If you want to know the state of affairs in advisor technology, be sure to make the annual trek to Joel Bruckenstein’s Technology Tools for Today (T3) conference.
Those who braved the rain storms in Southern California in mid-February to check out this year’s T3 will know that there has been a marked shift in the industry’s view of digital advice and the ways advisors will use technology to better serve their clients and run their businesses.
“The pace of change is accelerating,” noted Joel Bruckenstein in his opening remarks in front of nearly 80 advisor tech vendors and 600 attendees at the cozy Hyatt Garden Grove, tucked right next to Disneyland.
Bruckenstein was speaking about the many innovations in technology and perception shifts that are rapidly impacting wealth management. Top among those trends is the shift in the industry’s view that robo technology should not be treated as competition for advisors, but rather as the key automation tool advisors can use to scale and streamline their practices while meeting client expectations for a more digital experience.
Embracing that theme in the first keynote of the conference was Aaron Klein, CEO of Riskalyze, who debuted new enhancements to his digital investment platform, Autopilot, that help advisors customize and scale their advice delivery.
“The problem with personalization is that it doesn’t scale, and the problem with automation is that there is no personalization,” Klein said. “What is needed is an automated account platform that streamlines the process to flexibly automate advice, while still personalizing the experience.”
Klein is delivering on that premise with the launch of next generation tools and the Autopilot Partner Store, a marketplace that creates automated access to models, strategies and research from some of the industry’s top asset managers and strategists.
Jessica Liberi, vice president of product management for eMoney, presented her firm’s latest developments such as the expanded launch of Advisor Branded Marketing technology, a marketing toolkit that offers custom-branded, multi-media marketing campaigns for generating and nurturing leads via the eMoney dashboard.
Liberi also gave the crowd a look into the future by demoing voice-technology integration with Amazon’s Echo Alexa to ping the eMoney database about various client situations, status of retirement plans and other account-related information. As Alexa provided detailed answers to Liberi’s queries, the crowd was impressed.
Kicking off Day 2 was the much-anticipated announcement from Orion Advisor Services of the launch of their next generation trading and rebalancing platform Eclipse.
“Eclipse goes beyond trading and rebalancing to provide advisors with an integrated platform to not only drive efficiencies but to also create tax alpha for clients,” noted Eric Clarke, CEO of Orion.
The addition of Eclipse provides advisors with powerful computational capabilities to bring Big Data to their everyday workflows. According to Clarke, “We built Eclipse on the Amazon Cloud so that every morning, custom workflows are calculated from one dashboard. This enables advisors with the critical information they need such as what to trade, what to query on and what are the outlier accounts immediately, saving them from having to review accounts one at a time.”
Continuing the digital advice transformation theme at this year’s T3 was a lively panel discussion hosted by Jemstep, the pioneering robo platform designed for advisors to digitally connect with clients and prospects.
Simon Roy, president of Jemstep, said, “We’ve been involved in the digital advice world for nearly 10 years and have seen an incredible evolution over that time, but I still feel we are only in the second inning of a much longer game.”
On the research front, personal financial management provider Wealth Access presented on the benefits of account aggregation, providing real world data to show a powerful return on investment of this client-pleasing technology.
Based on the 16,000 end-clients using Wealth Access, over $4.8 billion in “held away” assets were aggregated through the platform. Of that $4.8 billion, the 130 advisory firms using Wealth Access reported through survey data that they were able to “convert,” or bring under their management, approximately 65% of those assets, resulting in a total of $3.1 billion in incremental, new assets now under their management.
Using the industry standard pricing model of 1% of AUM, that $3.1 billion in assets is generating $31 million in new revenues, equating to an incremental additional $240,000 per firm and $2,000 per client annually.
Throughout the conference, attendees were able to sample from a plethora of nine-minute “flash” sessions running concurrently on multiple stages, enticing advisors to get a fast look at the many offerings available from the top advisor tech vendors. Combined with a thriving exhibit hall that featured craft brew tastings, receptions and lunches, advisors had a hard time managing all of the information flow coming their way.
Yes, advisor tech is hot and will only continue to heat up as the industry remains in growth mode.
To learn more about the entire goings on at T3, be sure to check out the #T32017 hashtag on Twitter.
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