Stock photo of portfolio data on a computer (Photo: Shutterstock)

In the face of the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, large diversified investors suddenly confronted an uncomfortable reality.

There were fundamental questions they couldn’t answer in a complete, timely or accurate manner:

  • Where can I see everything I own?
  • How are my investments performing?
  • Where am I most exposed?
  • What should I do now?

This created enormous challenges for even the most sophisticated asset owners in navigating the crisis as it unfolded. Not coincidentally, the fintech company I lead was founded in the immediate aftermath of that crisis in 2009.

Now, 11 years later, we have reached $2 trillion in assets on our platform. This is of course a point of pride for us, but more importantly it reflects how the industry has changed since the last crisis.

Today’s market practitioners are empowered to navigate market volatility in a more data-driven and confident way than what was possible back then.

You Can’t Advise on What You Can’t See

In the past, using legacy systems and tools, advisors spent much of their time collecting and cleaning data to have even the most basic portfolio-oriented conversations with clients.

Also the growing interest in alternative investments — private equity, hedge funds, venture capital and real estate — has added significant complexity and risk for advisors to analyze and report on the full scope of their client’s portfolios.

Put simply — to advise on the entire portfolio, you have to be able to see it clearly and completely. This has never been more important as we experience radical economic, market and cultural changes.

Today, advisors can subscribe to portfolio management solutions that have always-up-to-date data for all client portfolios — across asset classes, currencies and custody banks, including historically cumbersome to manage alternative investments.

These capabilities empower advisors to have high quality conversations with clients to help navigate uncertainty and achieve specific goals and objectives.

The right technology platform is now a must-have for advisors to develop trusted relationships, provide timely reporting and in-depth analysis to enhance decision-making, and support intuitive yet powerful digital experiences for each client.

Building on a Critical Mass of Data

Beyond facilitating enhanced reporting and advice, we have now collected a critical mass of data which makes it possible to address another key need for wealth managers: accurately gauging investor sentiment.

We recently announced the Addepar Investor Sentiment Index, an index that tracks U/HNW investor sentiment based on U.S. equity transactions that our platform tracks daily, across more than 10,000 portfolios with a minimum of $10 million each in assets.

The market moves over the last several quarters have been at odds with economic and world news, and traditional investor sentiment readings have long been derived from surveys rather than real investment decisions.

To address this gap, we build our index using aggregated and anonymized data of actual transactions, which provides unique insights into how sophisticated investors are assessing risk and adjusting their portfolios at a given time.

We see nearly limitless opportunities to add value to our clients using anonymized data to surface valuable insights. The ISI is just the beginning, and we’ll continue developing novel data and analytics products based on market needs to further distinguish our client-centric offerings.

Technology That’s Invisible to Advisors

We often say that the best technology fades into the background and simply makes life (and work) easier. That’s the ultimate goal of leading software providers.

To complement our platform’s reporting and analytics capabilities, we recently launched Marketplace.

This integrated offering provides unified access to a range of financial products — shares in private companies, access to private equity and hedge funds, secondary market liquidity solutions, and cash programs — to make it easier for advisors and investors to access, invest in and manage data on private and alternative assets.

The level of engagement from across our client base has been extraordinary, confirming this as a previously unmet need. 

We’ve also dramatically simplified the process for RIAs and family offices to integrate technology systems and components so that they can spend more time achieving client outcomes.

Advisors face enough challenges today navigating the market’s ups and downs and building client relationships, and they need not become technology experts.

It’s remarkable how much is possible now that wasn’t during the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. As we all confront an unprecedented set of challenges in the midst of our current crises, it’s vital that we can make high quality, data-driven decisions in a timely and consistent way.

Addepar’s commitment to our clients’ success over the past decade has earned us trust. Our client community has become vibrant and is constantly learning and growing from each other. We all share the common priority of delivering an outstanding experience and results for our clients. 

There has never been a better time for advisors to embrace technology in a strategic way to deliver in the face of today’s challenges. Together we can make the most of this time by partnering in order to establish a new standard of service to clients.

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Eric Poirier is the chief executive officer of Addepar, a leading technology platform for wealth management.