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DOL’s Fiduciary Rule Fuels Tech Trends at Conferences

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While fall 2016, according to the calendar, is technically just beginning, the industry’s busy fall conference season has already been in full swing for a couple of months now, revealing the latest technology advisors will need to acquire in order to thrive in the rapidly changing wealth management environment.

Key themes on full display at the many industry and technology events included the new workflow, compliance and document management systems that will be needed to comply with the Department of Labor’s new best interest rule, along with new integrated wealth platforms that bring together CRM, financial planning, risk analysis, portfolio management, performance reporting and white-label robo services in one integrated application.

“The new DOL rule has turned everyone into technology shoppers,” said Steve Dunlap, President of Folio Dynamix, at his mid-September conference in San Antonio.

New Integrations Increase Advisor Productivity 

Folio Dynamix announced several integration deals with popular advisor software packages, including MoneyGuidePro for financial planning, Risk Pro for risk analysis, Quovo for account aggregation and Scivantage for robo services.  Known as the “Fiborg Constellation,” this combination of systems will be integrated into the Folio Dynamix portfolio accounting, performance reporting and rebalancing platform to provide an end-to-end solution for advisors to better manage client relationships and minimize manual processes.

In a similar vein, SS&C Advent announced the release of the Black Diamond Wealth Platform at their conference, also held in mid-September, this time in San Diego. This new integrated technology stack of Advizr’s financial planning and Riskalyze’s risk analysis platforms, combined with Black Diamond’s award-winning portfolio management, performance reporting and client portal, will give advisors a one-stop way to acquire all of these systems directly from Black Diamond to create the needed efficiencies and enhanced client experience advisors will need to deliver to stay profitable and one step ahead of low-cost robo competition.

On the forms front, Laser App held its popular financial services conference in late August, also in San Diego. Headlining the conference was Dale Brown, head of the Financial Services Institute. Brown indicated the cost to firms to comply with the new DOL rule in the form of new systems would be in the millions of dollars for broker-dealers, and less so for RIAs, due to their varying business models.

Continuing the integration theme discussed above and leveraging it to solve for DOL mandates, Laserfiche presented an advanced account opening process that uses its new Laserfiche forms platform to create an end-to-end workflow automation system by integrating client data directly from Junxure CRM, pushing that data into Laser App to complete forms and BICE contracts, and then routing directly to the client via Docusign’s e-signature package to create an elegant, paperless, DOL-compliant, client onboarding process.

Screen Sharing Goes Mobile 

The FPA BE conference’s exhibit hall was the center of the event for technology displays, networking events and educational sessions. An innovative newcomer to advisor technology was ScreenMeet, a screen-sharing platform, optimized for mobile devices.

According to ScreenMeet CEO, Ben Lilienthal, a former GoToMeeting executive, “For financial advisors, sharing content through existing Web conferencing systems for portfolio reviews or prospect presentations is cumbersome.”

With ScreenMeet, advisors can share their screen from their phone, tablet or desktop with just one click, and no download needed for attendees, enabling advisors to meet their client wherever and whenever they are.

In one of the more unusual, yet fun, advisor technology events, Orion Advisor Services held its annual FUSE “hackathaon” for 90 software developers from 30 different technology companies sequestered into a single large house in Park City, Utah.  This 72-hour event held right after Labor Day, challenged the development teams to come up with new innovations on how their applications can deliver value and efficiencies to advisors via Orion’s open API integration toolkit.

One of the hacks that defiantly had the “wow” factor and got the FUSE house buzzing, was by Orchestrate who used Amazon’s Alexa to automate via voice recognition various alerts in Orion and CRM, giving the attendees a future glimpse of how artificial intelligence and voice recognition will dominate the way they run their offices.

The other major conferences that I wasn’t able to get to on the fall schedule despite my best efforts, lack of sleep and jetlag, included the Junxure Advisor Conference and the eMoney Summit. To learn more about what went on at these technology-focused events, check out the many tweets on their hashtags on Twitter, or visit the ThinkAdvisor TechCenter for coverage:

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