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07 February 2019

Advisor Technology Innovation on Display at T3


Every year the advisor technology community gathers together to showcase the latest developments, enhancements and innovations designed to help advisors do a better job with clients at the Technology Tools for Today (T3) conference.

Produced by technology guru, Joel Bruckenstein, T3 promises to provide a sneak peek into how advisors will be working with clients in the future, and this year’s T3 was no exception.  Over 80 technology vendors, custodians and broker-dealers were on hand to present, demo and display the latest in front of over 700 attendees.

As a perennial sponsor and exhibitor, SS&C Advent’s Black Diamond Wealth Platform was on hand to highlight the latest from Black Diamond, including the new Rebalancer. Doug McPhail, Director of Solutions Consulting for SS&C Advent took center stage to present how modern technology advances have created an environment where clients expect an experience of service that is 24/7, customizable, flexible and scalable.  The new Rebalancer from Black Diamond received rave reviews from attendees as it drove operational efficiencies, while ensuring that investment strategies are better aligned with client goals.

Of course, T3 also provides an amazing venue for the industry to break news of new alliances, products and initiatives that will transform the business of advice.  This year’s T3 did not disappoint as legendary eMoney founder Edmond Walters was back at T3 with his new venture, Apprise Labs.  Walters new bold venture is a joint venture with Envestnet and PIETech (makers of Money Guide Pro) focused on legacy and estate planning.

This new startup focused on building software to address estate planning and client retirement needs will add detailed cash flow and tax information enabling advisors to collaborate with clients through an interactive and hardware-based user interface to plan for their family’s unique legacy needs. The new estate and legacy planning software product will be called MoneyLogixPro, and will be available later this summer. 

Not lost on the big asset custodians, such as Fidelity, Schwab, TD Ameritrade and Pershing, is the importance of not only the technology that they provide to keep their RIAs humming profitably, but also their ability to integrate seamlessly with the hundreds of applications that advisors use from the third-party vendor community.  For years, Black Diamond has been a leader in technology integration, celebrating a deep assortment of third-party integrations, including the ability to get a complete tech stack of Black Diamond, Riskalyze, SMArtX, Advizr, and more to streamline and unify their back and front offices.

Leading that custodian charge for integration in a keynote address was Tricia Haskins, vice president of Digital Strategy & Platform Consulting for Fidelity Institutional. Haskins opened with a provocative quote that, “Fidelity is really a technology company that happens to be in financial services,” and related the many innovations Fidelity has led throughout its multi-decade existence in order to keep up with the exponential changes that technology is driving.

Haskins introduced the concept of “DQ” – your digital quotient, a take-off of IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient) as a new factor advisors will need when working with clients in the future. 

In order to help advisors enhance their DQ, Haskins showcased some of the cool new things coming out of Fidelity’s Center for Applied Technology, including Virtual Reality applications, AI, bio-metric user interfaces, and more.  Additionally, Haskins demonstrated Fidelity’s commitment to technology integration with the vendor community with the recent launch of its Integration Exchange.

Up next were many more announcements from just about every one of the over 80 technology vendors exhibiting their solutions, including industry leader, Riskalyze, a key partner of Black Diamond. Riskalyze has also been busy enhancing their platform with a new feature called, “Timeline,” the ability to optimize a client’s risk budgets based on multiple goals.

One of the more compelling sessions was the presentation of an industry survey by conference host Joel Bruckenstein and publisher of the Inside Information blog, Bob Veres. Bruckenstein and Veres presented the findings of their annual software survey that is designed to identify usage and satisfaction of the many third-party vendor and custodian technology offerings, as well as key trends.

The key takeaways this year are that the industry continues to evolve and the landscape is changing rapidly, moving aggressively away from an investment management-centric process to more service and advice-centric delivery.

Of particular concern to Bruckenstein is the lack of adoption of cyber security protection technology and that the CFP Board continues to refuse to provide CE credits for technology content.

To learn more about what went on at the T3 Advisor Conference, check out the many tweets on the #T32019 hashtag on Twitter.