I’m at Joel Bruckenstein’s T3 Advisor Conference 2019 in Denton, Texas this week enjoying a little bit warmer weather than what I’m usually accustomed to at this time of year. Along with that, I want to bring the warm vibes to everyone who couldn’t make it to this excellent event.
Throughout the conference, I’m keeping a running list of all the press releases and new announcements from the many FinTech firms at T3. If your firm should be here and you’re not, send me a DM on Twitter to get added to the list.
Without any further introduction, here’s the big news announced.
Announcements from T3 Advisor Conference 2019
ADVICENT REVEALS AN ALL-NEW USER INTERFACE AND RETIREMENT ASSESSMENT TOOL
During her T3 keynote on Tuesday, CEO Angela Pecoraro focused on how the industry is entering the third wave of financial planning. She defined the third wave of planning that combines cash-flow and goal-based models, increased adoption of planning software among advisors (the 2019 T3 tech survey seems to support this notion), and the expansion of digital planning touchpoints between advisors and their clients. Advicent is riding that wave with a completely new UI. As I tweeted during the keynote, I really love the look. It’s clean, has great use of white space, and without actually being able to take a test run of it, looks to be intentionally designed with quick actions in mind. In my eyes, the UI/UX race is starting to heat up within wealth tech, and it’s good to see Advicent intentionally addressing ways they can make their software easier to use. Functionality is obviously terrific and necessary, but all things equal, the software with the best UX is going to win the day.
TD AMERITRADE AND CLEVERDOME JOIN FORCES FOR CYBERSECURITY
Addressing cybersecurity is priority numero uno for advisors, and cleverDome has an interesting solution to securing client data: Taking the data exchange between fintech providers off the open Internet to make that exchange safer. The new update is that advisors who custody with TD, and also happen to use Redtail, Riskalyze, and Orion, can sign up to secure their information sharing in the cleverDome environment. This seems like a no-brainer to me for TD advisors.
ORION UPDATES ONE PRODUCT, THEN ANOTHER…AND ANOTHER…AND ANOTHER…
Orion came out swinging on the first day of T3 2019. In addition to a keynote to kick things off after Joel Bruckenstein’s opening keynote, they also dropped a veritable boatload of news and product updates. Here’s the highlights: The Inform tool uses data available in Orion to help advisory firms monitor employee trade activity and other conduct that must be tracked for compliance; Event-Based Notifications will help advisors proactively engage with clients with pre-set communications set for important milestones, like portfolio growth or birthdays; an integration with BizEquity to check the value of a client’s business; and (somehow there’s one more update!) advisors can also take advantage of a new integration to offer credit and identity monitoring to clients through Orion—the integration partner isn’t named in the press release; presumably that will be coming later. There’s so much in this update, I don’t know where to begin, but the most exciting update to me is Event-Based Notifications. Orion has been creating pieces of their offering to support advisor marketing efforts (they have a personalized video product as well as an email automation app) and anything that helps advisors connect more frequently without adding a lot more workload is a win in my view.
ADVICEPERIOD AND MARKETCOUNSEL JOIN IN ON THE ORION UPDATES
This was mentioned in the major Orion product press release, but this next release goes more in-depth about the full capabilities. The Inform tool brings Orion together with AdvicePeriod and MarketCounsel to offer a whole slew of compliance capabilities native in Orion—including tracking gifts, donations, affirmations, and employee trades. The interesting part of this news is how AdvicePeriod, an RIA firm, was so involved in the creation of the tool to make sure it served the most critical frustrations of modern firms. Many tech firms flaunt how they’re good for advisors because they were founded by an advisor (and Orion has used that as well), but it’s even more important that advisors are embedded in the ongoing process of new product development to help fintech firms stay grounded with current issues.
XY PLANNING AND ORION TEAM UP FOR TAMP SERVICE
What’s this? Another Orion update? Yes, they’re everywhere at T3 2019 (including in the Exhibit Hall. How many employees did they bring? 10? 100?). Orion and XY Planning have gotten together before to integrate AdvicePay with Orion’s portfolio management technology platform, but this news takes the relationship between the companies to a new level—and different arms of each brand as well. Orion Enterprise is a new offering from Orion and FTJ Fundchoice that creates a holistic investment management + portfolio management technology solution. XYIS is a TAMP for XY network advisors. Orion will bring rebalancing, tax trading tools, and automated account opening to XYIS advisors.
OLEG TISHVEKICH LAUNCHES INVENT.US TO BRING ADVISORS INTO THE MODERN AGE OF FINTECH
The launch of Invent.us is one of the biggest moments of T3 2019. Led by industry vet and former Finance Logix-founder and Envestnet-executive, Oleg Tishkevich, Invent.us is a software development consulting firm that helps advisory firms modernize their tech stack. What does that mean? Well, for one it means getting everyone into the cloud. Advisors have been hearing the word “cloud” for a long time and I’m not sure what percentage really understand what it means yet. I think Invent.us will help bring some much-needed clarity to the space soon.
FINMASON GETS IN ON THE ORION UPDATES WITH A NEW INTEGRATION
You thought we were done with Orion updates. You were wrong. They’re everywhere! This time, FinMason has announced its rollout of its Five Minute Financial Plans within Orion’s Client Portal. This is important for a couple reasons. First, it gives advisors more actionable content to review with their clients from within their portfolio management platform, and as anyone who has ever talked to me about integration knows, I am a huge sucker for integrations that go beyond Single-Sign On functionality. Secondly, it gives clients agency. They can tinker with changes to their plan to see what happens when they implement changes. All in all, a big win fo anyone who uses FinMason and Orion.
CARSON GROUP REBRANDS WITH NEW LOGO AND NEW COLORS
Carson Group launched a new corporate brand identity with an updated logo mark and new color palette. According to the press release, they wanted a visual identity that would align with their core values of putting clients first and simplifying advice. The subtle animations on the new Carson Group website are a nice touch.
THE 2019 TECHNOLOGY TOOLS FOR TODAY SOFTWARE SURVEY EXPANDS ITS FOCUS
Bob Veres and Joel Bruckenstein unveiled the results of their annual software survey to an overflowing room; scheduled alongside another session from Orion and MarketCounsel, I was surprised this wasn’t made a prime keynote session because the interest among attending advisors was clearly high. This year’s survey expanded its reach to include responses from more than fee-only advisors. CRM continues its reign as the most important tech tool for advisors (with Redtail leading the way with massive market share). But what I found encouraging is that the survey results back up what we’re all seeing as a broader industry shift: Younger advisors are trending toward financial planning software at a far higher rate than their more established counterparts. If there’s a theme you can attribute to this year’s T3—other than the rad 90s throwback vibe all over the place—it’s that financial planning is top-of-mind for everyone and skyrocketing up the priority list for how advisors will service and interact with their clients.
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