Welcome to the July 2019 issue of the Latest News in Financial Advisor #FinTech – where we look at the big news, announcements, and underlying trends and developments that are emerging in the world of technology solutions for financial advisors and wealth management!
This month’s edition kicks off with the announcement that Fidelity is launching a new Managed Account XChange (FMAX), in what appears to be a shift in the Fidelity business model to capture the ongoing advisor shift from internal portfolio construction to outsourced third-party managers and models, and also a re-positioning of Fidelity itself to compete more directly with Envestnet’s own manager marketplace in the future.
From there, the latest highlights also include a number of other interesting advisor technology announcements, including:
- Envestnet putting its own Insurance Exchange into full production, with the potential to finally catalyze growth of fee-based annuities in the RIA channel
- Plaid announcing a new Investments API on the back of its Quovo acquisition, that may put even more investment-related tools directly in the hands of consumers through various financial apps
- Canadian FinTech Equisoft acquires Grendel CRM to potentially push into US broker-dealer and insurance enterprises
- LifeYield rolls out a new “Income Advantage” tool to assist advisors in figuring out exactly which investment retirees can sell to raise spending cash in a tax-sensitive manner
- Two new advisor matchmaking platforms – Harness Wealth, and MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor – launch as demand continues for outsourced lead generation for financial advisors
Read the analysis about these announcements in this month’s column, and a discussion of more trends in advisor technology, including Tamarac rolling out digital onboarding tools to overlay Schwab and TD Ameritrade, Advisor Group launches an internal financial planning payment processing tool called “eQuipt for Financial Planning” as broker-dealers increasingly pivot into fee-for-service financial planning advice, Personal Capital launches its own high-yield cash offering as Wealthfront raises their cash yields to an industry-leading 2.57%, and XY Planning Network announces the finalists for its 4th annual FinTech competition for advisor technology to support the delivery of financial planning to the next generation of clients.
And be certain to read to the end, where we have provided an update to our popular new “Financial Advisor FinTech Solutions Map” as well!
I hope you’re continuing to find this new column on financial advisor technology to be helpful! Please share your comments at the end and let me know what you think!
*And for #AdvisorTech companies who want to submit their tech announcements for consideration in future issues, please submit to TechNews@kitces.com!
Fidelity Announces Managed Account XChange (FMAX) As Vertically Integrated Envestnet Competitor? One of the fundamental challenges of the RIA custodial model is that advisory firms don’t generate revenue the way they once did. In the past, investment advisers were primarily active investment managers of portfolios, leading to an ongoing series of trades for clients, and the concomitant trading commissions for their custodians. Coupled with the use of mutual funds, that would pay sub-TA and sometimes lucrative 12b-1 fees to the custodial platforms as well. But with the shift towards “ETFs as the new stocks” (i.e., the new building blocks for portfolio construction), and a shift of advisory firms towards more passive and strategic (or at least tactical and less-frequently-trading) strategies, RIA custodians and broker-dealers have been forced to find new revenue sources, from now-lucrative interest rate spreads on sweep accounts, to margin and securities-based lending fees, and more. In fact, the advisor shift towards model-based ETF portfolios has been so significant, it’s spawned in recent years the rise of so-called “model marketplaces,” that provide advisory firms pre-constructed model portfolio templates to use… a lucrative opportunity for platforms, as asset managers have shown a willingness to pay to have their model portfolios listed and used in the available marketplaces. Accordingly, TD Ameritrade launched a model marketplace through its iRebal platform, Morningstar launched a model marketplace, tech providers like Riskalyze have launched a model marketplace, and of course Envestnet as the “original” (and by far the largest) manager marketplace… and now Fidelity has announced its own version coming in 2020, dubbed Managed Account XChange (FMAX). In essence, FMAX will be an extension of Fidelity’s Automated Managed Platform (AMP), it’s basic robo-for-advisors-for-small-clients offering, as Fidelity has realized that the need for digital onboarding and investment process automation is not unique to small clients… but more affluent clients do have more complexity. Accordingly, the new FMAX platform will be sponsored by Fidelity (through their new Fidelity Institutional Wealth Advisor division, which is how Fidelity will generate revenue for distributing the third-party managers’ strategies), and integrate deeply with both WealthScape and eMoney as a more “full-service” advisor workstation of financial planning and investment tools… with embedded FMAX managers and models for advisors to use. Which means, in essence, that Fidelity is positioning itself more directly in competition with Envestnet, which has built its own integrated advisor workstation with financial planning and investment management tools… with the caveat that Envestnet is ultimately not in the custody and clearing business, while Fidelity is, and raising the question of whether an even-more-vertically-integrated model/manager marketplace could eventually allow Fidelity to win business away from Envestnet (notwithstanding the fact that in this age of co-opetition, Fidelity at launch will actually be working with Envestnet to support part of the manager selection on FMAX).
Will Envestnet’s Insurance Exchange Be The Missing Catalyst For Fee-Based Annuity Product? For a long year, the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule sent a chill down the spine of executives at annuity companies… what would happen to annuity products that have “always” been distributed through a commission-based model, in a world where commissions are potentially curtailed and/or levelized, given that annuity sales started to decline even when the DoL fiduciary rule was still in the proposal phase? Yet the reality is that ultimately, commission-based annuity agents is not the only way to distribute annuities, just as commission-based brokers isn’t the only way to sell mutual funds; in fact, as companies like Vanguard and DFA have shown, it’s possible to get hundreds of billions, or even trillions, of assets by not paying commissions… and instead by simply making a product so good that fiduciary RIA gatekeepers want to implement the solution with their clients (and get paid by their clients to do so). The caveat, however, is that thus far, the no-commission RIA industry has shown only limited willingness and interest to utilize fee-based annuity products. But arguably, the blocking point may simply be that annuity contracts do not typically fit well into an existing RIA’s technology infrastructure; after all, an advisory firm can block trade 1,000 clients at once with a click of a button in rebalancing software, but still has to semi-manually complete individual applications for each and every client who wants to use an annuity… and without any good tools to evaluate and compare annuity products to pick one in the first place (the way RIAs can analyze and choose mutual funds and ETFs). In other words, fee-based annuity distribution in the RIA channel is largely a technology problem. Accordingly, the significance of the recent announcement that Envestnet’s Insurance Exchange has come out of pilot and into wide adoption is not merely that Envestnet is looking to operate in the fee-based annuity marketplace (which could be lucrative enough to someday make its other solutions like MoneyGuidePro free!?), but that it is a technology company that in the process is trying to solve the very real technology blocking points in fee-based annuity distribution. The starting point will be Envestnet’s Insurance Exchange itself, which will make it feasible for Envestnet to compel all annuity carriers to report key contract features in a consistent manner for the first time ever (so they can be searched and screened in the marketplace). But also because Envestnet’s Exchange will help facilitate electronic applications and straight-through processing for new annuities, and eventually may build deeper integrations into tools like Tamarac to facilitate the trading, rebalancing, performance reporting, and billing of fee-based annuities as well. Which in turn may only further amplify the fee-based annuity offerings on Envestnet’s platform, as it potentially becomes the marketplace where fee-based advisors actually buy such annuity contracts. Will Envestnet be the catalyst that finally brings momentum to fee-based annuity (and eventually, fee-based insurance) products to the RIA channel?
Tamarac Rolls Out Digital Onboarding Tools For Schwab And TD Ameritrade. While most financial advisors were skeptical from day 1 that robo-advisors would be a threat to their businesses, the appeal of their technology was undeniable; the ability to digitally open and fund an account, using e-signatures, from a desktop or even smartphone, in an era where some broker-dealers and RIA custodians still required faxed paperwork that had to be followed up with wet ink signatures by mail. The demand for better technology in the account opening and onboarding phase, in turn, led to a number of robo-advisors to pivot into the B2B space as “robo-advisor-for-advisors platforms,” offering similar digital account opening services directly to the advisor community. The caveat, however, is that it’s difficult for such “middle-man” platforms to be sustainable; after all, advisory firms aren’t going to live in a digital account opening tool, and instead, will expect it to integrate to their advisor CRM and portfolio performance reporting and management tools, along with their RIA custodian or broker-dealer where the accounts actually open. Accordingly, it was arguably natural and inevitable that such digital account opening tools would eventually move from third-party tools, and instead become part of the custody and clearing platforms directly, or extensions of the CRM or portfolio performance reporting tools that advisory firms already live in. In this context, it is perhaps no great surprise that Tamarac has announced the rollout of a new digital onboarding tool, that feeds data directly into Tamarac and either Schwab or TD Ameritrade, combined with eSignatures to complete the applications and submit them directly to the RIA custodians. The rise of such tools, directly within portfolio performance reporting tools like Tamarac, will continue to put pressure on third-party more standalone solutions like Jemstep Advisor Pro and Trizic (both of which have already been pivoting more towards banks than RIAs), Emotomy and InvestmentPOD. Although arguably, the real question is why RIA custodians haven’t simply built better account application and digital onboarding tools for advisory firms to use directly, rather than relying on third-party providers in the first place?
Plaid Launches Investment Account Aggregation And Integrations Through Its Quovo Acquisition. The news earlier this year that Plaid was buying Quovo for a whopping $200M turned a lot of heads, with some wondering how Quovo’s account aggregation technology could be that valuable when the flow of account aggregation data is quickly becoming commoditized. Yet in practice, the Quovo acquisition was significant for Plaid given the latter’s roots in banking (facilitating bank account authentication and transfers), while Quovo had penetrated more deeply into investment accounts and wealth management. And, significantly, Quovo had been building out an API layer to not just push and pull investment account data, but actually be able to drive investment-related actions (e.g., the Betterment Smart Saver tool that leveraged the Quovo API to not just aggregate information about outside bank accounts, but authenticate the connection to transfer money to/from the account, and proactively monitor the account balance to trigger transfers of “excess” saving (to Betterment) once cash balances reached certain targets. And now, Plaid has announced a new Investments API layer of its own, leveraging the Quovo account aggregation data flows and capabilities, specifically to extend Plaid’s own APIs beyond bank accounts and into investment accounts (including not just account balances, but holdings and transactions as well). The significance of Plaid’s Investments API is that now, a wider range of consumer-oriented FinTech apps may begin to interact more directly with investment accounts, conceivably facilitating anything from account opening to account monitoring to even rebalancing or to facilitate investment-to-banking (or vice versa) transfers. Which means, in essence, that administrative functions previously handled primarily by financial advisors may now begin to get attached by a wider range of financial “apps” – not unlike how traditional banking tasks are increasingly being handled “off-platform” by an ever-growing number of banking apps. In the end, this won’t necessarily be a threat to the core of what human financial advisors themselves do (with respect to actually giving advice), but may further increase either the automation of back-office functionality, or continue the shift of giving consumers more direct control (directly from their smartphone!) of an ever-wider range of their financial household assets. Which, perhaps, also helps to explain why MX also managed to raise a new $100B Series B round this month to accelerate its own delivery of holistic account aggregated data and personal financial management tools in the bank channels.
Canadian FinTech Equisoft Acquires Grendel CRM With Eyes Towards US Enterprise Expansion? The advisor CRM marketplace in the US is incredibly competitive, with the latest T3 advisor technology survey showing Salesforce Financial Services Cloud leading amongst large enterprises, Redtail dominating independent broker-dealers, Junxure with a strong showing with independent RIAs, the occasional upstart like Wealthbox taking market share, and then a handful of “legacy” providers in the insurance channels like Ebix. In this environment, it’s difficult for most new players to even gain traction, resulting in a handful of smaller CRM platforms like ProTracker, or all-in-one integrated CRMs like Advyzon, showing low-single-digit market share, struggling to compete against both larger brands, and firms that have simply had more resources to reinvest and develop new features. In this context, it’s notable that Grendel – one of the “homegrown” advisor CRMs that over time expanded into other wealth management platform features (and now calls itself a “WRM” for Wealth Relationship Management), but has struggled to gain significant market share – is being acquired by Equisoft, a Canadian FinTech firm in their insurance and broker-dealer space with a similar CRM-plus-wealth-management-tools platform. The move appears to be an effort by Equisoft to move more directly in the US space, where the practical challenges of building a slew of new integrations to US institutions is largely solved by Grendel’s existing connections, and where Grendel is already “localized” to the needs of the US marketplace. Given Equisoft’s history in the enterprise marketplace, the move suggests that they’re more likely to look to adapt Grendel as a competitor with the likes of Salesforce and Ebix in large insurance and broker-dealer enterprises, than against the more independent-centric Redtail, Junxure, or Wealthbox. Where, arguably, there’s still room for more healthy competition to push the advisor CRM and platform technology forward!
Advisor Matchmaking Platforms Continue To Heat Up With The Launch Of MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor and Harness Wealth. As more and more financial advisors truly shift into holistic financial planning and wealth management, differentiation for the typical financial advisor is becoming more and more difficult… a challenge that is only compounded by the fact that, while the delivery of financial advice is not very scalable, the marketing in advisory firms is very scalable, leading a subset of the largest advisory firms to gain an increasingly disproportionate share of all the growth. Which in turn is leading to a growing interest in third-party marketing solutions or “outsourced” lead generation that can bring prospective clients to advisors directly. And because the advisory business itself is so lucrative, so too is the potential for monetizing advisor lead generation, especially when RIA custodians themselves have set the “going rate” at a phenomenally high 25%-revenue-sharing-for-life threshold. Accordingly, recent years have witnessed the launch of several new players in the advisor lead generation space, from NerdWallet’s “Ask An Advisor” to Investopedia’s Advisor Insights, SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor to the even-more-recent Zoe Financial. The challenge, however, is that while advisor lead generation has both strong interest from financial advisors and strong monetization potential… it’s also incredibly difficult to actually do, as the landscape for financial advice is so competitive, and large financial services firms have already long since bid up the costs for a wide range of marketing channels. Nonetheless, this month witnessed the launch of two more advisor matchmaking platforms for lead generation: Harness Wealth, and MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor. In the case of Harness, the platform is aiming to connect affluent individuals with a wide range of professionals, including financial advisors and also tax and estate planning experts, while MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor (MPFA) is aimed squarely (and solely) at financial advisors themselves. Both platforms have processes to vet financial advisors in the first place, and then charge the advisors who get through the vetting to be listed on the platform for potential matchmaking (on a revenue-sharing arrangement for Harness, or an upfront $995 fee for MPFA). The caveat, though, is that while there’s certainly demand for leads from financial advisors, and a willingness to pay, it’s not entirely clear how the platforms will be able to effectively “matchmake” advisors who aren’t very effective at differentiating themselves in the first place, and in the end the real challenge is simply being able to scale client acquisition as a matchmaking platform without facing prohibitive Client Acquisition Costs. Nonetheless, given the opportunity in the marketplace, it seems likely that some platform will figure out a formula for success, whether it’s one of the existing players, Harness or MPFA, or whatever comes next. The question for advisors, though, is which one to join (and there, the jury’s still out)?
Real Wealth Marketing Announces Integration To Redtail CRM For More Integrated Drip Marketing Automation. Drip marketing with newsletters has long been a staple of financial advisor marketing, with a cottage industry of third-party providers that would create and distribute white-labeled newsletters to an advisor’s prospect mailing list. Yet in recent years, drip marketing has increasingly shifted to become digital – in the form of social media and emails – and providers have been slow to adapt. While at the same time, small-business-CRM-with-marketing-automation has been a hot category of marketing technology (from InfusionSoft to HubSpot), but also absent in the world of advisor technology (where our CRM systems are not built with marketing automation capabilities). Accordingly, it is not surprising that, if only due to advisor demand itself, advisor CRM systems are now starting to build integrations with marketing automation providers, such as this month’s announced integration between Real Wealth Marketing (which providers a FINRA-pre-approved library of content advisors can use) and Redtail (to maintain a single master database of clients and prospects, and a centralized record of who has been mailed what). The introduction of more-integrated marketing automation solutions is a notable shift from the prior generation of offerings for advisors, from Vestorly to Financial Media Exchange (FMeX), that were primarily focused on building and delivering their own email automation and delivery with their own mailing lists (rather than simply integrating to advisor CRM systems). Though arguably, there is still room for an existing or new advisor CRM provider to create a truly-marketing-automation-capable CRM system (e.g., InfusionSoft for Financial Advisors). For the time being, though, progress towards more integrations between advisor CRM and third-party marketing and content solutions like Real Wealth is a positive start!
LifeYield Rolls Out Income Advantage To Support Tax-Sensitive Retirement Liquidation Decisions. Retirement decumulation planning is significantly more complex than accumulation planning, driven in large part by the fact that once liquidations and distributions begin to occur, so too do tax consequences associated with those transactions. As a result, while accumulation planning simply involves adding dollars to various accounts (and perhaps rebalancing them), decumulation planning must consider more directly to what extent capital gains (or losses) will be triggered, and whether it’s better to sequence liquidations from pre-tax retirement or Roth-style accounts instead… in addition to still figuring out exactly which investment positions themselves will be liquidated in the first place. For which, perhaps surprisingly, there are no financial planning software tools to help. Until now, as LifeYield rolls out its “Income Advantage” tool, which specifically allows advisors to set targets for capital losses (or a maximum amount of capital gains), whether it’s permissible to take or avoid short-term capital gains, how much will come from each type of account… and LifeYield will calculate the exact dollar amount of each appropriate trade from the available holdings in all the client’s accounts, and queue up the appropriate trade order(s) for execution. Which, for advisors who are facilitating ongoing retirement distributions for a number of retired clients, can quickly add up to a substantial amount of time savings in not needing to go line-by-line, account-by-account, trying to figure out manually exactly which holdings will be sold. Notably, though, Income Advantage still largely leaves it up to the advisor to figure out how much in capital gains should be safely generated, or how much will come from the different types of accounts (taxable brokerage, traditional retirement, or Roth-style tax-free accounts), while Income Advantage then drills down to figure out the most efficient way to sell the holdings in the relevant accounts to generate the cash (and fit the tax targets, and try to keep the overall portfolio close to its investment allocation targets). Which means there’s still room for another tool – or for Income Advantage to go deeper in the future – to actually solve the “account sequencing” challenge of figuring out how much from each account to liquidate in the first place (i.e., finding the retiree’s tax equilibrium point and identifying the optimal account sequencing for liquidations from taxable, tax-deferred, and tax-free accounts, which may include non-liquidating Roth conversions as well). Because in practice, the process of identifying exactly which particular holdings in various accounts will be liquidated is a time-consuming process in practice, and one where even basic filters and screens can heavily automate the process, LifeYield’s Income Advantage will be an appealing time-saver for advisory firms focused heavily on retirees taking ongoing retirement distributions!
Advisor Group Launches Internal “eQuipt For Financial Planning” Solution For Collecting Recurring Financial Planning Fees. As financial advisors shift increasingly towards providing financial planning as their central value proposition, so too do financial advisor business models increasingly shift towards financial planning fees (and away from product sales and portfolio management alone). Yet the challenge is that commission collection and remittance systems are standardized across the industry, and custody/clearing platforms are fully enabled to facilitate fee sweeps for RIAs… but historically, there were few options to charge clients a financial planning fee, short of simply asking them to write a check. Which is difficult for the next generation of younger clients today, as Millennials don’t carry (and sometimes don’t have) a checkbook, in an increasingly cashless society. Accordingly, last year AdvicePay launched the first payment processing platform specifically to facilitate for RIAs both one-time and recurring monthly/quarterly/annual financial planning fees from credit cards and bank accounts, and this year has begun to gain adoption from hybrid broker-dealers charging financial planning fees through their corporate RIA. Of course, the reality is that some broker-dealers prefer to “lease” technology from third-party providers and assemble a “best-in-class mix” strategy, while others prefer to build it themselves as part of their own fully-integrated proprietary platform. And in this context, Advisor Group announced this month that it built its own “eQuipt for Financial Planning” solution, which will similarly allow their advisors internally to bill clients one-time or recurring financial planning fees, integrated to the paperless/digital onboarding “eQuipt” platform that AdvisorGroup launched last fall. Of course, the reality is that for most broker-dealers, the bulk of their revenue continues to come from commissions directly, or fee-based accounts as the hybrid movement grows. Still, though, as various fee-for-service financial planning models continue to grow, and broker-dealers themselves continue to urge their advisors to focus more on comprehensive financial planning and advice value-adds beyond the (increasingly commoditized) investments alone, the emergence and rapid growth of both third-party solutions like AdvicePay and homegrown offerings like eQuipt for Financial Planning continues to cement the industry’s ongoing shift to include various fee-for-service models as a part of their future financial advice revenue model (especially for next-generation clients who may not have a portfolio or need a product, but are willing to pay outright for financial planning advice!).
YCharts Expands Investment Research And Analysis Tools To Wholesalers Alongside Advisors. When it comes to the world of investment research and analysis, the Bloomberg terminal and the Morningstar report are nearly ubiquitous amongst the advisor community as the key sources of both data and information, and deliverables to clients. Yet the irony is that, while there’s a certain comfort in the consistency of what and how Bloomberg and Morningstar provide their information, which in turn has allowed them to charge a premium for their value in the marketplace, it also opens the door to competitors who are willing to try to present investment information differently (and charge less for it). Which is how startups like YCharts have managed to get their foot in the door with the independent advisor community… with the caveat that when Bloomberg and Morningstar are so popular, one of the biggest challenges for newcomers is simply getting enough visibility to be considered in the first place. In this context, it’s notable that this month YCharts announced a partnership with the Sales team at John Hancock Investments, which will put YCharts’ mobile and desktop investment analytics tools into the hands of Hancock’s external wholesaler team… a significant announcement, given again the near-ubiquity of wholesalers toting Morningstar reports to show their offerings. Although in practice, YChart’s capabilities may be more appealing for their raw investment research and especially Model Portfolios tools, which makes it feasible for wholesalers to gather information on an advisor’s models and then provide analytics about how their offerings might impact those models (in addition, of course, to advisors using YCharts’ Model Portfolios for their own analyses). In other words, as financial advisors increasingly shift away from selling funds and towards model-based portfolios, so too are the tools that wholesalers (and advisors themselves) use likely to shift away from fund-based analytics (e.g., Morningstar Fund reports) and towards model-based portfolio analytics (where YCharts has increasingly focused). Though in the end, it all likely still works out for Morningstar (given that Morningstar was itself an early investor in YCharts!); nonetheless, the growth of competitors like YCharts, particularly in the hands of a major asset manager’s wholesaling team, represents a significant shift in the kinds of investment tools and technology that are relevant in the advisor community today (amongst both financial advisors themselves, and the wholesalers trying to reach and communicate with us).
Personal Capital Launches Its Own High-Yield Cash Account As Wealthfront Pushes Its Cash Yields Even Higher. For the better part of a decade of ultra-low interest rates after the financial crisis, “cash was trash”… to the point that the net yield was actually 0%, or at least so close to 0% that consumers just didn’t pay attention to what their cash yielded. In turn, though, as interest rates have begun to rise in recent years, so too has interest in cash accounts with a greater interest rate yield… to the point that startups, in particular, are using compelling cash yields as a way to attract new investors and assets to their platforms, from RobinHood initially trying to tempt savers with a 3% interest yield on checking, to Betterment developing a cash sweep solution for held-away accounts, and then Wealthfront launching a high-yield cash solution that quickly added nearly $1B of assets (a nearly 8% boost in AUM in barely 2 months). And now, Personal Capital has announced that it is launching its own Personal Capital Cash solution, paying a hefty FDIC-insured 2.3% yield on cash for investors (increased to 2.35% for those who also manage portfolio assets with the platform). In the meantime, Wealthfront announced that it is further increasing the yield on its cash, to an industry-leading 2.57% (as a cash-sweep offering that goes to one of three participating banks), in what is likely a decision to subsidize its own cash yields with a slightly above market rate in an effort to further attract investors (in the hopes the platform can make back the yield on the rest of its robo investment offering in the long run). The irony, of course, is that even as startups fight harder for investor cash as a way to develop and expand client relationships, broker-dealers and RIA custodians continue to pay substantially lower yields (rely heavily on earning most of their revenue and profits from cash sweep accounts instead), which has then begun to stoke other third-party solutions like MaxMyInterest, StoneCastle, and Galileo, to other better-yielding cash options to advisors and their clients. Although if digital startups continue to attract the bulk of the growth – and potentially advisors’ own client cash assets – away from traditional providers, eventually custody and clearing firms may be compelled to change their business models (or risk being disrupted by a new custodian that reconfigures its business model to actually pay compelling cash yields for advisors’ clients).
XY Planning Network FinTech Competition Announces 2019 Finalists. In 2016, XY Planning Network launched its first FinTech Competition, with a specific focus on supporting new startup FinTech companies (less than 12 months old or with less than $1M in revenue) that were better enabling the delivery of financial planning to next-generation (i.e., Gen X and Gen Y) clientele. Prior winners included marketing technology platform Snappy Kraken, tech-savvy 401(k) provider Vestwell, and prospecting and client onboarding tool Approach (from Mineral Interactive). And now, XYPN has announced its 2019 class of FinTech finalists, which include: upstart “digitally native” RIA custodian Altruist; data gathering, forms, and “business automation” processor Anvil; late-stage college planning tool College Aid Pro (focused not on saving into 529 plans, but how to maximize financial aid for families with children that are about to start college); Holistiplan, which takes uploads of a client’s tax return and then scans the forms for planning ideas and opportunities; Knudge, which has developed collaborative To-Do lists of financial planning tasks that advisors can work through with their clients; and client survey and feedback tool Nexa Insights. Finalists will present in person at the XYPN LIVE conference in St Louis on Tuesday September 10th to a panel of judges, with the winner receiving a wide range of opportunities for additional visibility, including PR support from FiComm Partners, potential features on Bill Winterberg’s FPPad and Kitces.com’s Nerd’s Eye View, an exclusive interview on the #XYPNRadio podcast, and the potential for an enterprise agreement with XY Planning Network’s own 950 advisors.
In the meantime, we’ve updated the latest version of our Financial Advisor FinTech Solutions Map with several new companies, including highlights of the “Category Newcomers” in each area to highlight new FinTech innovation!
So what do you think? Will Fidelity gain traction with its new Managed Account Exchange? Will Envestnet gain traction with its new Insurance Exchange? Do you think advisor matchmaking platforms like Harness Wealth and MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor will really be able to generate quality leads for advisors? Do RIA custodians and broker-dealers need to pay better cash yields for advisors to stay competitive in attracting client assets in a holistic relationship? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!