Advisor Tech Talk (Week of 4/8/24)

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It’s past time to put one of the ongoing advisor technology debates to bed. 

For nearly 15 years, advisors and the workers who serve them have argued not only whether cryptocurrencies and other digital assets have a place in client investment portfolios, but also whether advisors should recommend and serve these assets. While some view digital assets as the way of the future, others have long remained concerned about the novelty and regulatory uncertainty surrounding crypto. 

That debate is pretty much over. According to research released last month by the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals, 59% of financial advisors are currently recommending that clients allocate a portion of their assets to crypto—which, theoretically, means that an even higher proportion are discussing cryptocurrencies with their clients, since it makes sense that not every advisor will recommend an allocation. 

Now, briefly, recall all the negative voices you’ve heard regarding crypto throughout its history—especially all of those voices that resided within the traditional financial services industry. The verdict of professional opinion is clearly in: These voices were wrong. Three-in-five advisors are now telling their clients to buy and hold cryptocurrency in their portfolios.  

It’s worth noting that the widespread embrace of digital assets occurred after a procession of scandals, failures and otherwise negative headlines in the wake of the pandemic years. It also took place after an extended and pronounced swoon in cryptocurrency token prices. Despite all of the bad news, in spite of all of the negativity of the naysayers, financial advisors and investors have continued to gravitate in greater numbers towards crypto. 

The blockchain boosters won the day. 

In this week’s advisor technology headlines, we have announcements from Voya, SS&C, Intention.ly and AdvisorEngine. 

Let’s get to it…  


AdvisorEngine 

AdvisorEngine released the next generation of its scalable financial planning ecosystem, offering investment advisors and their clients a planning experience within a comprehensive wealth management platform that is simple to engage with and adaptable to needs over time. 

For the first time, advisors can work with clients to quickly create and fund a financial plan that can be fully implemented without jumping through multiple systems or enduring repetitive steps. 

AdvisorEngine’s goals-based planning tool, developed in collaboration with Franklin Templeton, is seamlessly embedded into its platform and workflows – outputs from a client’s plan, for instance, automatically kicks off implementation by the advisor, providing wealth management firms unmatched scalability thanks to AdvisorEngine’s industry-leading custodian integrations. 

AlphaTrAI 

AlphaTrAI announced the appointment of financial services executive, accomplished entrepreneur and FinTech innovator John Sweeney as its new president. Mr. Sweeney will use his over three decades of leadership experience, deep industry expertise and technological capabilities to lead the firm in implementing its strategic vision to drive automation and efficiency into the wealth and asset management industries. He will report directly to industry veteran and AlphaTrAI CEO and Chairman Bill Dwyer. 

Most recently, Mr. Sweeney founded and served as managing partner of Momentum Capital Partners, LLC, providing consulting and advisory services to global financial services firms, FinTech start-ups and private equity firms. Prior to that, he was Chief Operating Officer of Osprey Funds, an investment manager that built tradable investment products on top of digital assets and NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Before joining Osprey, he was Head of Wealth and Asset Management at Figure Technologies, a FinTech unicorn building Business to Consumer (B2C) financial products on top of a Business to Business (B2B) blockchain called Provenance.       

Alternative Investment Exchange 

Alternative Investment Exchange (“AIX”) entered a partnership with Concorde Investment Services, leveraging AIX’s proprietary technology to automate alternative investing processes for Concorde, its advisors and their clients.   

Concorde is a recognized alternative-investments leader. Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., Concorde operates as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), full-service broker-dealer and insurer.   

AIX’s data-driven technology increases efficiency and reduces risk for Concorde and its clients. The platform dramatically reduces Not-In-Good-Order (NIGO) errors, a barrier to investing in alternatives. NIGO errors occur when investment documents are incorrect, outdated or lack vital information, like signatures. 

BetaNXT 

BetaNXT, a provider of wealth management infrastructure solutions with real-time data capabilities and an enhanced advisor experience, announced that its Mediant business has launched the evolved version of its cutting-edge MIC platform. The enhanced solution will streamline workflows for brokers, advisors, and investors while transforming investor and client communications. 

The MIC ecosystem is an integrated solution that embodies a holistic approach to connecting data seamlessly throughout the investor and client communications lifecycle. This integration optimizes shareholder interactions and boosts engagement while fostering unparalleled efficiency, consistency, and reporting. 

Connected data within the MIC platform simplifies the manual nature of tasks such as resolving corporate action complexity, accessing summaries and detailed views of assets, retrieving corporate action positions and statements, and supporting proxy voting obligations. These functions can make it difficult for firms that have historically relied on siloed technology systems to serve investors who possess today’s digital-first mentality. The MIC platform makes it easy for these types of companies to intuitively meet the needs of their customers within a hyper-personalized, digital experience. 

iCapital 

iCapital and Mirador announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which iCapital will acquire Mirador. With the acquisition, iCapital will expand its data management and reporting capabilities to create an enhanced technology experience for clients in the wealth management, family office, endowment, and foundation segments. 

Mirador delivers an array of services for its client base, including advisors serving high-net-worth investors, family offices, endowments, and foundations. Mirador’s offerings include consolidated financial reporting, private investment support, offline and alternative investment data management, K-1 document management, and compensation management for wealth management firms. Mirador also has a technology consulting team offering custom wealth technology solutions. 

Intention.ly 

Intention.ly, the growth engine design consultancy firm transforming the way finserv and fintech companies approach sales and marketing, announced the launch of an outsourced Sales Development Representative (SDR) service. This new offering, aimed at empowering businesses to accelerate their sales pipeline and drive revenue growth, comes less than six months after the introduction of Intention.ly’s sales consulting division and the appointment of veteran sales leader Kyle Hiatt as partner and head of sales consulting. 

The SDR service provides firms with a cost-effective alternative to hiring and managing internal sales representatives, enabling them to concentrate resources on core business activities. Experienced SDRs are allocated to work closely with Intention.ly clients, gaining a thorough understanding of the target market, buyer personas and sales goals. This model is based on a monthly retainer along with a small additional fee per prospect meeting booked. Importantly, the service integrates lead generation from a marketing standpoint, merging it with Intention.ly’s existing comprehensive offerings to construct a potent engine for scalable, sustainable growth. 

IRALOGIX 

IRALOGIX announced a partnership with PensionPlus, an innovative decumulation solution that makes it easy for retirement plan participants to create a highly personalized retirement plan designed to last for their entire lives while keeping their current investments. 

In 2024, 11,000 Americans are expected to celebrate their 65th birthday daily. Many struggle to convert their savings into a retirement paycheck that lasts the rest of their lives. Others are concerned about adhering to their income plan once in retirement and ensuring they don’t outlive their savings. Americans need a new and better way to create a personalized plan that matches their goals and preferences. 

With PensionPlus, the benefits are clear: participants get a sustainable retirement paycheck while remaining in complete control of their investments (no transfer of assets required). In addition, PensionPlus monitors the plan (including spending and withdrawals) and adjusts the plan as needed based on portfolio performance and inflation. Additional features include an annual bonus payment and tax optimization. By creating an easy and affordable lifelong solution, PensionPlus aims to give all Americans the peace of mind they deserve in retirement. 

Lincoln Financial Group 

Lincoln Financial Group announced the launch of FlexPEP(k) and FlexPEP(b), comprehensive pooled employer plans (PEP) for 401(k) and 403(b) plans, respectively. With these side-by-side solutions, Lincoln aims to address the shared needs and interests of businesses and not-for-profit organizations for their retirement benefits, while also growing awareness of the value of PEPs. These tailored solutions add to Lincoln’s lineup of group plan solutions totaling more than $1.3 billion in assets. 

Smart Retirement Solutions, Inc., focused on delivering independent fiduciary services to ease the burdens of plan sponsorship, will serve as the Pooled Plan Provider and Envestnet, a leading provider of technology, advanced insights and solutions for the wealth management industry, will serve as the 3(38) investment provider, managing the investment fund menu for both solutions. 

Luma 

Luma Financial Technologies (“Luma”) and BNY Mellon’s Pershing (“Pershing”) announced a collaboration that will provide financial advisors with a best-in-class annuity management experience. Through Pershing’s award-winning custodial platform, NetX360+, advisors will be able to access Luma’s educational materials, analytics, and suitability tools to help them streamline and manage sales activities for all annuity product types. 

Luma’s comprehensive suite of tools expands advisors’ capabilities and empowers them in the management of annuities. Within Luma’s Learning Center, advisors receive personalized education tools, in addition to National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) product training. Providing access to Luma via single sign-on from the NetX360+ platform increases advisors’ annuity research capabilities and enables unique comparison features to ensure the product selected best matches their client’s individual goals. Pershing will transmit brokerage account details to Luma, and Luma will provide brokerage account, product, and user information to Subscribe, Pershing’s proprietary annuity application. 

OneVest 

Global View Capital Advisors, a leading diversified financial services firm with offices in Canada and the U.S., proudly announces its partnership with OneVest as its chosen wealth management platform for Canadian advisors. The decision to collaborate stems from OneVest’s innovative technology offerings, which align with Global View Capital’s commitment to delivering top-tier services to its clients. 

The integration of OneVest’s technology brings a host of benefits to Global View Capital’s wealth management program, including streamlined onboarding, advanced advisor solutions, unparalleled configurability options, Unified Managed Account (UMA) portfolio management capabilities, and trading functionalities. Available through GVX Wealth, a joint venture between Global View Capital and Experior Financial Group, these features empower advisors to provide tailored solutions and exceptional service to their clients, enhancing their overall experience. 

Pontera 

Pontera, the fintech company helping retirement savers receive 401(k) account management from their trusted financial advisor, and Ameritas Advisory Services, LLC, an investment adviser and wholly owned subsidiary of Ameritas, have announced the launch of their business relationship. 

Ameritas selected Pontera to help enable its financial professionals to securely manage their clients’ 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457(b)s and other workplace retirement accounts by using the platform. Financial professionals can also proactively monitor and rebalance plan accounts in keeping with a comprehensive investment plan. 

Ameritas offers financial professionals freedom and flexibility through multiple affiliation models and custody options. Likewise, working with Pontera gives its financial professionals more choice in the technology they can use to help deliver available options to clients. 

SMArtX Advisory Solutions 

SMArtX Advisory Solutions announced it has added 31 strategies offered by four leading asset management firms to its rapidly expanding platform. The firm’s cutting-edge platform now offers 1,375 strategies from over 300 distinguished asset management firms. 

Notably, First Trust Advisors now offers 23 of their equity and fixed-income ETF strategies. Meanwhile, long-standing partners BlackRock, Lord, Abbett & Co., and OneAscent Investment Solutions collectively added eight strategies. These strategies encompass themes across taxable and municipal fixed income, alongside large and SMID cap equities. 

SS&C Technologies 

Crystal Capital Partners (Crystal) has hired SS&C Technologies (SS&C) to serve as its independent administrator. 

Crystal’s platform enables financial advisors and their qualified purchaser clients to build diversified portfolios of institutional private funds. Crystal’s platform currently connects over 200 wealth management firms to approximately 60 third-party institutional private funds. 

Voya Financial 

Voya Financial announced a new collaboration with Empathy, a comprehensive, on-demand concierge support system that offers bereaved families guidance and support for many of the administrative, emotional, legal and financial challenges faced after the loss of a loved one. Empathy’s services are now available to employees enrolled in group term life insurance offered by Voya through their employer. 

Through Empathy, employees will now have access to its Funeral Planning resources and Will Planning services. In addition, employees and beneficiaries can access Empathy’s comprehensive Bereavement Support that includes Bereavement Concierge, a Custom Care Plan, guidance from a dedicated Care Manager, and on-demand access to the Care Team, and curated bereavement tools like help with closing accounts and creating an obituary, probate and estate administration guidance, grief resources and more. 

YCharts

YCharts, a cloud-based investment research platform and proposal builder, is excited to announce an expanded partnership with Savant Wealth Management, a leading fee-only RIA recognized among Barron’s Top 100 Registered Investment Advisor Firms of 2023. This strategic collaboration aims to empower advisors with enhanced capabilities, accelerating business growth by optimizing proposal generation and strengthening client communication. 

With Savant’s nationwide presence and commitment to delivering top-notch client services, its recent decision to integrate YCharts Presenter licenses across its firm underscores its dedication to elevating experiences for advisors and their clients across the country. YCharts Presenter will arm Savant advisors with powerful, time-saving solutions such as Proposals, enabling customizable client report generation to scale AUM growth and enhance overall client satisfaction. 

With the addition of team-wide Presenter licenses of YCharts, Savant can foster heightened collaboration between its research teams and certified financial advisors in the field. By seamlessly bridging the gap between insights and action, this framework ensures advisors can deliver timely, informed investment suggestions while significantly reducing turnaround times—not only enhancing productivity but also amplifying efficiency in creating personalized client and prospect collateral.