envestnet advisor summit 2015

Envestnet Advisor Summit 2015 Quick Twitter Recap – Day 2

Another jammed-packed day of advisor information at the Envestnet Advisor Summit 2015 from a very sunny Chicago.  It was 80 degrees outside yesterday, but for the 1,600 advisors attendees here, it was cool and comfortable as they soaked up the tips, instructions and best practices for Envestnet’s ever-growing suite of products and services.

Take a few minutes to read my fast recap from day 1 of the summit.

State of the Platform – Bill Crager

Envestnet’s president, Bill Crager, gave a well-research presentation that I’m calling the “State of the Platform” address.

I love statistics!  I can’t help it really.  I think a presentation at a conference that doesn’t provide at least one useful stat is missing an opportunity to make an impression on the audience.

This wasn’t an actual statistic.  It was Jim Patrick’s idea to show the power of the connectivity of the Envestnet platform by multiplying all of the numbers I mentioned above.  It’s quite a large number, and while technically it’s meaningless, philosophically you could use it to illustrate how far Envestnet’s has come since it was founded back in 2000.

The four legs of the Envestnet platform.

I don’t care for the name very much, but Advisor Now, Envestnet’s white label digital advice offering, has the potential to become a standard for online wealth management.

I was quite interested in Envestnet’s purchase of financial planning software company Finance Logix.  Crager noted that his firm has embraced the concept of goals-based wealth management, so this move is a logical step in that direction.

Another in a long line of announcements from Envestnet this week.  ENVESTAT is a service that will leverage big data analysis from their platform to deliver weekly insights to advisors.  Interesting that they will distribute it via Crager’s twitter handle @ENVCrager rather than @ENVESTAT?

More statistics for the press to chomp on.  These results are impressive.  Although, I would want to see them compare to the median instead of the average, which can be skewed towards one end or the other.

This result could be selection bias.  Maybe more advisors with good performance choose Envestnet?  What was their records before they became clients?  That would be more indicative of the benefits of the platform.  Of course, this number is much easier to calculate.

Envestnet wasn’t the only ones using the summit to make announcements.

Michael Kitces produced an insightful analysis of Envestnet’s expanding empire of wealth management technology and services.


Upside Advisor Overview

This acquisition will be the engine behind Envestnet’s Advisor Now offering.  Technology that can provide completely automated advice via the Internet for advisory firms to brand as their own.

Naturally, an online advisory platform can’t send paper documents to a client.  Everything has to be virtual.

Currently, Upside only works with assets custodied at TD Ameritrade.  That should change by the end of the year, as they work furiously to plug the Upside front end and middleware into Envestnet’s back end.  Then they will support the entire list of custodians.

The folks at wealthmanagement.com wrote a good overview of the Advisor Now product.  Click the link in the tweet below to get to the article.


How to Prepare for a Client Meeting

One thing you will never hear an advisor say at the Envestnet conference: “Yeah, it’s nice, but there aren’t enough breakout sessions.”  If I was a better researcher, I would comb through the agenda and total up exactly how many breakout sessions there were.  I’m going to take a wild guess (which saves tons of time) and say there were 50-60 total.

This particular session demonstrated some of the almost 300 reports available for advisors to prepare for client meetings.

One thing that every advisor hates is having their performance compared to a benchmark.  Except when they’re beating it, but that’s not too often, at least for most advisors.  So, any tools that they can use to demonstrate their value-added to clients is most appreciated.

I couldn’t go to this session, but I heard it was good.


ENV2 Technology – PMC, Upside and Finance Logix

Was this the title of this session when the conference started?  If so, I completely missed it since they didn’t announce the FL acquisition until the middle of Day 1.

Just having an app is not enough, since everyone there’s one for almost everything.  Whatever service or product you offer, your digital experience has to stand out and delight your users, as Guy Kawasaki would say.

Stuart DePina on Finance Logix

The Group President Envestnet | Tamarac, Stuart DePina, was kind enough to sit down with me for an interview about their acquisition of Finance Logix.

I wanted to know why they chose Finance Logix over the the other financial planning vendors out there.

I asked DePina what weighted their build vs buy decision more towards buy?  He said that they wanted to have more influence on how their data is used in key advisor workflows to ensure a meaningful/actionable experience for advisor.  If they can do this, it would be another way to keep their platform “sticky” and make it more difficult for advisors to switch to a competitor.

Social Media

Envestnet had giant monitors spread out that displayed a massive Twitter feed from their hashtags #ENVSummit and #ENVEngage.  I thought it was a fantastic way to make the social media experience more tangible.


Envestnet Advisor Summit 2015 – Entertainment

Unfortunately, I was too tired last night to go to Buddy Guy’s and hear the great Mavis Staples sing the blues.  Oh well!  A blogger’s work is never done…

Don’t forget to read my fast recap from day 1 of the summit.

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The Wealth Tech Today blog is published by Craig Iskowitz, founder and CEO of Ezra Group, a boutique consulting firm that caters to banks, broker-dealers, RIA’s, asset managers and the leading vendors in the surrounding #fintech space. He can be reached at craig@ezragroupllc.com