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Morgan Stanley Among Adopters of New 4U Platform: Tech Roundup

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Morgan Stanley, Morningstar and T. Rowe Price are among the first major firms to announce their adoption of the new 4U online, multimedia, management and measurement platform.

The platform was created to “enhance the partnership between” investment companies and wealth management firms, according to 4U Platform, which was founded in 2015 by financial co-CEOs Denise Wypiszenski, a former Morgan Stanley Smith Barney executive, and Arin Epstein, a fintech strategist and engineer.

4U “collaborated with 50-60 companies on the investment company side, 100% of the top wealth management firms and some of the industry’s largest platform providers to receive their feedback and insight,” the firm noted. The platform was designed to meet the “everyday needs of firms of all sizes and resolves collective industry challenges by transforming multiple partner workstreams,” it added.

“For the last few years, we, among other firms, have been in discussion with the 4U Platform team to understand their 4U Connect platform, its benefits to the firm, our marketing review process and asset management partners,” Margaret Flynn-Martin, managing director and head of the Relationship Management Group at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, told ThinkAdvisor.

“Our marketing review team was part of an industry group that worked with the 4U development team and gave input on design of the platform, components that would be essential to make the platform successful … based on their day-to-day job function of reviewing and approving these third-party asset manager materials,” she said, adding: “Our main hope is that 4U will help streamline and speed up the third-party marketing review and approval process, which helps drive efficiency for our marketing review team. This is an industry solution (not just an MS solution) that will help streamline the marketing review/compliance process for both distribution firms and asset management firms.”

4U features unique platform components for advisors, investment companies, wealth management firms and platform providers. Specifically, 4U Connect serves as the collaborative portal that provides the “common app” for investment companies and wealth management firms to upload and share content for marketing review and approval through a single platform interface, while 4U Engage acts as the secure and customizable dashboard advisors can use to access approved content available at their firms, 4U said.

Advisor Group Launches Reg BI-Ready Tools

Advisor Group rolled out an eQuipt Dashboard for financial professionals, an enhancement to the firm’s eQuipt digital client onboarding and account management platform.

The latest enhancement was designed to “facilitate compliance” with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new Regulation Best Interest “by seamlessly incorporating streamlined options for managing electronic delivery of required disclosures, key account documents and more,” Advisor Group said.

The eQuipt Dashboard will “serve as a single, integrated point of entry to the full spectrum of eQuipt’s functionality for Advisor Group financial professionals, including digital collaboration for opening new accounts; processing financial planning agreements and invoices; streamlined funding via ACATs, ACH, and Mobile Deposit; accessing and editing email addresses for clients and prospects, and more,” it said.

The new Dashboard incorporates Reg BI-ready features that it said were “designed to empower financial professionals to hit the ground running” when the rules take effect Tuesday. Those features include a digital eConsent tool that allows financial professionals to view which clients and prospects are not enrolled in eDelivery for key account documents and disclosures, then sends them invitations to enroll, the firm said. The eQuipt Dashboard also features one-click eDelivery enrollment that advisors can use during account setup or in other direct interactions with clients.

EMoney Plans New App

EMoney looked ahead to its future plans, including the launch of a new financial wellness app, while celebrating its 20th anniversary.

“As the need for multi-generational planning grows, eMoney will continue to expand its product offerings, focusing on advanced planning, aggregation” and application programming interfaces, among other areas, the firm said.

The financial wellness app the company is developing will “launch later this year to help advisors introduce financial planning topics at scale and encourage behavioral change for users,” it said.

EMoney will also “debut additional product offerings and new research at its annual summit,” Oct. 19-21, it said. Like many other annual corporate events, the eMoney Summit has shifted to an all-digital format this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An internal celebration will be held at a Town Hall meeting July 15 to recognize the company’s 20-year milestone, it noted.

BNY Mellon Teams With Microsoft on Data, Tech Solutions

BNY Mellon launched three new Data and Analytics Solutions offerings and announced an expanded relationship with Microsoft to create data, technology and content solutions for investment managers built on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing service.

The three new Data and Analytics Solutions are Data Vault, Distribution Analytics and ESG Data Analytics, and were “designed to help investment managers better manage their data, improve the success of U.S.-listed fund launches and support the customization of investment portfolios to preferred” environmental, social and governance factors, BNY Mellon said.

Flyer Widens Pact With Envestnet | Tamarac

Advisors relying on the Envestnet | Tamarac platform can now automate their fixed income trade processing using fintech firm Flyer’s Co-Pilot order management system as part of an expanded relationship between the companies.

The initial Co-Pilot integration with Tamarac was announced in April 2019. “By adding efficient fixed-income trading enhancements, advisors can now streamline pre- and post-trade processing for fixed-income securities alongside their equity and mutual fund orders, all within the Tamarac system,” the companies said in a joint announcement Tuesday.

Via the expanded integration, advisors can “optimize fixed-income middle- and back-office workflows with a variety of features, including aggregating and blocking of fixed-income orders into a staging blotter, entering characteristic-based orders with CUSIP support, capturing trade execution information in the working order blotter, and allocating block trades back into individual client accounts at the custodians,” the firms said. The “fixed-income enhancements can help eliminate time-intensive and error-prone processes that are traditionally completed offline,” they added.

Integrating Co-Pilot’s capabilities with Tamarac’s platform will enable users to “benefit from increased efficiencies and streamlined operations for RIAs managing accounts and trading on behalf of their clients,” the firms said.

10 Fintech Firms Selected for Accelerator Program

FIS and The Venture Center announced 10 international startups selected for this year’s Fintech Accelerator Program, which in its fifth year moved to an entirely virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The startups selected were: Cirrus Secure, an Evergreen, Colorado-based firm focused on lending automation; Cobbler Technologies (Little Rock, Arkansas, application development); Dasceq (Dallas, Texas, accounts receivables and collections); Mall IQ (San Francisco and Istanbul, location intelligence); Sequretek (Mumbai, India, cybersecurity); Silot (Singapore, small business services); Stratyfy (New York, risk-based decision-making); Surfly (Amsterdam, co-browsing and video chat technology); TrustStamp (Atlanta, Georgia, secure authentication) and XpenseOne (Spokane, Washington, expense management automation).

FinMason Introduces Muni Bond Analytics

Fintech firm FinMason launched the second phase of its fixed income analytics offering — municipal bond analytics — for the retail wealth management and asset management communities.

“FinMason’s municipal bond rollout covers the entire municipal bond universe across all 50 states, DC, and U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico, the U.S Virgin Islands, and Guam,” the firm said. Included are more than 30 analytics, calculated daily, on more than 1 million municipal bonds, it noted.

In May, FinMason launched coverage of the entire global government and corporate bond universe. With the June 25 muni bond launch, FinMason can now “provide sophisticated fixed income analytics on virtually all individual fixed income securities typically found in the retail wealth marketplace — roughly one and a half million individual bonds,” it said.

The fixed income initiative also extends to producing institutional-grade fixed income analytics on mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, Undertakings for the Collective Investment in Transferable Securities and Separately Managed Accounts, the company said.