Out of a pool of over 300 submissions, WealthManagement.com on Friday released the names of the finalists for its first industry awards program, meant to recognize outstanding achievement in products or services that help advisors succeed. Some of the most-recognized names in financial services, as well as a few disrupters, are now in contention to win the top award across a broad range of categories.
In an effort inspire innovation and honor those implementing cutting-edge solutions, WealthManagement.com developed the first awards program to honor outstanding achievements by the companies and organizations that support advisor success.
A panel of ten independent judges reviewed over 300 nominations submitted by 152 companies, selecting 95 finalists within 10 broad categories: Asset mangers, broker/dealers, custodians, disruptors, insurance, non-custodial RIA support platforms, social media, TAMPs, technology providers, and thought leadership.
To qualify, finalists were asked to demonstrate that a new initiative, program or enhancement to an existing platform that enriched advisors’ business operations. In addition to the panel of judges, a survey of more than 850 WealthManagement.com readers across all advisory channels helped inform the list of finalists.
Among broker/dealers, WealthManagement.com honored programs such as NFP Advisor Services’ business consulting service and First Allied’s Pentameter System, a practice management and business development solution, as outstanding b/d practice management services. Among brokerages' technology initiatives, Commonwealth and Merrill Lynch were selected as finalists for their One Click and Merrill Lynch One platforms, respectively. Looking at firm's transition support, the judges selected initiatives at Edward Jones, NEXT Financial Group and Prospera.
On the day-to-day technology systems that support an advisors’ business, the judges honored a wide spectrum of companies. For example, Pershing’s big data initiative and TD Ameritrade’s Veo One platform won spots among the custodian finalists. Grendel, Junxure and Envestnet Tamarac were named as finalists for their CRM solutions, while CircleBlack, Orion and Advent Software were among some of the finalists for client portal software.
Looking at disruptors entering the industry, the finalists include high-profile names such as Betterment Institutional, Wealthfront and Schwab’s Institutional Intelligent Portfolios among the so-called “robo advisors.” Live Oak Bank was named as a finalist for its work with succession lending and MarketCounsel for its unique RIA incubator program.
While tools are important, education is also key to helping improve advisors’ business. With that in mind, the judges selected thought leaders such as MarketCounsel’s annual advisor event, Michael Kitces’ Nerd’s Eye View blog and Guggenheim’s research as finalists in the area of thought leadership.
To view the complete list of finalists, click here.
The final winner in each category will be announced at a gala reception on September 24, 2015 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City. A portion of the proceeds from the awards event will be donated to Foundation for Financial Planning, which aims to provide pro bono financial planning to underserved communities.