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2022 Envestnet Asset Manager Awards

Envestnet CEO Opens Summit With New Cloud Tech, Upbeat Vibes

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What You Need to Know

  • Envestnet CEO Bill Crager focused on the Intelligent Financial Life at the first in-person Envestnet Advisor Summit since 2019.
  • Crager unveiled The Envestnet Wealth Data Platform in his keynote.
  • Envestnet also closed on an acquisition of tech firm Truelytics.

In a keynote on Wednesday that kicked off the first in-person Envestnet Advisor Summit since 2019, Envestnet CEO Bill Crager offered an upbeat take on how advisors will be able to harness technology to strengthen their relationships with their clients, all part of what he called the “Intelligent Financial Life.”

Envestnet also introduced a new cloud service for advisors this week, he told attendees in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Crager praised the way the industry responded to challenges brought on by the pandemic over the past couple of years. “Our industry made a huge difference in people’s lives and made a huge stride forward during these years,” he said, adding: “The stage is set for what’s next.”

He pointed out that the last time Envestnet, advisors and other attendees were all together was in May 2019, at the Envestnet Advisor Summit in Austin, Texas.

“Our theme that year was leadership. If you recall, Colin Powell stood on the stage [and] spoke about Winston Churchill,” Crager noted. Since then, both Powell and Jud Bergman, Envestnet’s former CEO, died — a fact likely not lost on any attendees and, along with a mention of the millions of people who died of COVID-19, lending a somber note to the otherwise upbeat keynote.

“It goes without saying that over these last couple of years, some weird sh… stuff has gone down,” he said, drawing laughs from attendees who knew exactly what word he intended to say before saying stuff instead.

COVID vaccines “miraculously” arrived over a year ago and there is still “uncertainty in our lives” due to new issues including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he noted.

“But here’s the thing,” he said. “Throughout human time, despite twists and turns, we’re here.” Just as humans have done in reaction to other major challenges, he said: “We react. We adapt …. What enables us to survive and adapt is our human nature. As William Faulkner said, it is the human spirit that is capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”

However, “there’s something more that keeps us moving forward when that human spirit is connected to other people,” he said, adding that, when that happens, “we don’t merely exist; we thrive.” People “connected to science and technology that has exponential scale” allows us to “expand [and] create transforming progress [and] this is where we are” now, he added.

And “the world is changing right here in this hall this week” at the Summit, he said, noting “the ways you do business have changed quite a bit” in recent years.

“It’s not technology or data that matter,” he said. “It’s you using technology and data that matter. We embrace tech. But we don’t want to become technology. We’re people, and people are the things that matter.”

The new tech tools being demonstrated by Envestnet to advisors this week represent a “future that we’ve been building towards for a number of years — many years,” he added.

What’s New

The new Envestnet Wealth Data Platform cloud service can aggregate all of an advisor’s data, Crager said.

“We enrich it. We reconcile it. We publish the data back to all of your systems, whether they’re Envestnet systems or not,” he told attendees. “And we power the entire Envestnet ecosystem with this data, all helping you with actionable insights each and every day.”

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The new platform “brings together portals that support advisors and small business, as well as data management, business intelligence and next best action to power decision intelligence at scale and help advisors grow their business and meet the rapidly evolving needs of their clients,” the company said in a news release late Wednesday.

A new Envestnet client portal is also being demonstrated to advisors in Charlotte this week, Crager noted. It offers a “single, data-driven, highly configurable and connected view of a client’s entire financial life,” according to the company. The new interface “provides personalization at scale enabling advisors to customize the client journey for multiple personas, from mass market to ultra-high net worth,” it said in the news release.

The client portal’s new “digital experience allows for more transparency during planning sessions, gives clients real-time access to their entire financial life any time on any device, and it makes things easy,” according to Envestnet.

Also new is an Envestnet Developer Portal that it said “unifies the technology and application programming interfaces (APIs) for Envestnet’s entire ecosystem.” Clients “leveraging multiple solutions across Envestnet now have quick access to public and restricted developer content to rapidly onboard and deploy new technologies,” it said.

Advisors were also invited by Crager to check out a collaboration hub in the expo hall where they can see some of the firm’s new solutions and give feedback to the engineering team on site.

The Latest Acquisition

Last, Envestnet “just closed an acquisition” on Wednesday morning of Truelytics, the developer of an advisor management platform, Crager disclosed. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. But the purchase is “not expected to have a material impact on Envestnet’s results of operation or financial condition,” it said.

The platform also reduces the costs related to advisor transitions, according to Envestnet. “The Truelytics platform combines Envestnet data, analytics, and wealth technology to further support advisors across the ecosystem,” according to the company.

What Stood Out

“The integration of all the platforms” is what stood out from Crager’s keynote for Damian Pardo, a certified financial planner and senior vice president of Private Wealth at First Horizon Advisors in South Florida.

“If it’s real,” Pardo added, noting with a laugh: “Usually these things are discussed, but when it comes right down to it the nuts and bolts doesn’t happen [or] it can’t happen.”

“Also, being locked in to anything is a trade-off,” he said. It’s a “constant area of analysis. …. What’s my trade-off if I’m using this? What am I giving up?” he said of trying to figure out whether to try out a new platform. He has to think about how it will help the families his firm works with, he said, noting: “Does it really work? Is it really effective?”

But he added: “I love what I hear” from Crager.

Pardo’s firm is a client of Envestnet’s but he said it doesn’t use MoneyGuide for financial planning, preferring to stick with an open architecture for that.

“I don’t really trust a system” to do that for an advisor, he added.

Pictured: Envestnet CEO Bill Crager. (Photo: Jeff Berman)