wealth Planning. 

Experienced paraplanning professionals, based at the Raymond James St. Petersburg, Florida home office, are trained to virtually support advisors as they leverage the firm’s Goal Planning & Monitoring (GPM) software tool to create comprehensive financial plans for their clients. 

Two engagement options for Paraplanning Services are available to meet a range of financial planning needs and objectives. Hourly services offer advisors the ability to transfer client financial plans held in another software or tool and recreate them within GPM, or to enter new client and prospect data. Comprehensive services allow advisors to engage a paraplanner to either build a new GPM plan or perform an in-depth analysis of an existing plan, with the option to co-present the plan or findings to the client. 

StratiFi 

AdvizorStack, a technology platform for registered investment advisors, proudly announces the formalization of a strategic partnership with StratiFi, a fast-growing risk management platform that provides wealth management firms and industry professionals a one-stop-shop solution for portfolio risk analysis, client risk profiling and compliance. 

The companies are poised to redefine industry standards in risk analytics, compliance oversight and operational efficiencies for clients that utilize AdvizorStack as their in-house technology solution. 

The collaboration between StratiFi and AdvizorStack extends beyond mere integration. It represents a commitment to continuous enhancement. StratiFi will actively collaborate with AdvizorStack to introduce additional features and improvements to the platform, benefiting not only AdvizorStack but also enhancing the overall experience for StratiFi clients. 

TIFIN 

TIFIN AMP, the cutting-edge AI platform modernizing Asset Management distribution, has expanded its capabilities to optimize data integration and distribution intelligence for US Intermediary sales with its Data Fabric and Intelligence Cloud integration.   

The struggles of Asset Management Distribution teams to unify first- and third-party data to prioritize and drive distribution intelligence and engagement have been a multi-decade drag on productivity and efficiency. The core issue lies in the difficulty in effectively integrating and enriching data despite the significant and growing investment into a proliferating universe of data sources. Despite having access to vast amounts of data from wealth firms, service providers, and data vendors, asset management teams have struggled to capitalize on this information to maximize distribution due to insufficient unification and enrichment of this data across diverse sources.  

AMP’s Data Fabric unifies and enriches these data sources to better position Asset Managers to capitalize on AMP’s AI-powered Intelligence Cloud, which generates real-time, predictive and prescriptive insights to increase client engagement and drive sales conversion rates.