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Orion Opens Financial Planning Platform to All Advisors During Pandemic

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Orion Advisor Tech will offer free, self-guided access to its Orion Planning platform as part of an effort to help advisors during the coronavirus pandemic, it said Tuesday.

The platform will be opened up to all advisors starting Wednesday, whether they are existing Orion clients or not, the Orion Advisor Solutions division said.

Orion will also offer client communication campaign support to help advisors address market volatility during the crisis, it announced. The accessible marketing campaign materials “illustrate the tremendous value of financial planning, especially during a market downturn,” Orion said. Advisors should “use this collateral to reach out to those who have been financially affected by COVID-19, in an effort to provide financial peace of mind as they focus on the health of themselves and their families,” it said.

Meanwhile, Orion launched a “Business as Usual” program that it said was designed to help advisors who lack cloud-based technology and are unable to perform their jobs effectively while forced to work from home. As part of the new program, firms that are not already working with Orion and relying on limited or installed technology will be able to access Orion’s cloud-based solutions to continue their operations, it said.

Through the Business as Usual program, advisory firms that sign contracts within the next two weeks will get priority onboarding to accommodate core business activities prior to the June 30 quarter end, Orion said. They will also get free access through July 1 and deferred payment through Oct. 30, and five hours of outsourced business product support from Orion’s Special Work Ops Team (SWOT) for firms transitioning from installed technology, to be used for quarter-end audits, running reports and generating bills, it said.

Orion Communities

Separately Wednesday, Orion announced the launch of its Orion Communities investment model marketplace for advisors.

Orion Communities is “uniquely positioned as a middle ground between advisory firms that handle investment management in-house and traditional turnkey asset management platforms,” the company said. The new marketplace offers access to models from a growing list of more than 40 big-brand, boutique and emerging money managers across fixed income, equities and alternatives, Orion said.

Orion Communities “creates a bridge for advisors seeking to scale their businesses by outsourcing investment management and due diligence, but retaining trade-by-trade discretion and control over client accounts,” it said.

“As we thought about all the advisors we serve across Orion Advisor Tech and Orion Portfolio Solutions, we realized that many did not fit into one box or the other,” according to Eric Clarke, CEO of Orion Advisor Solutions. “We identified firms that preferred to keep certain functions — like trade execution — in house, but that didn’t have the due diligence resources to carefully vet outside strategists,” he said in a statement.

Orion Communities allows advisors to “easily locate investment options that best suit a client’s unique objectives” and they can “filter and compare models on multiple criteria, including manager, management style, model fee, minimum investment amount, risk score, and more,” the company said. Advisors can then opt to subscribe to one model or an entire lineup of strategist models in only a couple of clicks, Orion said.

“As firms grow, it can be difficult to fit clients into just a handful of firm-created models, due to investors’ varying objectives and tolerances for risk,” according to Clarke. “It’s imperative that we provide a best-in-class user experience and seamless connectivity to Orion’s trading tools to accommodate the need to personalize portfolios in a scalable way.”

Each available strategist is reviewed by sister company Orion Portfolio Solutions using a Due Diligence Questionnaire. Some strategists on Orion Communities “undergo an even deeper monitoring and review process to ensure consistent investment management standards,” the company said.

Advisors who use the Orion platform can access Orion Communities and execute trades through either of its trading applications, Eclipse or TOM.

— Check out Tax Efficiency Tech Strategies Shine for Advisors During Market Crash on ThinkAdvisor.