Ep. 198: August WealthTech News

Welcome to our monthly news review for August. I’ve got a lot of stories to cover, including our AI roundup, news on alternative investments, Goldman Sachs making headlines for all the wrong reasons, plus our regular updates on the WealthTech integration scores, and the Kitces-Ezra Group advisor tech map, but before I start, let me squeeze in a quick promo.

If you are the executive at a broker dealer enterprise RIA, Family office or TAMP, your tech debt is holding you back. Your old software platforms are rusty and falling apart, and they need a complete overhaul or to be replaced entirely. Your disparate systems don’t communicate with each other, and as driving your ops staff and advisors greasy with manual processes and other errors. If this describes your company and your tech infrastructure, you should run not walk to our website, ezragroupllc.com and fill out the contact us form on the homepage. Our experienced team can evaluate your technology ecosystem, deliver targeted recommendations, optimize your existing systems and operations and help you implement new software to help take your firm to the next level. You can take advantage of our free consultation by going to ezragroupllc.com. 

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Topics Covered

  1. AI News
    1. Forwardlane launches generative AI product called EMERGE
    2. Nitrogen AI Marketing Content Tool Sees Immediate Adoption by Wealth Management Firms
  2. Alternative Investments
    1. Securitize acquires Onramp Invest, extending tokenized alts to RIAs
  3. Goldman Sachs
  4. Advisortech Map & Integration Scores

1. AI News

I want to start off the news with our AI segment. The news cycle seems flooded with press releases announcing products based on generative AI and don’t expect it to slow down anytime soon. Everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon and for good reason, generative AI is revolutionary it’s changing the way companies are working, it’s changing the way we see AI as a tool on a technology to both make us more efficient and replace a lot of work, manual work and other tasks that are being done by humans.

Here at Ezra Group, our enterprise wealth management clients been clamoring for insights into AI trends and we are delivering. They wonder how it can be leveraged, where we’ll be in 9-12 months considering how fast we’ve moved just in the past year or so. We expect to huge see huge leaps in capabilities within the next 9-12 months.

We’ve been running a series of webinars which you can check out on our website EzraGroup llc.com with AI experts, and we’ve also been running a series of meetings with executive teams and boards of directors from wealth management firms both large and small, and providing our insights, things like what’s the low hanging fruit? What can we jump onto this bandwagon now and take advantage of these AI tools? What are competitors doing?, and as I mentioned, where are we going to be?

We’re also getting questions about the differentiation between a different AI capabilities and functionality. So there’s a great report from Capgemini about how AI has established various use cases across different areas of wealth management (The Role of AI in Wealth Management), and this is more than just generative AI. Different tools have been used in wealth management for many years now. For example, in Portfolio Management, a lot of systems are using robotic process automation, which is often mistaken for AI, for example, portfolio rebalancing, but it’s very different.

Portfolio rebalancing or robotic process automation is not the same as AI. The critical difference is that robotic process automation or RPA is process driven whereas AI is data driven. AI is intended to simulate human intelligence, whereas RPA is solely for replicating human directed tasks. Something we see a lot in wealthtech firms and fintech firms, launching new products or features and say this is AI or where you’ll put “.ai” at the end of their name to get some boosts and PR. I’m always drilling down into finding out are they running AI, is there actual machine learning natural language processing something AI based under the covers, or is it just one gigantic rules engine which is more often than not what we’re finding.

Augmented advisory next best actions is a great area where AI is helping, a lot of that is machine learning and predictive analytics that’s driving those next best actions. Morgan Stanley announced one last year and we’re seeing that bear fruit in that it’s provided their advisors with advantages in terms of how they run their day, which clients they should be talking to first, which actions need to be taken first. We’re going to see more of that and it’s filtering down to firms that don’t have the resources of a Morgan Stanley.

In fact, if you’re looking for help around life events, in generating personalized proposals, and other types of analysis, you should contact a company called InterGen Data, InterGendata.com. They’ve got a huge headstart on machine learning around life events. They can predict probabilities of life events in an anonymized cohort, things like cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes. A lot of their use cases are in insurance, but they’re also expanding into financial planning. So check them out at InterGendata.com.

Some of the areas we’re seeing AI have impact tax planning, a lot of that is OCR, natural language processing of tax returns, and then feeding that into a rules engine that can provide advice on the tax implications from that 1040 firms like Holistiplan which is dominating the market, check out the Kitces advisortech survey, which just came out last week. Holistiplan is number one, FP Alpha is a distant number two, but you should check those guys out. A couple of areas, Client Onboarding, won’t get too much into that and cybersecurity. Goldman Sachs has a fund exclusively for investment in AI and we’ll be talking about Goldman a little bit later on, some of the headlines coming out about them.

Jon Stein co founder of Betterment has a great quote, “generative AI and language models will be integral to the future of our industry. Just as lawyers use AI to simplify case law or draft agreements, financial advisors will use AI to quickly assess client circumstances and articulate goals and plans more effectively. The potential of these tools is immense, and the capabilities are expanding quickly”. I certainly agree with everything Jon just said there.

Forward Lane launches generative AI product called EMERGE

Our first story in the AI segment, Forwardlane launches generative AI product called EMERGE. Machine Intelligence developer and provider of artificial intelligence services Forwardlane announced its new generative AI product called EMERGE. That technology is meant to assist advisors, wealth managers and insurance professionals with automated client data analysis and insights from all manner of data and documents in a transparent secure way. Then delivering those informs of insights and next best actions.

This firm’s founder, Nathan Stevenson, described EMERGE as an applied generative AI solution, which brings together some of the best features of the company’s visual insights generator which they’re abbreviating as VIGOR. VIGOR is zero code tool that allows non technical users to get insights from data using natural language. We like Forwardlane’s insights engine, Forwardlane’s is currently in the advice engagement category on the Kitces-Ezra Group advisortech map. There is no area for next best actions, I think we’re going to see a lot more vendors launching tools with standalone just next best actions, similar Forwardlane’s, we may have to create a category just for that.

Some of Forwardlane’s biggest clients include Sequoia Financial Group, and they’ve received investments totaling more than $8 million from SEI Ventures and 630 Global FinTech Fund. You can check out Forwardlane at ForwardLane.com.

Nitrogen AI Marketing Content Tool Sees Immediate Adoption by Wealth Management Firms

Next story, Nitrogen launches AI marketing content tool. Nitrogen, the company formerly known as Riskalyze, announced Nitrogen AI, an AI driven virtual marketing content assistant. That’s a mouthful, that’s embedded into their advisor marketing kit. The tool available to all their plan users was rolled out back in May, it’s already been implemented by more than 500 customers using it to generate emails, social media posts, blog content, as well as significantly augmenting advisors marketing efforts.

Marketing is one of the low hanging fruit where we’re talking to wealth management firms about where they can best use generated AI, large language models like ChatGPT, Bard and others. There shouldn’t be any PII or any interaction with client data. Generating these types of content is simple for a generative AI and things like Nitrogen’s AI tool can deliver in areas such as client communications, drafting emails, report writing, preparing agendas, content creation, as I mentioned, blog posts, newsletters, social media content, research summarizing complex financial concepts, and it’s also good for bi directional either summarizing long blocks of content or expanding on bullet points.

There was this funny cartoon I saw where it’s two people in offices one saying, Hey, I’m using AI to summarize this long block of text so I don’t have to write the email and then sends it out. Other side person says, I’m using AI to expand these bullet points so I don’t have to do that. It’s just AI talking to AI and both sides, which I expect to see a lot more of.

One question is how much of a marketing tool does Nitrogen want to be? Now I know, Aaron Klein, the CEO and co founder has said they’re not looking to compete in the marketing space. He wants to build even deeper integrations with their marketing partners, which include Snappy Kraken and FMG. However, I know Snappy Kraken launched a similar tool. These are these are tools that have a thin presentation layer on top of a an open AI or LLM. We’re seeing similar products launched, such as this one. It makes it easier for advisors to use these LLMs and it’s building it into the tools. It’s only the first level, I think this we’re going to see a lot of these first level capabilities coming out quickly, but I’m excited by the second level where it’s more than just a nice interface on top of ChatGPT where you’re saying hey Mr. Advisor, click you can get some titles for a blog post. Hey, Ms. Advisor, you can click here and get some images, but more in detail where the advisor can actually talk to the system and have it deliver more in depth information. You can get more information about the Nitrogen AI and their advisor marketing kit at NitrogenWealth.com.

2. Alternative Investments

Onto alternative investments for our next news segment. Let me start with a survey on on asset classes done by Advyzon, tech provider and TAMP in our space. They did a study of their 1200 clients, what their asset allocations were. It looked like alternatives took a huge jump in 2022 from about less than 1% average allocation to over 2.5%. So advisors are clearly looking to diversify, and also try to capture some additional alpha through alternative investments. Of course performance of alternative investments were mixed. Some lot of them were down in 2020, for example, limited partnerships commodities were definitely weighed down in 2020. But in 2021, 2022, the opposite huge gains for them so unfortunately, it’s very common that when you see huge gains, a lot of advisors are going to plow into those asset classes hoping to catch catch the wave, which may not be the case in 2023. That remains to be seen.

Now, alternative investments cover a wide range of illiquid asset classes, including hedge funds, private markets, real estate, private funds, like limited partnerships, structured products, also commodities cryptocurrency, and of course, liquid alts that are 40 Act funds. There’s a lot of stories about how alts are getting hot, and how a lot of alternative investment marketplaces are looking to cater to RIAs and deliver less friction. I always hear from these press releases. buzzwords like “democratizing access to alts”, everyone’s looking to do that. But at some point, the some of the reasons why you’d want to go to alts, mainly that they’re going to provide more alpha is going to evaporate if everyone’s getting into alts. Everyone can’t possibly make outsize returns.

You still get the diversification and the non correlation. But once you start to scrape lower and lower in the barrel. In terms of looking for these private funds, there can only be so many good investments out there. But these marketplaces keep coming out. Here at Ezra Group, we work with a lot of FinTech vendors doing go to market strategies, competitive analysis, product roadmapping. They come to us looking for advice, and we try to help them. We’re seeing a lot more of these platforms wanting to be end to end platforms providing access to products across the risk spectrum, connecting providers of these products with with RIAs.

There’s a lot of these marketplaces out there, two of the biggest ones are iCapital, founded in 2013. They have over 134 billion in assets now and over a thousand funds available. Another one of the largest ones is CAIS, which last year raised over $200 million at a $1 billion valuation in a funding round led by Franklin Templeton so a lot of interest in alternative investments and a lot of smaller up and coming players including Luma, SIMON Markets, which was acquired by iCapital last year, Altigo, Alto, iFunds, Opto which is a new player, founded by Joe Lonsdale.

Also, I’ve been asked to moderate a panel at Future Proof which is coming up September 11-13 in Huntington Beach, you can check them out at FutureProof.com. AdvisorCircle is hosting that and my panel at Future Proof is called “Investing in venture capital made easy with Fundrise and Allocate” which are two FinTech players, offering RIAs access to venture capital. My panel will be Wednesday, September 13 at 11:35 PT, so hope to see you all at Future Proof.

Another player in the alternative investments marketplace space is Halo Investing and they are in the news. They have struck a partnership with GeoWealth, a TAMP provider, and they’re going to be able to provide structured products in UMAs. It’s a unique combination, something I’ve been talking about because structured products can offer downside protection to portfolios seems like an interesting combination to be able to insert those into a unified managed account. Advisors can build customized structured note portfolios as one sleeve in a UMA and you should be able to review them, report on them, bill on them at the individual sleeve level level using GeoWealth’s software.

Now, why does this matter? Because it’s giving more options to advisors is always a good thing. Not everyone can use this and I certainly wouldn’t recommend if I were an advisor that everyone use it because structured notes on for everyone. But there’s certainly a decent niche for certain clients that could use this type of product. Now, in March, GeoWealth announced their acquisition of First Ascent asset management, a pioneer in flat fee asset management based in Denver. With that acquisition, they now have $21 billion on the platform, growing fast. Now Halo was founded in 2015 and they facilitated roughly %12 billion in issuances of structured notes since their founding.

On their platform they also allow advisors to monitor analyze and invest not only structured notes, but also market linked CDs, buffered ETFs and annuities. Now a lot of these marketplaces a try to get on to the Kitces-Ezra Group advisortech map, because they often have tools, things like analysis tools, things that were tools, you can execute trades and managed portfolios. However, they’re not selling the software standalone those tools are only for firms that are part of the marketplace or are acquiring funds through the marketplace. So they’re not standalone software applications being sold. And that’s what the Kitces-Ezra Group advisortech map is for it’s for software. At Ezra Group we’re working on a marketplace map to just show different marketplaces and hopefully that’ll be out very soon.

Halo announced $100 million in Series C funding in 2021 backed by Allianz Life Ventures and William Blair, GeoWealth, which was founded in 2010. Raised $90 million and Series C funding led by Kanye Partners, and a follow on investment by JP Morgan in November 2021. You can find more about these firms GeoWealth.com and HaloInvesting.com.

Securitize acquires Onramp Invest, extending tokenized alts to RIAs

Continuing with our alternative investments category, Securitize acquires Onramp Invest, extending tokenized alts to RIAs. Securitize a leader and expanding investor and business access to tokenize tokenized alternative assets announced their acquisition of digital asset wealth platform Onramp invest. Onramp invest was co founded by Tyrone Ross who many of you know, a very popular figure, well respected in the industry. He served as CEO of Onramp until March 2022 when he departed the company. Now he’s always a bit fuzzy on exactly what Onramp was trying to do and Tyrone leaving suddenly in March didn’t help things. I know they started out providing education on digital assets to advisors then expanded after an earlier may 2021. They launched a crypto platform for RIAs, which I always thought might be an issue since many advisors say their insurance providers won’t cover them if they offer crypto, but I think they found a way around that. Ross’ tenure at Onramp lasted about 19 months, which saw the startup raise $7 million in funding and formed partnerships with firms that included advise on Riskalyze and Ritholtz Wealth Management, big name there, which is also an investor in the firm.

Securitize acquiring Onramp comes amid big slump in crypto deal making and following a slump in the crypto market itself. Big decline in dealmaking in the crypto space triggered by the slump in crypto and also regulatory challenges. If you’ve been living under a rock is a huge downturn in crypto prices in 2022. Prompted by some high profile collapses of crypto funds, including TerraForm Labs, BlockFi and the one that’s always that’s in the news a lot now FTX and of course others as well. That put a damper on on the market.

Financial regulators have been intensifying the crackdown on digital asset firms and crypto exchanges, which is also putting a big wet blanket on fundraising activity. Now securitize provides access to private capital from well known funds such as KKR and Hamilton Lane. What they’re doing differently is they’re putting it on the blockchain and tokenizing it and they hope that will make it easier reduce friction, make it quicker to deliver these types of securities out to advisors and their clients.

Securitize secured $120 million in funding from investors such as Coinbase Ventures and Blockchain Capital and funds managed by Morgan Stanley. Securitize was launched in 2017. Another important milestone which I thought was interesting was securitize. In 2019. They acquired transfer agent Pacific Stock Transfer, which makes Securitize one of the only SEC registered digital transfer agents that are operating on a blockchain which is a form of technology. This is just a distributed database that is immutable meaning it cannot be changed once the data is written. Under the terms of the deal, 18 employees of Onramp will join Securitize, which currently employs 150 people.

It’s interesting to see how much advisors uptake on this offering. We mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of alternative investment marketplaces out there. Unless they can deliver faster, stronger, better, quicker, cheaper, there’s no real reason to say well blockchain offered security is better than a non blockchain offered security. If I’m an advisor. I don’t care what technology you’re using to deliver that to me. I just want it as I said, faster, stronger, better, quicker, cheaper, more reliable.

But they are focusing on their blockchain delivery and believe that they can tokenize rather these assets meaning, a digital signature or digital token is used to represent shares in particular assets. You can do things like real estate, you can say, here’s a building, we’re going to be selling shares in the building on the blockchain, which should make it easier you don’t need a lot of expensive lawyers and things necessarily to to deliver that or expensive systems, you can just push it out through distributed blockchain. Now, by giving RIAs access to their portfolio, they believe that they’ll be able to offer these institutional share classes from top asset managers with lower minimum investments, lower fees, and more access to liquidity. To learn more about securitize, go to Securitize.io and as long as websites available OnrampInvest.com.

3. Goldman Sachs

The next story in the news all about Goldman Sachs, both positive and negative. We’ll start with the positive first, Goldman Sachs adds another feather to their asset custodian cap. Creative Planning picks Goldman to offer special custody service. Credit Planning announced a multibillion dollar strategic custody relationship with Goldman Sachs advisor solutions. The relationship would give the Overland Park, Kansas-based RIA access to capabilities that include digitize middle and back office for alternate investments which we just spoke about a fully electronic lending platform, advanced analytics and product offerings from across Goldman Sachs. Notice they didn’t mention custody that list but custody I’m assuming is included. Creative Planning had over $210 billion in combined AUM and assets under advisement as of December 31.

So this is a huge deal. Now, of course, they’re not moving the entire tour and $10 billion over to Goldman, from what I read, they’re moving some bits and pieces, but still gives them a foothold, which every custodian wants. That’s one of the reasons why Pershing launched their Wove platform. Similar to how Goldman has all these different options and availability systems, digitized services on top of their custody, which is another benefit. Pershing is doing the same Hey, look at our great platform on as well as custody, so work with us and then once they have their foot in the door, then they can try to steal some of the some of the assets from the other custodians.

This is a huge deal. There’s very few firms of this size in play for custodians, even if it’s only a small bit of their assets. The RIA plans to move multiple billions of dollars in assets from existing custodians to Goldman Sachs over the next 18 months. So that’s good news for Goldman bad news for Schwab, Fidelity and Pershing, who all have a bit of Creative Planning’s assets.

Some of the things we do for our clients, especially the large RIAs and broker dealer clients has helped them negotiate with custodians, since we’re very well versed in all the different contracts and do RFPs, RFIs for custody. If your firm is interested in looking at other custodians even if you’re not looking to change, it’s always good to check the market and maybe go back to your custodian say, Hey, I’m getting this deal from these guys. What can you do for me? You always want to look at how you can reduce your costs and increase your service levels. Give us a call EzraGroup.com.

More for Goldman, but this could be bad news or good news depending how you look at it, Goldman Sachs pursuing the sale of personal financial management division, according to sources, is a scoop by Ian Wenik and Andrew Foerch over at Citiwire from Goldman Sachs sources. They are selling what they’re calling Personal Financial Management, which was formerly United Capital Financial Advisors that they acquired for $750 million back in 2019. The experiment is over of Goldman in the direct to consumer RIA space mostly. Tthey have not they have another division, but that’s a B2B.

The deal with United Capital, they brought over 25 billion at the time, but now they’re down to only 13 billion that those assets leaked out rather quickly in less than four years, you lose 50% of your assets. Not a good deal. Ezra Group over the past 18 years since we’ve been in business, working with lots of RIAs and broker dealers, even the ones who are bad shape, I’ve never seen anyone lose half their assets that quickly. Not good news.

RIAbiz as well as Citiwire announcing the sale of United Capital, there’s already a buyer. The New York City Investment Bank is at war with itself according to the Wall Street Journal in part because ex-CEO finds harebrained ideas about extending his b2b brand were made worse by current CEO David Solomon. That’s from the journal not from me, by the way. The sale of the Newport Beach, California RIA United Capital is expected to be announced Monday or Tuesday.

A couple of rumors floating around that LPL is going to buy them or Advisor Group my buy them. We don’t know what they’re going to pay for this $13 billion in assets. A couple of anonymous industry sources that I spoke to said they have some friends who used to work at United Capital, and said that Goldman Sachs did some destroy the culture almost immediately after acquiring them. I’m not sure about destroy the culture. I can’t vouch for that. But it is not unusual for a large firm when they take over a fast moving smaller company to change the culture. They believe their culture is what works for them and it’s rare we see a larger firm keep a smaller company and let them run independently. That’s usually the best thing to do for a while but apparently Goldman did not do that.

The whole idea of the RIA business was to get assets and people away from Wall Street and the product sale. When United Capital was originally sold to Goldman, there was a lot of people upset in the IRA business and selling his whole unit to what the what some people said was the apex predator of the whole ecosystem, Goldman Sachs had undercurrents that betrayal according to RIA executives, recruiters and wealth managers.

Some of the reasons why this experiment didn’t work, Goldman Sachs tried to do too much too quickly in the mass affluent market. There’s clear logic underlying the transaction that could bring United Capital’s clients into the fold and eventually cross sell them consumer banking from their markets unit or lending products for greater wallet share. However, the Marcus unit didn’t do so well lost a lot of money. They cease new loan origination through Marcus and postpone the plans to roll out checking. They’re also laying people off so that whole thing didn’t work very well. Goldman Sachs final results paint a rough picture for its asset and wealth management business. This came from Citiwire. They’re highly correlated with the performance of the global markets. Revenue totaled roughly $3.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022, down 27% relative to the previous year, and full year for their asset wealth management. Business dropped 39% year over year.

Another article, this is from also Citiwire, the earlier this is back from April, that three executives from United Capital had left to start their own ra aggregator Mike Capelle, who co founded UC, Gary Roth former COO and Jason Gordo, head of client experience, left to form Modern Wealth Management. These guys weren’t working for Goldman for very long, but still related to Goldman that they left.When a firm gets acquired, usually the senior people stay on for a little bit til their contracts are up and they get paid out and then off they go. Modern Wealth Management, an RIA aggregator funded with $200 million from private equity firm Crestview Partners, lots of firms out there we work with a number of RIA aggregators who are acquiring RIAs. From what I’ve seen, there are a lot of firms being acquired but still a lot of new ones being created to 500 and 1000 new RIAs created every year. Hopefully there’s enough to be acquired by all these very acquisitive. Capital is going to be using to fund acquisitions of anchor office RIAs in major metropolitan hubs as well as organic growth. They’re going to be acquiring large, sophisticated RIAs to serve as regional hubs that will be referred to as professional sports cities. Can’t go wrong with that in each the country’s four time zones. Again, something we do as well at Ezra Group, we work with PE firms to conduct due diligence.

I want to give advice to Modern Wealth Management check the tech stacks. We get brought in all the time to look at large sophisticated RIAs and we see so many problems with tech stacks. So we point those out. You want to know what those are before you make the acquisition and you want to have to dump a couple more million dollars into the tech stack because when you’re buying them you want them to be able to scale to 310 x. That’s something we’re good at understanding. Gary Roth former CEO of United Capital, who’s now at Modern Wealth Management noted the RIA, M&A market has become more crowded since you know the capitals heyday. And so they plan to do fewer deals than the group’s previous firm. While you know the capital close roughly 100 transactions and want to put some 70 offices around the country by the time of their sale to Goldman Sachs, Roth imagines Modern Wealth Management will aim for 50 to 20 transactions over the next say 5-7 years. Sounds much more reasonable. Also what we recommend is don’t let them keep their own tech, no matter how good it is. You want to convert it to your core technology. Don’t try to support multiple platforms across the acquire RIAs. Also in this news, ex United Capital CEO Joe Duran pursuing a capital race for his new RIA investing business.

Duran is planning assuming a capital raise for a business venture that will look to take minority stakes in RIAs. He told Citiwire, that new venture may have a component that generates prospective client leads for its RIA investments. So some kind of mix of many Zoe Financial and Dynasty where you’re taking minority stakes and you’re generating lead gen. That could be interesting. Duran has a track record of blending tech with RIA M&A, United Capital was prolific acquirer, which we just mentioned, and also operated FinLife Partners, a white label technology stack that they sold to other RIAs in exchange for a flat fee. We liked FinLife, especially their money mind, a very interesting stuff. It’s it was the very first advisor experience tool that has now blown out into its own category with companies like Lumiant, and Forwardlane, and Elements, all taking some sort of influence what I believe is influenced by inspiration from what Finn life partners did, which was help advisors build a better relationship and have more things to say to their clients, especially giving them insights into how to speak to the non CFO spouse. Very important. At the time of the acquisition, they had 244 advisors at offices 23,000 clients of like Goldman Sachs, personal financial management, had 23,000 clients at offices and 244 advisors. Finally to wrap this up, someone on Twitter was doing some some looking around and said they think Joe Duran may be the one who’s going to buy United capital back from Goldman. Now that would be interesting.

Advisortech Map & Integration Scores

We’re getting towards the end of the news we’re up to advisortech map and integration score updates. For August you can check out the advisor tech map but the Kitces-Ezra Group advisor tech map over at Kitces.com. We had nine additional products added to the map this this month. Let’s go through them quickly.

Wealth I/O is under digital marketing, prospecting, lead magnets, networking. You can check them out at Wealthio.com. Number two InvestSuite Storyteller is part of a company called iPipeline, this is an advice engagement tool. That is that InvestSuite.com. AlphaTrust is an esignature product at which is provided by iPipeline as well. Even find it iPipeline.com just search for AlphaTrust. It’s their esignature and document process automation solution. Another one under document management is Arcus Partners, the complete digital office for wealth management. Check them out. Another one Jotform is going into client data gathering. This was more of a generic tool. But we’re Michael is adding more generic tools that show up on the Kitces advisor tech survey, which recently came out you can check that at Kitces.com as well download that report a lot of good information there. Generic tools or the non advisor specific products like Jotform that receives reasonable market share in the survey are being added to the map. Jotform was one of them on decline data gathering. We’ve also added a couple more HubSpot which you may know is digital marketing. MailChimp, also digital marketing that’s going on the map, Microsoft Bookings live advisors using that going into scheduling apps and Asana going into workflow support. I know that Kitces.com as well as Ezra Group both use Asana, so there’s your updates. All those additional products will this month or the next month, get Ezra Group WealthTech integration scores, seeing check those out at EzraGroup.com under WealthTech Integration Scores.

Another couple of things here before I forget go to the Kitces advisor tech directory and check that out. It’s a little more detailed and a lot more robust than the map so the map can only show one icon per vendor, but many vendors have lots of products, lots of functionality. For example, Orion has onboarding and proposal gen and performance reporting and billing, but we only have them all in one. However, in the advisor tech directory, which you can find under FinTech.Kitces.com. All those secondary categories are available. So if you search for billing software, you’ll see Orion and Tamarac and Black Diamond because they all have billing, as well as companies like Redi2 that are standalone billing applications.

But a new feature and the Kitces advisortech directory, it’s a matrix that shows for all applications in a specific category, the advisor scoring grid, which comes from Michael’s bi annual survey, as well as their integration score from Ezra Group.There’s a scoring grid now in the advisortech directory, which I think is helpful, so you can scroll down for example, CRM, there’s 15 applications. Now you can sort it by advisor tech satisfaction score, and see just the top ones the top of CRM according to advisor satisfaction score happens to be Less Annoying CRM at 9.2 followed by Advyzon, 8.8 and Wealthbox at 8.1. However, if you resort by integration score, you’ll see that Redtail has the highest score at a 9.4, Salesforce 9.3 and AdvisorEngine at 8.0 and it’s also a column for adoption rate, meaning in the Kitces advisortech survey, how many of the advisors are using that product? If you sort by adoption rate, you’ll see Redtail also in the lead 27%, Wealthbox number two, 23%, Salesforce at 17%, and so on. A great new feature that I think you’re going to like at FinTech.Kitces.com.

We have a number of new scores for vendors, you can check those out, as I mentioned at EzraGroup.com if you hit the What do we do menu, there’ll be an option that says WealthTech Integration Scores. And you can see the score for any product or for any category. You can see all of the all in one categories with Orion at the top score there ENV2, BlackDiamond and Morningstar Office and Advyzon and following them right below.

Now, we’ve been updating the scoring methodology a little bit over time. And if you are a product provider, your software vendor in our space, and you have questions about how to make your score, go up the best way to do that is to fill out our survey. Send us an email at Consulting@Ezragroup.com and we will get you a survey. Filling out the survey is the best way for us to know all of the integrations you have especially all of the API information you have. We’ve expanded how we manage API’s, how we judge the API’s and score them. We ask a lot of questions about your sandbox, your development environment and your source, your sample code, your authentication capabilities. If you can answer those questions, almost guaranteed your score is going to go up course we don’t have that data. So filling out the survey, great way to raise your WealthTech Integration Scores. Thanks everyone for using it. We’re getting a lot of great feedback from RIAs and broker dealers and other firms who like having this data available when they’re making their buying decisions. So WealthTech Integration Scores over at EzraGroup.com.



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