Ep. 143: May News: Twenty Terrific Takeaways from the T3 Conference

Hey, come on in. Welcome. Sit back and relax. You’re listening to our May News for the WealthToday podcast. I’m your host Craig Iskowitz, founder of Ezra Group consulting. And our May News this month is all about the T3 conference, held May 2-4 outside of Dallas, Texas, a city that I love to visit, even though I hate their football team, but I love the people there and especially the barbecue.

And I was happy to go to T3 and get some barbecue. In fact, right after I landed, I threw my luggage into an Uber and went right to the barbecue, my favorite barbecue place and had a feast before the conference. Even before I got there, the T3 conference wasn’t held the past two years, great that we’re back. I think they broke all attendance records with almost a thousand attendees over the four days between the advisor and enterprise events.

Companies Mentioned

Topics Covered

  1. AdvisorEngine
  2. Orion Advisor
  3. Envestnet MoneyGuide
  4. Morningstar
  5. YieldX
  6. CAIS
  7. Intergen Data
  8. SoftLab360
  9. Fidelity Labs
  10. CatchLight
  11. Salesforce
  12. Charles Schwab
  13. Nest Wealth
  14. Econiq
  15. CRM Trends
  16. SmartX
  17. FPAlpha
  18. Snappy Kraken
  19. Addepar

Episode Transcript

On the last one I attended was T3 advisor in February of 2020 back in San Diego. And for those of you who were there, you saw me running the podcast booth. I spent pretty much all of my time there interviewing people for podcasts this year. I did not do the podcast booth. I was just being able to move around and, and see things and talk to people and do a lot of tweeting. But there were three other podcasts recording on site. started a trend and you should check them out. You can get ’em all online on iTunes, or you can find one the T3 website. And here’s some of the people I interviewed lots of good stuff from what I could overhear. this particular podcast episode, I am titling my top 20 takeaways from the T3 2022 conference. I’m going to go in order through a bunch of these items that I pulled out. I’ve pulled out some articles of other people’s summaries. And when I hit a couple of items from my friends who have written some interesting stuff from their summaries and what, what they like. you’re going to get a wide variety of data of feedback from the conference. Like almost like you were there in case you missed it.

1. AdvisorEngine

Okay. Starting things off. I wrote an article already on my blog, which you can check out wealthtechtoday.com and it was called four questions. Advisors should ask about digital client experience. It was a summary of, well, the keynote session from Rich Cancro CEO and founder of AdvisorEngine. And you can read that article and hear all about it. I’m not going to re I’m not going to restate it, but just pulling out two pieces of data from a consumer study that Franklin Templeton and advisor engine ran recently. the first piece of data is only 30 to 40% of RIAs are working on their own digital experience technology experience, even though most of them believe it’s core to their competitive advantage. kind of upside down where most RIAs say, Hey, we need a digital experience, but only 30 to 40% even have one or even working on one, another piece of data that Michael Kitces has called out in a tweet from their consumer study found 45% of consumers have eliminated an advisor from consideration based solely on their digital presidents or lack thereof before ever reaching out.

And this includes consumers who are referred by their friends and family. They still would eliminate an advisor purely based on their digital presence that says a lot, and it should show that advisors need to focus on their digital presence and their marketing, their website and social media because it’s an important part of how consumers choose them.

2. Envestnet MoneyGuide

Number two in my top 10 takeaways is Envestnet and MoneyGuide. My friend Kevin Hughes was on stage providing a lot of information, a lot of updates from in Envestnet MoneyGuide, like a lot of the stuff they’re doing, especially how they’re positioning Tamarac, MoneyGuide their internal CRM and their trading and planning tools. They’ve got a great graphic. You can check out my Twitter feed. You can check out I did a moment, a Twitter moment.

You can find if you go to my Twitter page and it’s called T3 conference #T32022, and you can see all of my tweets and you can see some of the screenshots I posted from the Envestnet MoneyGuide presentation, as well as every other presentation that I saw. one, one of the things I liked about Kevin Hughes’s presentation is that they are unifying the user experiences and UI across their applications. This has been a long time coming. We’ve been waiting for this for a while ever since invest, even bought Tamarac and MoneyGuide and a bunch of the things that they were to unify the look and feel at least the front end. They’re doing the back end from what I understand. that’ll be great seeing all that together, but the front end being unified, I think will help their advisor and client experiences.

They talked about their client portal, which is one of the most popular portals of Tamarac portal. One of the most popular client portals in the industry, and as not unexpected, they saw a huge increase in client portal activity during the pandemic, just one number or one numbers, 40% increase in new clients, granted portal access and 120% increase in new aggregated accounts. Michael Kitces chimed in about clients engaging portals when it matters for them, when everything is going fine, they don’t log in. talking about things, weren’t fine during the pandemic. they were logging into the portals. It remains to be seen if that, how much that percentage increase in usage sticks after the pandemic is over. Another thing Kevin he’s talked about was MoneyGuide, expanding their product offerings, their taking the, the core MoneyGuide, financial planning, adding in my blocks, which is their digital planning, engagement tools, direct to consumer engagement tools that looks like a Netflix screen.

If you ever seen it, when you’re scrolling through, it looks like you’re scrolling through Netflix and picking different little widgets that you can then learn about long-term care or other financial planning concepts. Very cool. I think, and they’re integrating that into their platform and as well as wealth, what they’re calling wealth studios, which was the platform they bought from Edmond Walters, which was the higher end estate planning, cashflow planning tool that they’re plugging in for ultra-high net worth and estate planning. that gives them the full end to end platform they can compete again more or effectively against now the plan and emo. lots of discussion from Kevin about how blocks is filling in their planning tools for younger clients, things like annuities. I’m sorry, first. what MoneyGuide has strong annuity planning that they’re integrating with the Envestnet insurance exchange.

from one system you can do a plan, see a gap in the client’s income in retirement, recommend annuity, and then buy the annuity from the same screen will be great when it comes out. If it works the way they’ve shown could be a game changer. The final thing they’re doing is a developer portal coming in a few weeks from MoneyGuide we’re into integrations APIs here at Ezra Group. We’re working on a lot of great tools that are going to be coming out going to tease that. look for that announcement next month from Ezra Group talking about how we’re helping RIA’s, broker dealers, other wealth management firms evaluate the ability of platforms to integrate with each other. And MoneyGuide was announcing their developer portal, which we’re very happy about that unifies all their API infrastructure across all investment products.

3. Orion Advisor

Another thing that I’ve been seeing in our industry is a trend toward financial wellness. moving away from pure investment management approach, that most of our platforms, broker dealer platforms, RIA platforms have taken towards more of a holistic outlook and facilitating advisors being able to do that with the tools and the data that they need. Two of the firms that are doing that at the conference were, Envestnet what they’re calling their intelligent financial life ecosystem and Orion Advisor where their terminology is protect live dream and Orion had on stage the CEO, Eric Clark, and Dr. Daniel Crosby, who came along with the Brinker capital acquisition. And he had some interesting things to say. But one funny thing that Joel Bruckenstein the founder and producer of the T3 conference mentioned on stage where he said, because of Eric Clark and Orion Advisors acquisitions, he said, we would’ve had another six booths at T3, but Eric Clark keeps buying all our vendors, which is true.

They’ve been doing a lot of acquisitions, FTJ fund choice, Advizr, Brinker Capital, Hidden Levers. And now Redtail Technology, which is the most recent acquisition. they would’ve all had separate booths, but now they’re all the Orion booth, but that’s the way it goes. That’s, we’ve been seeing this, this consolidation for many years across the industry and it’s not going to stop. some of the, the interesting things that Dr. Daniel Crosby said on stage, there’s never been a harder time to be an investor due to technology platforms, which I think he was pointing a finger at RobinHood, these technology platforms that take advantage of the worst tendencies of human behavior. I can’t agree more these algorithms are like TikTok algorithms or Instagram algorithms that addict you to the day trading which of what Robinhood does not the best way for long term investing at all.

Doesn’t help. And we’ve seen a lot of problems with a lot of people losing a lot of money and what they thought would be an easy way to make money. But now that the market’s downturn, you’re seeing that that is not the case. And then I’ve known this for, we’ve all known this for many years. I remember decades ago, I worked for one of the largest providers of stock market data and stock market platforms and trading platforms back in the nineties. And we would supply a number of day trading outlets that would just set up technology. And this was back before you could do this online and, and for very cheaply, you had to go to an office like a WeWork, but a WeWork for day trading. And you had to pay a couple hundred bucks a day to get access to all the technology trading market data research news that you would need.

And the it’s like selling picks and shovels to people looking for gold rush. It was, it was the picks and shovel providers that were making all the money the day traders were not. you’ve seen the same thing now, just on the apps, some other interesting behavioral finance, behavioral economics concepts that Daniel Crosby was sharing. When you show people a picture of their children before they make decisions to how much they save, they wound electing to save twice as much. it’s just sort of a mental image. It’s not it’s not the rocket science just showing them and, and, and reminding them of their family remind them of their future obligations makes them safe twice as much. that was interesting. Another I thought was a fascinating behavioral science idea was if advisors provide named portfolios, meaning if you call a portfolio, this is your retirement bucket, or this is your college bucket, or this is your trip around the world bucket investors, stability increases.

the likelihood that they bail out on their savings plan or their investing plan for that goal is reduced tremendously. If you just name the portfolio and show the client that it’s got a name that’s what Crosby’s research has found. And finally 91% of clients based on their surveys, that’s a lot 91% of clients want an advisor who gets them. I’m putting that in quotes, air quotes that gets them 71% want someone who shares their values. And 70% of clients want an advisor who they can meet with socially. these are this is data that advisors should take to heart and think about when they are doing their marketing, when they’re doing their pitching, when they’re doing webinars online, how they’re reaching out to clients, all, all good data. I would advise you to go to OrionAdvisor.com. They’ve got some more information from Daniel Cross being some of his webinars that you can view online.

4. Morningstar

Next up is Morningstar who had a large presence at this year’s conference. And they always have a large presence at the T3 conference, which is great to see the application and system they were most interested in talking about was their risk ecosystem, which they recently announced part of it is due to their acquisition of longtime risk tolerance, risk assessment tool, Finametrica, which they are integrating into with a number of other tools to build their risk ecosystem. Their scoring of risk is based on risk plus diversification of the portfolio. They’re looking to measure both risk tolerance and risk perception. So they’re trying to take a different tech on the old risk assessment, risk profiling process asking questions like, do we have a systematized process for determining a client’s risk? How much thought have you put into the client profiling process and what assumptions are you making that you properly profiled your clients and how well do advisors really know their clients?

There’s some very some interesting quotes that came off of their presentations. They had, I believe they had two panel discussions during the conference. So some of the tweets that I posted that I found some of the the interesting stuff was on average, 20% of new clients leave their advisors within the first year due to poor communications and poor understanding of goals and risk. So according to Morningstar, they want to drive this number down this 20% of new clients leave in their advisors using this integrated set of risk profile tools that are part of the new risk ecosystem platform. Excuse me. Another thing which came off the the presentations was behaviors that correlate most to building client trust include number one, advisors, acting in their client’s best interest. Number two that the, the advisors are acting in a knowledgeable fashion and three that advisors understand their client’s financial goals.

And that came from Karla Paxton from Morningstar. Karla also said in her presentation well, I thought this was, was pretty profound without enrichment data is just a commodity. I tweeted that one out. That was a good one. Risk assessment software should help financial advisors answer the question. Does my advice provide better client outcomes that came from Thomas Aviles, who was also getting presentations for Morningstar and one interesting part of the Morningstar portfolio risk tool. The new one that’s part of their risk ecosystem is it doesn’t cap the risk score at a hundred. So that saw a demo where they were trying to show how high the score could go.

So they added a meme stock, they added Game Stop to a what would be a normal or a very conservative portfolio. And the risk score jumped from an 80 to a 285. So they’re taking a very different approach to the risk score. I think a a hundred is a, is a mid level risk portfolio. So 285 would be very high. So take a look at Morningstar’s products and you can check out their Risk Ecosystem morningstar.com.

5. YieldX

Number five, in my top 10 takeaways from the T3 conference is YieldX, which is on my top 10 list for most innovative vendors at the T3 conference this year. way back in 2007, I was doing some consulting work for a software company that had some cool products for trading and valuing, fixed income securities and fixed income portfolios. And I learned firsthand how difficult it is to manage fixed income portfolios and liquidity sources and trading. There’s much work. There’s much manual effort that still goes into it. That went into it back then and YieldX has built. What I think is the holy grail of fixed income modeling, trading optimization for wealth management. If a bunch of tools, you can check them out yieldx.app, it’s not.com, it’s YieldX.app. One of the tools they have in their software suite is a portfolio optimizer.

And what this can do is run through tens of thousands of portfolios in a batch overnight, and then feed the advisors advice on how to improve. And this is only for fixed income, fixed income portfolios, how to deliver the same portfolio, whether the same amount of risk and the same quality of the portfolio yet higher return. I think that’s a, it could be a game changer in the fixed income world for a lot of advisors and can help add value for their clients, because they’re getting the exact same portfolio with a slightly higher return YieldX has a tool that can do something that we’ve been looking for 20 years. in the managed account world, one of the things that’s very, very difficult to do, or it’s impossible is to build a model of bonds. You just can’t do it.

You can model stocks, you can’t model bonds. The reason is there’s just too many bonds, there’s thousands and thousands of bonds. any one company could have 10 or 20 or 30 or more bonds out at one time. Which one do you pick? And why? you can’t just say, give me a bond of Microsoft, or gimme a bond of apple. Which one do you want, which duration, which maturity, which yield, but the there’s something called characteristic based, fixed income models, which a number of vendors have tried to build, but haven’t quite gotten it right. And what that does is you say, I want a model that has a maturity of X duration of Y a yield of Z and a quality level of a whatever, the, whatever that particular quality is now go find me bonds that meet those requirements that have enough liquidity to, to buy them without and give them at a good price.

No, one’s able to do that, except until now with YieldX now can do that. You can put that those parameters in they’ll go out and find the bonds and execute them, then purchase them for your portfolio and update it dynamically. as things change, if something changes with the bonds or the underlying credit rating of the issuer, it will drop them out, bring in new ones for you. I think that’s could be another game changer in the managers account world. they have something that’s more of a direct indexing for bonds, where you can build a portfolio of bonds that match a specific index but filter out certain companies that maybe you don’t want. maybe you don’t want any military companies or any companies to provide alcohol or, or whatever you particularly don’t care for in your portfolio.

And they’ll build a portfolio with the same risk, the same return, the same quality minus those particular issuers. That’s sort of a direct indexing process for bonds. Another great thing about YieldX is they’re completely API enabled. all their services are available through their public API. I believe they have over 300 APIs available on their site and they, what we call, they eat their own dog food, meaning they build their system, their software one way and then decided, well, we need some APIs for our partners and clients to use built out a separate system of APIs that don’t interact as the same way they work internally. They built their system using their own APIs. they work they’ve been tested and you’re going to get exactly what you expect. please check out YIELDX.app.

Invest in Others Foundation

I’d like to take a break from this episode to talk about our sponsor, the invest in others foundation, the invest in others, a foundation is running the invest in others awards, which is a program that recognizes the charitable work of financial advisors in communities across the country. And around the world awards are presented at their signature event. The annual invest in others awards gala, over 600 advisors and financial services executives attend this premier event to celebrate those individuals that actively give back to their communities. I’ve gone to, I think the last three award galas they had to canceled for COVID. I think they canceled it again last year 2021. It was normally in September, October timeframe, but hopefully they’ll have it again this year. there are five categories of awards that recognizes recognize the distinct ways that advisors have made a difference through their work with a nonprofit.

the nominations deadline is April 1st. That’s less than a month, just go to invest in others.org. And you can click on the nominate click here to nominate link and nominate an advisor. If they win in one of the five categories, which are catalyst award community service award volunteer of the year award, lifetime achievement award and emerging impact award, they can win. Let’s say finalists in all categories receive $25,000 for their charity, the winners in the catalyst community service next gen and volunteer of the year categories receive $50,000. The advisor who receives the lifetime achievement award receives $75,000. That’s a lot of money for a charity can help I’ve been lucky enough to be on the, the nominated committee. No, the awards committee, the judging committee for a bunch of these different awards. It’s hard. These advisors do some great work, both local communities in the us in south America and central America in Africa, in Asia, across the world and right here at home, all kinds of great stories, great charities that help people of all ages, shapes and sizes. You should nominate someone and your company will probably match your donation, which provides twice the benefit. Please go to investinothers.org. Thanks.

6. CAIS

Next up is number six in the top 10 is CAIS. And this is an alternative investments platform. And we’re seeing a lot of growth in these areas. You, the two of the biggest providers in the RIA wealth management space of alternative investments is CAIS. And I capital this this has been driven by years of a low interest rate environment. And now with the stock market volatility and stock market declines, more advisors who are serving high net worth and ultra-high worth high net worth investors are looking at alternative investments, but you need a platform that can support it. That’s easy to use that helps advisors pick and choose the right alternative investments for their clients.

Ryan Lord, who’s a head of business development for case had a, a good comment talking about how most RIA platforms were not designed to support privately traded securities. They’re designed to support publicly trade securities, or maybe a small percentage of a portfolio in private, whereas some high-net-worth clients that they deal with might have 60% or 70% of the portfolios in private securities, which is almost impossible for your normal RAA platforms to support hence case. And I capital coming in to support that. platforms like case are similar to what early temps used to do for separately managed accounts. a long time ago, 20 years ago, when Jim Seuffert and Len Reinhardt started Lockwood Advisors, it’s very difficult to buy separately managed accounts SMAs. You had to go to each money manager separately sign a contract with them, open up accounts with each one separately.

If you wanted a fixed income manager, whether you wanted a large cap manager, midcap manager, small cap manager, international manager, you needed four separate contracts. And you had to manage all the money separately, each account, each client account separately. Whereas what TAMPs could do would be to aggregate that money to lower the minimums since a manager didn’t have to manage all the money himself or handle all the detail of all the clients themselves, the T was, was supporting it. They could offer lower minimums. What CAIS do through the TAMP is doing something similar with alternative investments. There could be alt products with minimums of five or 10 million, and which is difficult for many clients to reach, but case aggregates the data makes it easier for the alternative managers to support way more clients than they normally could, which means they can drive down the minimum investments, which benefits advisors and their clients cases.

CAIS is a data provider and sends data to reporting tools like Addepar, but it’s still a challenge to decide on the best sources which came from one of their RIA clients who specializes in private wealth, who was on stage talking about their experience using the case platform. As I mentioned CAIS and iCapital are two of the biggest providers in the RIA space. And they’ve been working hard to build out more straight through processing with custodians. Like Pershing, I believe, I think a year or two ago, there was an announcement that Pershing was working in both case I capital to streamline account opening. Whereas in the past you had to open up accounts twice. You had to open up an account at the custodian Pershing and you had to open up a separate account at the alternative provider. Whereas now you open it up once and the data just flows between them. that’s making it much easier to open manage these alternative accounts. please check them out. CAIS.

7. Intergen Data

And now let’s talk about two more companies that were at the T3 conference. One of them is a veteran of the conference and one of them is a rookie. the veteran is Intergen Data, which predicts life events. They have over a hundred life events. They predict both positive and negative events, positive events like marriage, children, and negative events like diseases and other things, which you don’t want to hear about. But you need to know they do this using AI and machine learning, printing terabytes of government demographic data on all these issues, all these diseases and all these positive life events. And then if you’re whatever company you are, if you’re an insurance company or you’re doing financial planning, you provide the data to Intergen Data on your particular client. And they can come back and tell you based on the let’s see, they need the gender age, race, and zip code of the client.

Once they have that information they can provide based on all the demographic data they’ve crunched, they can provide these average percentage probabilities of these things happening. they could say, well, based on your demographics, you, this particular client might have a 35% chance of suffering a stroke by the time they’re 65, just based on those four anonymous pieces of data they were given. This is even more interesting when you’re looking at larger populations. For example, an insurance company might be ensuring all the employees of a large company or a company has a thousand or 10,000 employees. They often go to one insurance company, Hey, give us a deal on life insurance for all of our employees. Well looking across that population they could say, well, this population has, is at risk for stroke or diabetes or heart attacks just based on their age, race and zip codes.

That’s helpful for insurance companies helpful for financial planning who only focus on income and expenses. It’s, there’s no way to say, well, here’s other diseases or other negative events that you may be at risk for. You should plan for that. You need more insurance, you need more savings and such. that’s Intergen data. You can check them out at intergendata.com.

8. SoftLab360

Another company is the rookie Softlab360. They are the technology behind Intergen Data. They built the AI and machine learning and the predictive analytics that power Intergen Data’s software via their predictive analytics as a service. You can sign up for them and you can just provide the business rules, the business questions that you want answered, and then provide the data and they will do all the work. They’ll do all the data cleansing, data analysis, data analytics, they have a whole data team and a programmatic team that can build out all the things you need on the back end. You don’t have to worry, you just answer the questions and that can then deliver on what you need for your company. please check them out at softlab360.com.

9. Fidelity Labs

Moving on to number nine of our top 10 is Fidelity Labs. This is a subsidiary for department investments that incubates startups, they fund them. They provide them information, data services, support to help grow different technologies. Now they’ve got a wealth management group some wealth companies in the wealth management space and Trisha Haskins is driving force behind this technology incubator. And she was on stage talking about empowering the art of the possible. And she talked about two companies. One was called safer, which is spelled SAIFR, which uncovers potential risks in client communications. it uses natural language processing and monitors, all of your client communications better for enterprise firms that have lots of advisors sending out lots of client communications and looks for risks, looks for exposure to regulatory issues or other compliance problems. that’s interesting technology.

10. CatchLight

The other one I want to talk about in a little more depth is called CatchLight. I saw a demo of this product and the CatchLight people. I had Wilbur Swan, who’s a CEO on my podcast, you can check it out go look to list podcast episodes, and you’ll find it catch light is the name of the company. Very cool product. It is about analyzing and optimizing the advisors prospect pipeline. how is it normally work advisor fills up their pipeline through various error through various means whatever they happen to do, then they’ve got to prioritize. they have a hundred prospective clients in the pipeline, who do they call first and why that takes a lot of effort, a lot of research and some evaluation, some sort of gut feeling of who you want to call first and what order and catch light takes all the guesswork out of that using you guess at AI machine learning.

And it ranks the prospects in order of the most likely to convert. Now, they’re still in the early stages. I think they’ve got they’ve. They have run like I think 10,000 of clients through the system. they’ve got a decent amount of data to start with, but the more that you use the product, the smarter it gets. it’s a learning platform. as an advisor uses the platform more, it learns which types of clients are most likely to convert based on that advisor’s pitch or that advisors value proposition and starts to organize the prospects in different orders. And this saves a lot of time. It uses of course, publicly available data, but in putting through a machine learning algorithm and a knowledge tree to or knowledge graph rather to better understand how to categorize these perspective clients based on complexity of their financial.

they plan to offer their product as a SaaS, a software as a service that can plug into, for example, your CRM platform, which makes more sense. Since you’ve been, you be in the CRM looking at your prospect anyway, and they’re going to have something called the CatchLight score that will let you can rank them that way to know which clients to call first. And hopefully in the future will give you some more feedback as to why that score came out that way. And some of the things you might want to suggest, some products you might want to suggest to those clients, or some ways to speak to those clients that would help you to convert. please check out, catchlight.ai.

11. Salesforce

I’m going to start speeding things up here because we’re running a little long and I’ve got many more notes to go over. Next up is Salesforce and I’m just going to pull out two tweets that I posted from their demo. And one of them is I never liked the Salesforce. UI/UX very much. It’s always been kind of clunky. However, with their marketing cloud tool, customized for financial advisors, I thought was much better and looks very powerful as they’ve integrated it into the overall advisor experience. you should check out the marketing cloud. I like their different panels, how it shows activity. They’ve got some next best actions recommended, and they don’t say exactly how they came up with these how much can I borrow home buyers, checklist dos and don’ts. And don’ts understanding interest rates are some of the things that they’re recommending on this particular demo.

They’ve got a list of life events when you’re going to buy a new car you, when someone’s going to graduate from college. it’s an interesting dashboard in their marketing cloud for the advisor experience. And then Salesforce acquired the data visualization company called Tableau, and they’ve integrated it into their wealth management platform, which they’re calling wealth insights. And it’s got some, the interesting dashboard showing some BI metrics about your firm, some peer review information or across your, across your, your practice numbers of clients. And in terms of, the things that you can, you can use to ma to manage your business better using the Tableau evaluation at Tableau visualization of the data. opportunities, client health, things like that. it looks, it looks pretty cool. go check out Salesforce.

12. Charles Schwab

In the beginning of this podcast, I said, I was going to pull out some of read some articles and pull out some of the, the highlights that other people have no wrote about from the T3 conference. And the first one is from Nathan Stevenson, CEO of Forward Lane. He was talking about what was Nisha Hathi from Charles Schwab was on stage talking about digital digitalization is happening fast. She was talking about what’s going on with advisors from a macro perspective. And she called it digital acceleration. And we are seeing things happening faster and faster. I think a quote I’ve used many times is the change. Digital change will never be as slow as it is today. It’s always going to be speeding up at a faster pace. Schwab does an annual client survey of customers. They found some, some, some statistics I’m going to share here.

71% of clients feel that technology helps them achieve their financial goals. 65% of clients say that technology provides them peace of mind. That’s an important one. if you’re an advisor, you need to realize your technology can provide them peace of mind or not. you need to consider that when you’re selecting technology, that is it it’s client facing 16% of Schwab retail clients say they’re investing in digital assets. In other words, cryptocurrency today, that’s not as many as I’ve seen across the entire spectrum, but Schwab being the largest RIA custodian, 16% is a large number. That’s something they keep in mind for advisors who don’t offer cryptocurrency, or don’t even understand it, or don’t know how to manage it as a held way asset something you should look into might want to check out Rick Edelman’s digital asset council. Finally, the last statistic I have here is 63% of Schwab investors, believe their portfolios will be entirely managed by software in just 10 years and years.

Speaking to some RIAs at another conference who love Schwab’s technology, just continuing on Schwab especially their new self-directed onboarding software. That’s part of their institutional intelligent portfolios. Some larger RIAs are use or leveraging swaps swabs tech as part of a solution for small accounts. Just want to throw that out there. I left made that as a note to myself to share that with you. take a look at Schwab’s institutional intelligent portfolios. Another thing that Nathan Stevenson had in his article on the T3 conference was data as the differentiator. I already mentioned Trisha Haskins providing some powerful and passionate presentations on digital empowerment. One of the stats you mentioned was from Gartner that 70% of advisors have never onboarded an account digitally. I want to double check that it seems kind of high, but if it’s true, it’s kind of shocking that many advisors have never even looked at a digital onboarding tool.

13. Nest Wealth

Another part of data being the differentiator came from Randy Cass, the CEO of Nest Wealth which is the one of the largest, if not the largest provider of new account opening technology in Canada. And they’re expanding their business in the us and expanding their footprint. He had some great points about new account opening, and he said, some here are the biggest problems in financial services onboarding from Randy Cass, CEO of Nest Wealth. Number one, making digital look like analog. And this is the word for this is skew amorphism. If you remember a long time ago, back in the nineties or earlier, we had our computers that is on the screen, looked like your desk. there’s a picture of a roller desk, a picture of a phone, a picture of a filing cabinet. You clicked on the filing cabinet to open your files.

You clicked on the rolodesk to open your contacts. that’s skeumorphism, you’re making online processes, mirror offline objects. we’re still doing that in new account opening when it comes to a form like making a screen, look like the form, you’re showing a virtual form on the screen, rather than pulling the data out that you need and presenting that in different fashions don’t can, don’t get stuck in the analog world. Number two, from Randy Cass biggest problems in financial services, onboarding, losing sight of the data. The most important part of NAO is the data don’t miss an opportunity to operationalize and improve how your firm interacts with clients. Number three, don’t try and become the advisor’s desktop, just integrate and complement it instead, whether it’s, whether they’re using the CRM or financial planning or portfolio management, don’t try and replace it and force advisors to learn another interface. you can check out Randy cast and nest sorry, Randy, and, and nest wealth nest wealth.com.

14. Econiq

T3 Technology Conference

Another vendor that was at T3 for the first time was Econiq, a startup whose goal is to revolutionize how virtual meetings are planned, conducted and tracked with their visual communications platform. Their software is designed around the key workflows used by financial advisors to prepare, execute and follow up on client meetings. What I like about the Econiq platform is how they built it around Zoom-like virtual meeting technology to provide a more robust client experience.

Their U/X is head and shoulders above Zoom with the ability to make your talking heads appear on both sides of the screen with the middle displaying the Econiq meeting framework that is color coded to provide better organization.  The advisor can walk their client through the entire meeting, step by step, and the client can see everything unfold in front of them.  The application structure keeps the conversation flowing by leveraging color coded boxes that walk through a preset template chosen by the advisor for different types of meetings. Each meeting type has an array of topics, questions and possible answers that can be displayed on the screen and used to guide the meeting in order to gather as much information as possible.

The data gathered is automatically pushed to the CRM without any task switching required. Keeping the advisor inside a single applications is a key value add of the Econiq platform and should pay benefits to those advisors who can adopt their methodology.

15. CRM Trends

The next T3 recap. I’m going to pull something from is from Tim Merrill who works for a company called digital agent. And you can find this recap on LinkedIn, just look for Tim Merrill, M E R I L L at digital agent. Well, he was talking about CRM being a major topic at T3, which it always is, especially when firms like Salesforce and Redtail and AdvisorEngineCRM, (formerly Junxure) are all there talking about the new features and technologies coming out. And the advisor’s digital presence through their CRM, through their CRM continues to grow and we’ve seen CRM become more integrated, more, highly connected, more data being moved back and forth from different applications into the CRM. And some interesting data intersections that Tim was mentioning with metrics pulled from his company, Digital Agent around client per the perspective clients’ website.

And advisors, client prospective clients’ websites are being pulled in through this digital agent technology and email marketing can then inform the advisor and prep them for the in-person meeting inside the CRM. that’s, that’s pretty cool technology. you should take a look at that at a digital agent, if you’re interested in some of those tools.

16. SmartX

Next, we have an article from InvestmentNews written by my friend, Ryan Neal, 7 FinTech announcements from the conference you may have missed. he has a good list of announcements. I covered a lot of them on, in my Twitter feed. I’m just going to read them off from Ryan’s article one that he had here is from SmartX CEO, Evan Rapoport told us at T3, that his company had closed a $30 million round of funding from Morningstar investment management.

We are big fans of SmartX and everything they’re doing in the TAMP space. And Morningstar announced that they were replacing their legacy TAMP backend technology with SmartX and building up a direct indexing product, which should be coming out. I think in September, if I’m not mistaken, and Rapoport also said that “TAMP architecture is broken”. he’s, he’s big on his technology being better. you should probably check that out and see if he’s if it’s true or not. They’re introducing, they announced some roadmap items at SmartX they’re, introducing manager, traded sleeves, client directed trading support for cryptocurrency and hedge funds. And one tweet I post out I thought was kind of funny from what Evan said, talking about TAMP constantly 2016, how they handle model trading versus strategy trading. And he called it a “Franken-model” resulting in massive dispersion if TAMPs that don’t offer realtime trading like SmartX does. That’s something you should be concerned about when you are selecting a TAMP, according to Rapoport.

17. FPAlpha

Next up from Ryan Neil’s article of announcements is FPAlpha, which is planning. On the Kitces Advisor tech map, which I work with Michael on, we have them listed under advisor support. They announced a new product called the Estate Snapshot. their software will, will scan wills and trusts. the documents, wills documents, trusts documents, and then summarize and visualize the key elements of a client’s estate plan. I posted some screenshots that you can take a look at on my Twitter feed and my Twitter moment from T3 and these digital tools like the estate snapshot, I think is bad news for dedicated to estate planners, because they’re going to lose some business but good news for financial advisors who want more control and lower costs without sacrificing quality can for very basic estates and wills.

They’ll still require estate planner, but for the basic estate and will requirements, you can use Alpha’s new tool.  know Andrew Altfest, the CEO of FP Alpha, and I happen to ask him are where are you going with this? Are you planning on adding functionality such as data validation? reviewing the trust in the state documents and looking for discrepancies between the different documents, making sure they all match as an example, he said, he wasn’t planning on doing that. And the reason I asked him was that would put him into competition with Steve Chen’s company, vanilla, which is big on generating all these estate plans and the state documents invalidating all the data is correct. he said not doing it. no competition there at the moment. check out FPAlpha.com.

18. Snappy Kraken

Moving on to Snappy Kraken.  They made an announcement at the T3 conference of that. They were acquiring advisor websites. advisor websites is a big deal in terms of building out websites for advisors. They have got huge market share. They’ve built out websites for hundred and hundreds of RIAs. it’s a great compliment to what snap at Kraken does, which has these prepackaged campaigns, marketing campaigns in their technology that combines social media and blog posts and, and newsletters, email, all in one makes one easy to use campaign. It just pushes it right out, handles everything for you. offering the ability to build out advisor websites seems like the, the next piece of the puzzle for Snappy Kraken to control a large part of advisors marketing, and finally reaching the end of our, of my T3 review.

19. Addepar

And at the end of the announcements listed in Ryan Neal’s investment news article is Addepar.  One of the biggest firms the biggest tech vendors in our space, specifically around reporting and alternative investments. They launched a new integration center, although they didn’t make the announcement at T3, but they did announce it around the same time. And as we mentioned earlier when we talked about MoneyGuidePro’s integration center, we love these. We think there needs to be more transparency around integrations and APIs with vendors. There’s too many vendors that don’t provide enough details on their publicly facing websites about integrations. It’s too hard to find the data. the more that firms are announcing these and, and building these integration centers and, and such, we think it’s good for the industry. And just to throw out the AIP par acquired portfolio rebalancing tool advisor peak last October, which we saw as a big move for them into the mainstream RIAs pace and to become more of an RIA platform and less of a specific alternative data provider and performance reporting vendor. that’s big news for them being, check them out at addepar.com.

And that’s it. You reach the end of our may news Roundup with the T3 special, please go to our website group, llc.com, scroll to the bottom of the homepage and sign up for our newsletter. Once a month, you’ll receive an email chat full of wealth management, goodness news analysis data links. You will not be disappointed. Thanks again for listening. And I’ll talk to you all again, next time.

 

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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

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