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Advisor's Silver Lining: Free Planning Everywhere

You get a plan! You get a plan! Financial planning software developers are eagerly using market volatility as an opportunity to get new customers.

Price-conscious advisors are awash in free financial planning and marketing opportunities—at least for the moment. In an effort to make its planning tools more affordable for non-enterprise advisors, last week Advicent provided free access to the firm’s planning client portal, alongside firm-provided marketing materials, through the end of 2021. 

On Wednesday, a twin billing from planning archrivals Envestnet | MoneyGuide and eMoney Advisor added to the free choices. Wednesday morning Envestnet | MoneyGuide rolled out its own free offering of MyBlocks, the firm’s deconstructed “stealth planning” tool, along with Yodlee data aggregation, for the next 90 days, according to an announcement. A few hours later, financial planning competitor eMoney Advisor announced its own free planning for advisors new to the service—as well as making its Advisor Branded Marketing available for free for new and existing users—also for 90 days.

As with most free offers, the devil is in the details. The advisor-facing portion of NaviPlan, Advicent’s financial planning software, is still under pre-pandemic pricing. Advisor marketing material, however, is free with unlimited access through the end of next year.

Meanwhile, Envestnet | MoneyGuide’s MyBlocks offer covers the “digital client engagement tool[s],” which allow advisors to more easily transition into full-blown financial planning. The Yodlee data aggregation offering helps advisors get a full picture of client assets, as well as powering the finance-tracking capabilities of FinApps. Non-MoneyGuide users will have to request a free trial of MyBlocks.

Envestnet positioned its offering as a service to the advisory community and beyond. “While we cannot manufacture masks or ventilators, we want to do our part to help as many Americans as possible during this time of crisis," said Bill Crager, Envestnet’s CEO, in a statement. "We are providing the broader advisor community with free access to our MyBlocks planning tool to help more people across the country navigate through this turbulent time."

eMoney’s offer of three free months of financial planning is contingent upon an advisor signing a 12-month contract. The financial planning software provider has three levels of functionality. Access to Advisor Branded Marketing will roll out in phases between April 8 and 15, and extend to July 15. The service comes with “training resources.” 

In announcing its offering, eMoney sought to reassure advisors, and by extension, their clients, who are experiencing marketing volatility. “We believe in the power of holistic planning and know advisors who deliver planning-led advice are better positioned than those who do not,” said eMoney CEO Ed O’Brien in a statement. “We remain deeply committed to providing…the tools [needed] to deliver exceptional client experiences and overcome these unparalleled challenges.”

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