Orion Advisor Services announced a new partnership Wednesday with tech firm Jemstep to bring independent advisors using Orion's platform the benefits of “robo-advisor” automation without giving up their investment strategies.
Jemstep will give Orion advisors an interactive user portal for prospects and clients, including paperless sign-ups, portfolio analytics, communications and an account aggregator to locate “held-away” assets like 401(k)s to get a full profile of the clients' investments. Advisors can white label the front-end process and tie it to Orion’s portfolio accounting systems, mobile apps and reporting, effectively digitizing the entire experience for the client. Advisors using the Jemstep Orion combination remain in control of investment selection, trades and asset management.
Digitizing the client relationship this way can help advisors segment their businesses to maybe provide higher-level services to wealthier clients and low-cost, automated services to smaller accounts, says Orion’s president, Eric Clarke. This lets advisors reach "next-gen" investors without sacrificing too much time to more profitable clients.
Client segmentation was a highlight of the AutoPilot feature launched in February by Riskalyze and CLS Investments, and the new partnership between Fidelity and FirstPoint Financial announced earlier in April. Both of these offerings also rely on Orion for back-office technology.
“Advisors should not be looking for a ‘robo on the side’ solution – rather, the Jemstep/Orion combination allows advisory firms to maintain their distinct identity while adding exciting new dimensions to their business,” Clarke said in a statement.
The partnership is similar to one Orion reached with Riskalyze, a Jemstep competitor, in October. While Riskalyze helps advisors attract clients its risk-first approach using sophisticated data tools like Monte Carlos simulations to pull the potential client into a relationship, Jemstep brings its experience as a direct-to-retail robo-advisor to automate the front-end process.
Clarke said partnering with both allows Orion to reach a greater number of advisors, some of whom may prefer one approach over the other. Clarke also suggested the increased transparency these automated services bring to investors will increase consumer trust in the firms.