Below is the March edition of the Fintech Report Card, a monthly piece by Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein originally published in WealthManagement.com.
Envestnet Adds “Wealth Studio” Technology from Apprise Labs
What happened: Envestnet announced that it purchased the estate and legacy planning technology tools from Apprise Labs.
Why it matters: Envestnet has assembled a roster of planning tech worthy of the Avengers (if they were to do financial planning); from its original cash flow technology acquired with FInance Logix, to the blockbuster acquisition of MoneyGuide just a couple years ago, and now having snagged the tech behind Apprise (known as “Wealth Studio”), which is meant to help high net worth clients visualize their current and future finances. It’s all a part of a new Envestnet strategy called the “Intelligent Financial Life.”
Disclosure: Envestnet and Riskalyze have announced new integration capabilities for delivery to advisors and enterprises soon.
Skience Creates All-Digital Advisor Transitions
What happened: Skience launched Advisor Transitions, a solution meant to reduce the friction experienced by advisors who move from one wealth management firm to another.
Why it matters: Opening accounts is one of the last remaining frontiers of wealth management that still needs to go fully digital, and Skience is investing time and capital trying to make that happen. Ultimately, tech tools can only go as far as custodians will allow them to go, so there is still work to be done there. But could Skience play a big role in helping the industry say goodbye to the phrase “wet signature?” Time will tell.
eMoney Tries to Improve Aggregation
What happened: eMoney Advisor has joined the Akoya Data Access Network as it transitions its screen scraping aggregation to API-based aggregation instead.
Why it matters: Account aggregation has long been plagued by a three-headed monster of broken links, bad data, and dicey security. Screenscraping often was the culprit of the “bad data” problem. When it comes to data, nothing beats APIs. This is a good move to make progress on solving all three problems for data aggregation, and follows similar moves by Envestnet Yodlee to build direct technical links with the biggest institutions.
Disclosure: eMoney is a Riskalyze integration partner.
SEI Acquires Oranj
What happened: SEI announced the acquisition of defunct technology platform Oranj and its remaining 14 staff members.
Why it matters: Advisors on the Oranj platform got a shock last fall when Oranj announced its abrupt closure. Many of those advisors had to find new wealth management platforms overnight—we at Riskalyze got to know many of them well as a result. While this news is positioned in the news as an M&A deal, it feels more like SEI wanted to bring in good talent and managed to snag a good closeout deal on some technology while they did it.
AdvicePay Adds Compliance Features for the Enterprise
What happened: AdvicePay added Deliverables, a hub for advisors to submit their fee-for-service business for compliance review through their broker-dealer.
Why it matters: This feature marks a major step forward for AdvicePay to move from serving financial planning firms to being a valuable solution for enterprise organizations. If you’re going to build tech for enterprises, compliance and oversight have to be an area of competence—and this will help many wealth management enterprises safely roll out fee-for-service capabilities to their advisors.
Walmart Has a (Maybe) Robo-Advisor?
What happened: Walmart announced the hiring of Citi’s head of global credit cards, Julia Unger, and in a trademark filing, unveiled their choice of “Hazel” as the name of its financial services app ad-venture.
Why it matters: It’s always been the buzz—Amazon, Google or Walmart is about to enter wealth management! Could that mean the end of financial advisors? Here’s a big dose of reality.
#1 Walmart could provide an investing service, but it’s not happening right away. There are a myriad of financial services like payments, savings, credit cards and lending that are far easier and higher-margin before Walmart gets to wealth management.
#2 When it does happen, it won’t matter. The clients of financial advisors are not going to move their assets to Walmart’s robo any more than they already moved them to Wealthfront, Betterment, or the like. If all your clients wanted was a slick web experience and complete automation with a 1-800 number for customer service, they have a bunch of options to get that TODAY. They chose you instead, for a reason.
Related trivia: Helen Walton’s mother was named Hazel.
H. Beck Rebrands as Grove Point Financial
What happened: H. Beck’s independent broker-dealer rebranded itself as Grove Point Financial and announced a new tech stack offering for its financial professionals.
Why it matters: Today’s IBDs have to compete with each other on technology, and Grove Point Financial has built a who’s who for its reps to choose from. The tech stack options include eMoney, MoneyGuidePro, and NaviPlan for financial planning, plus the choice of Black Diamond, Albridge, and Investigo for performance reporting. There’s only one risk solution available, though (you can probably guess who!). When advisors have great technology at their fingertips, they can help their clients make better, more informed decisions.
Disclosure: Riskalyze is proud to be one of the technology solutions included in the Grove Point tech stack.
Pershing Adds Digital Repapering Tool
What happened: Pershing Advisor Solutions is beta testing a digital onboarding tool that allows clients and advisors to collaborate on the process of opening new accounts.
Why it matters: It’s always exciting to see progress made toward creating a more digital future for something that has been as manual as account opening. Pershing’s approach is unique in that it asks clients to use online credentials to aggregate some of the information necessary for onboarding, which theoretically could make the process faster and less time consuming than filling out paperwork. I’ll be watching this beta with great interest.
Aaron Klein is CEO at Riskalyze.
Editors note: The views expressed in this column are Aaron Klein’s, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WealthManagement.com.
For more great content, visit WealthManagement.com.
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