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Dynasty Partners With Pontera on Retirement Outcomes: Tech Roundup

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What You Need to Know

  • A pact between Dynasty Financial Partners and fintech Pontera will enable RIAs in Dynasty’s network to fully manage 401(k) and other held away accounts for clients.
  • Orion Advisor Solutions teamed with Apex Advisor Solutions to provide a fully digital account opening solution for independent advisors and their clients.
  • Ezra Group introduced a new research metric called The Ezra Group WealthTech Integration Score to support better decision-making when evaluating new tech.

Dynasty Financial Partners has partnered with fintech firm Pontera (formerly FeeX) to enable RIAs in Dynasty’s network to fully manage 401(k), 403(b) and other held-away accounts for their clients in a secure and compliant way that leverages Pontera’s SOC 2 certified platform, the companies said in a joint announcement Wednesday.

Since 2010, when Dynasty was founded, assets in employer-sponsored retirement accounts have more than doubled from $4.9 trillion to over $11 trillion as of Dec. 31, 2021, the firms said.

In addition to market appreciation, that growth can be chalked up to declines in rollovers because of retiree-friendly plan policies and better in-plan investment options, they noted.

Pointing to the findings of a recent Cerulli report, Dynasty and Pontera said that, of the $3.3 trillion eligible for a distribution last year, 73% remained in-plan. Bipartisan support of accommodative legislation in the Secure Act 2.0 and the re-enactment of the DOL Fiduciary rule suggest the trend of employer-sponsored plan growth will only continue, according to Dynasty and Pontera.

Therefore, the need for investment advice in these accounts has grown, they said, noting a recent J.P. Morgan survey found 62% of plan participants wished they could completely hand over retirement planning to an expert.

Traditionally, however, financial advisors have struggled to help clients with these accounts because they are typically held off wealth management advisory platforms, Dynasty and Pontera said.

Pontera’s technology “addresses this gap by allowing advisors to trade held away accounts for their clients,” the companies said, explaining: “Pontera’s data integrations into portfolio accounting systems means that wealth managers can also run performance reporting, portfolio analytics, and trade surveillance, enabling advisors to provide clients with the same level of service on held away accounts as custodied accounts.”

The advantage for advisors is they can increase their revenue while providing a comprehensive financial picture via the addition of retirement plan accounts, the companies added.

Dynasty will handle the operational elements of Pontera’s services for advisory firms within its network, including billing and performance reporting integration, “allowing them to focus on delivering best-in-class client services,” the companies said.

Orion and Apex Team Up on Account-Opening Tool

Orion Advisor Solutions teamed with Apex Fintech Solutions subsidiary Apex Advisor Solutions to provide a fully digital account opening solution for independent advisors and their clients, the firms said Tuesday.

Using Apex’s digital application programming interface suite, Orion’s new Automated Account Solution “helps to transform account opening and ongoing client relationship management so advisors have the speed, efficiency, and flexibility they need for accelerating new business growth,” the companies said in a joint announcement.

“The traditional, paper-based onboarding process is time-consuming and cumbersome, making it challenging for independent advisors to compete with larger institutions that can handle small accounts at scale,” Eric Clarke, founder and CEO of Orion Advisor Solutions, pointed out in the announcement.

“With our Apex integration and Automated Account workflow, advisors are now equipped with the resources to better service investors with smaller accounts and simple financial planning needs,” he said.

Integrated with Apex’s digital-first custody platform, Orion’s Automated Account Solution provides advisors and their clients with access to a simple but “sophisticated, financial planning tool and the ability to efficiently open and fund accounts with Apex directly from Orion’s white-label client portal,” the companies said.

Advisors just have to send a link to the client or prospective client and, in less than five minutes, they’re guided through a fully digital onboarding and financial planning workflow, the firms noted.

A self-guided client or prospect can complete the onboarding steps on their own, or the advisor can handle the initial data entry and pass along the financial plan to their client for final sign-off, the firms explained.

The Orion-Apex integration also “streamlines document management, making it easier for advisors and their clients to share, sign, and store important paperwork,” they added.

WealthTech Integration Score Debuts

Ezra Group introduced a new research metric on Tuesday called The Ezra Group WealthTech Integration Score.

The score was “developed to support better decision-making when evaluating new technology,” according to the boutique strategy consulting and research firm that provides technology and strategy advice to wealth management firms.

“The goal of creating this score is to simplify the process of building a reliable and compatible technology stack and to bring more transparency to an area that is not well understood,” according to Craig Iskowitz, Ezra Group CEO and founder.

“As leading industry consultants, our team has had hands-on experience integrating most of the applications on the Kitces AdvisorTech Map,” he noted. “Our Integration Score distills a segment of our experience down into an easy-to-understand number designed to help compare applications,” he added.

Ezra Group developed a list of key applications it said were designed to “encourage highly rated platforms to offer the integrations that enterprise financial services firms, independent financial planners, and professional investment advisors need the most.”

The list, which includes financial planning, risk tolerance, proposal generation, portfolio management and rebalancing, is the result of “comprehensive research on the most commonly used applications to complete a robust technology stack,” the firm said.

“During the scoring process, our research team looked for deep integrations with the set of key applications,” according to Iskowitz. “By emphasizing this core set of applications, it ensures that higher-scoring products will contain more integrations to the most popular software used by advisors today,” he said.

Ezra Group developed a scoring methodology to “ensure that the end results were objective and comparable across categories,” it noted. The scoring methodology relies on three criteria: breadth, depth and technical capabilities.

“Breadth, which makes up 15% of the score, takes into account how many integrations a vendor has built,” the company noted. “Depth, which makes up 60% of the score, starts with rating each integration on a five-point scale which ensures that vendors that have built deep integrations are scored higher than those that did not. It also rates products higher that have more connections to the key applications list.”

And technical capabilities, which makes up 25% of the final integration score, “looks at the critical features for network administrators and developers tasked with making everything work together,” the company said, adding: “Security, API availability, and developer support are all considered.”

Although the WealthTech Integration Score is being released to the financial services sector now, it remains a “work in progress; the originators are committed to constant and never-ending improvement,” Ezra Group added.

BondNav Adds New Issue Asset Classes

Fintech firm InspereX announced Tuesday that its BondNav fixed income data aggregation technology is adding new issue offerings for brokered certificates of deposit, select rate-linked notes and InterNotes corporate debt designed for individual investors.

“This expands the universe of diverse fixed income securities that financial advisors can access, evaluate, and trade on BondNav,” the company said.

BondNav’s cloud tech aggregates real-time market data from multiple alternative trading system and electronic communication network platforms, RIAs, broker-dealers, institutions and banks, “providing advisors with market insights to inform better decisions,” InspereX said.

“By leveraging BondNav’s intuitive data tools, advisors can customize their market view to reduce evaluation complexities and provide context around bond pricing, rapidly accelerating their productivity,” it added.

Demand for CDs has been on the rise nationally since April, coinciding with the rising interest rate environment, the company said.

“Now, advisors using BondNav will have an easy way to source FDIC-insured CDs from a number of different banks,” it pointed out. “With new issue rate-linked notes, advisors will have access to investment-grade financial sector issuers, offering a variety of maturities, yields and coupon structures that can be tailored to client portfolio needs.”

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