Private equity-backed Atria Wealth Solutions is officially launching a new client portal, called Clear 1, according to an announcement made by the company. The new portal is part of a movement by the company to bring a more goals-based focus to the 300,000 end-clients who will be on the platform, said Eugene Elias, chief operating officer and founding partner of the firm. Atria launched in 2017 and recently acquired NEXT Financial Group.
“The core mission of Clear 1 is to provide the clients of our advisors with an experience that is truly meaningful, useful and impactful to them,” Elias said in a statement. “It is an extension of their advisor and another means to deliver the value of advice in a way that clients have come to expect.”
Client expectations for advisor communication have certainly changed from the days of emails and quarterly reports. Features on the client portal will eventually include the ability for a client to message via text, and even videochat, with his or her advisor. The messaging service will use a third-party provider, alongside a proprietary user experience, and is projected to be ready by the first part of 2020 at the latest, according to Elias.
One of the challenges of texting is managing the expectations of clients with automated replies, noted Elias. He calls it “business texting.”
“Just because with personal texting people respond at all hours of the day, that's not going to be the case with this. It's another form of communication within the hours of business,” he said.
Bringing that feature to life, along with electronic vault-type storage of client documents, will allow Atria to move into a more “data-centric model,” according to Elias. “Every interaction that I have with a client, whether it's a phone call or an email or text—and eventually video—is all captured, and I'm able to present it back to the advisors,” he explained. The firm wants to use that data to deduce how clients prefer to receive client-advisor communications, with the goal of building and displaying meaningful content for the client.
The client portal test launch included Atria’s broker/dealer subsidiaries CUSO Financial Services and Sorrento Pacific Financial, a group of approximately 500 advisors. The next phase, scheduled for the second half of 2019, will be a rollout to end-clients from the two groups who aren’t currently online, followed by advisors and end-clients at Cadaret, Grant & Co. Atria’s head count is nearly 2,000 advisors.