At the close of week’s eMoney Advisor Summit, the financial planning software company made a ‘surprise’ announcement that it will be integrating with its financial planning software competitor MoneyGuidePro.
Yet the reality is that this announcement wasn’t actually new – it had been previewed earlier this year at the T3 Advisor Technology conference – and the integration is actually between MoneyGuidePro and the new eMx Select platform, a comprehensive client Personal Financial Management (PFM) solution plus advisor dashboard that eMoneyAdvisor seems to be positioning as a new central platform on which an advisor could run his/her entire business.
From the MoneyGuidePro perspective, its users will likely be happy to have a new and more robust PFM solution to use with clients, and the integration plugs a gap in the MGP client experience. But in the long run, the pressure is now on MGP to continue to stay one step ahead of eMoney Advisor’s own financial planning software, or risk finding that their integration is a form of Trojan horse strategy that gives eMoney Advisor the chance to showcase its own software to MGP users and then solicit them to come over for the entire eMoney Advisor solution.
More generally, the decision of MoneyGuidePro to integrate with a perceived competitor certainly makes the point of the rapidly increasing importance of having a PFM portal that delivers a strong financial planning experience for clients. Though ultimately, the real news of the eMoney Advisor decision to unbundle eMx Select is that it is shifting from being “just” financial planning software to instead becoming an increasingly open architecture central advisor platform suggests that Fidelity may even be positioning the software to compete against TD Ameritrade’s Veo and Envestnet’s emerging platform solution. Which may well have been Edmond Walter’s vision all along.