At FPA San Diego, Technology Roundtable Says Integration Has Arrived

Advisors want ‘one-stop-shop for everything, can now have it,’ says Orion’s Clarke

Integration was the topic of discussion at an exclusive roundtable discussion of technology executives with AdvisorOne at FPA’s annual conference in San Diego.

“That ‘killer app’ that everyone wanted and talked about 10 years ago is here,” said Redtail CEO Brian McLaughlin. “And it’s driven by integration.”

In addition to McLaughlin, participants included Eric Clarke, president of Orion Advisor Services; Jon Patullo, director of technology product management with TD Ameritrade Institutional; Chris Valleley, a senior product manager with TD Ameritrade Institutional; and, Spenser Segal, CEO of ActiFi.

Valleley said advisors are more tech savvy, have higher expectations and are looking for simplification of process, largely due to the success of Apple’s user interface.

“They want a one-stop-shop for everything,” agreed Clarke. “And they can now have it. The client won’t know what’s happening behind the scenes, because it will all be private-labeled to the advisor. One change at the client interface level will result in the change being made across all the disparate systems that are talking to one another.”

Clarke also noted it’s no longer about the business conforming to technology, but technology conforming to the individual advisor’s business. Clarke said he and the other roundtable participants are members of Your Silver Bullet, a collection of technology companies committed to talking, working an interfacing with one another for the advisor and client's benefit.

The organization’s website states that it is not a platform, product, pre-packaged suite of applications or a consulting organization, but a “committed community.”

“Portable, secure data aggregation that can be viewed and rebalanced in real time over mobile devices is here now,” McLaughlin said.

Commenting on the outsourcing trend, Segal noted those who outsource typically have 40% more of their time available to spend with clients. But Clarke noted staff must be involved in any technology purchase or outsourcing decision.

“In order to make either successful you have to have the buy-in of employees,” he said. “They will be the ones using the technology, and many feel if something is outsourced it will mean their job. The advisor had to tell them what they will be doing after the technology is purchased of the function is outsourced.”

Once the technology is purchased, Clarke added that resources must be dedicated to training; not only monetary resources, but time as well.

“We have all sorts of training modules and interactive programs on our site, but advisors have to set time aside for employee training,” he said. “That is the only way to ensure the technology is adopted and properly used.”

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