Last month, XY Planning Network held its fourth Annual FinTech Competition in the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. Each year, the FinTech Competition showcases software providers serving financial planners that are startup companies with either $1 million or less in revenue, or that have been in business for less than one year.
In this guest post, Bill Winterberg – financial technology consultant and founder of the tech blog FPPad.com – provides a recap of each finalist’s fintech presentation demo, which included a range of tools and services for financial planners, from tax planning and college financial aid planning software, to commission-free custody services and client survey software.
Bill kicks off with highlights from Holistiplan’s presentation on their innovative tax planning software, and how it can take a client’s entire tax return, digitize the data, and produce a client-friendly detailed report in less than a minute. The company aims to fill an important gap with its fintech offering by serving the large majority of financial advisors (estimated at over 90%!) who may collect tax documents from clients but have no tax planning software used in their businesses to support the analysis of all that tax information.
From there, additional XYPN FinTech Competition highlights, in the order of presentation, include:
- Altruist (commission-free RIA custody services), which bills itself as a “commission-free digital custodian” providing a low-cost option for financial advisors to manage and report on their clients’ accounts held across traditional custodians, including account aggregation tools for outside investment accounts. Advisors can create custom reports with an option to set up a client-facing dashboard for clients to access and view their reports. Portfolio rebalancing tools also help the advisor manage and submit trades, and include automatic rebalancing features, trading of fractional shares, as well as commission-free trading.
- Knudge (client engagement software) offers financial advisors a tool to help their clients stay on track with shared to-do lists. The software integrates with CRM systems, and lets advisors send custom reminders to their clients to keep them on track with given tasks they need to accomplish to achieve their financial planning goals. Clients can access their ‘nudges’ either through email or phone app.
- College Aid Pro (college financial aid planning) offers software tools that help advisors guide their clients through the process of evaluating and selecting undergraduate colleges as well as the financial aid options available to attend each school. The software also creates custom reports that show details such as anticipated college expenses, grant and scholarship availability, and projections of anticipated earnings after graduation.
- Anvil Foundry (form-filling document automation) aims to streamline the (digital) completion of routine paperwork in a financial planner’s daily workflow, including tasks such as opening new accounts and onboarding new clients (and simultaneously populating that data into other technology systems the advisory firm uses).
- NEXA Insights (client survey software) provides a client survey tool that helps advisors create customized surveys helping them identify and track client trends, as well as assess client feedback in relation to other firms also using NEXA. The ultimate goal of the software is to provide information that will help advisors increase engagement and enhance the value-add offered to their clients.
After all finalists presented, a panel of judges – including Michael Kitces, guest-post author Bill Winterberg, and Robert Sofia (co-founder of Snappy Kraken and winner of the 2016 XY Planning Annual FinTech Competition) – named Holistiplan the 2019 winner of the competition for its easy-to-use analysis tools, and for providing a much-needed tax analysis option for use by financial planners. The judges also awarded an Honorable Mention to College Aid Pro for tackling the challenge faced by millions of students annually of evaluating undergraduate institutions and financial aid for families.
The Fifth Annual FinTech Competition will take place on October 12, 2020, at next year’s XYPN Live conference in Denver, Colorado.