SS&C Technologies held their annual conference in mid-September in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency where over 1,000 advisors, tech executives and partner firms convened for 2 ½ days.
Rebranded as SS&C Deliver after the acquisition of Advent Software by SS&C Technologies two years ago, the annual confab of Advent and Black Diamond users put on quite the show, with many new products, integrations and platform enhancements revealed.
(Related: SS&C Announces Spate of Tech Updates)
After its recent acquisition of Salentica, the Canadian-based CRM overlay for Microsoft Dynamics CRM that many large RIAs use to power their back offices, SS&C has invested aggressively to pivot the system to the Salesforce platform.
With the release of Salentica Elements, advisors working with the Black Diamond wealth platform will now have access to a comprehensive CRM available on the Salesforce AppExchange. The new functionality will provide advisors with an advisor-specific solution that has pre-built configurations, workflows and features native integration with the Black Diamond wealth platform.
Other big product and platform news was the latest enhancements to the Black Diamond wealth platform. Senior Solutions Manager Justin Wayne showcased the latest developments to a standing-room only session.
“We now have one service contract and one tech stack that provides integrated reporting, portfolio accounting, outsourced data management, rebalancing, client portal, CRM, financial planning, risk analytics and now managed accounts,” Wayne noted.
Through the recent platform bundles of Riskalyze risk management and Advizr financial planning, Black Diamond has become a fully featured wealth platform.
Now, through a partnership with SMArtX over 250 investment strategies are now available on the Black Diamond wealth platform, effectively making it a TAMP-like offering. “This SMA platform is an integrated solution bundled into Black Diamond all within one custodial account for 15 basis points, which includes the cost for Black Diamond, effectively making it a next-generation TAMP.”
This combination of best-in-breed tech along with low-cost managed accounts promises to throw a shock wave through the TAMP marketplace.
Along those lines, industry technology guru and T3 conference and newsletter publisher Joel Bruckenstein delivered a featured session at the conference on the “Future of Wealth Management.”
Bruckenstein, in his inimitable style, challenged the audience that many of their pre-conceived notions will be upset in the near future, driven by the inevitable forces of technology innovation.
“We are in the early stages of massive changes in this industry,” he said, pointing out several major focus areas, including how payments will be done, how lending is processed, the way investments will be evaluated, how insurance will be sold and changes to the services advisors provide.
“Blockchain has the potential to disrupt so many aspects of financial services, yet the industry still thinks it only applies to Bitcoin,” Bruckenstein noted. In order to be prepared for this new environment, Bruckenstein advises that advisors become “e-advisors,” a methodology where digital technology is applied across firms’ service delivery and back-office automation.
(Related: Will Bitcoin Ever Be a Fiduciary Asset?)
“E-advisors can service 50 to 100 more clients than those that are not, at a much lower cost, sustaining profitability in a more competitive environment,” he noted.
Concluding his remarks, Bruckenstein pointed out advisors’ biggest mistakes in technology. “Most firms don’t think holistically when it comes to technology; for example, evaluating one system in a silo when they should have a much broader strategy across the firm with a forward look.” He also encouraged advisors to increase their investments in technology, despite the uncertain future.
“Technology has to serve you and your clients, and no technology investment is a bad one. Be sure to encourage your vendors to keep innovating.”
Hackathons these days are now becoming more and more popular as an innovative way to drive advisor tech innovation. In a new tradition, Black Diamond held its second hackathon competition at the conference that was judged by T3 tech guru Joel Bruckenstein, Wealthmanagement.com Editor-in-Chief, David Armstrong, Quovo co-founder Niko Karvounis and yours truly.
In a twist to other hackathons, the Black Diamond competition featured advisors as the lead product managers, supported by Black Diamond engineers and interface designers to bring a concept to prototype. Top hacks included vey impressive new applications, including a client-driven referral feature, a crowd-sourced report template program along with an automated meeting prep and delivery capability.
To learn more about what went on at the SS&C Deliver conference, check out the many tweets on the #SSCDeliver hashtag on Twitter.
— Read The Advisor as Tech Guru, Educator, Full-Service Consultant on ThinkAdvisor.