Cetera Financial Group took the first step in a three-part plan to update the technology it offers advisors and their clients.
Thursday morning, the company revealed My Advice Architect, a wealth management platform to help advisors match clients with investment products. My Advice Architect is a component of Advice Architect Ecosystem, Cetera’s plan to unify the disparate technology offerings across its broker/dealers. Cetera is developing the Advice Architect Ecosystem using Envestnet technology, and eventually has plans for updating its advisor and client portals, and introducing a digital advice product.
For now, Cetera is focusing on the core tool advisors use to offer clients investment options. The company is first bringing technology to Cetera Financial Institutions, its b/d focused on banks and credit unions, before a gradual roll out to the rest of the Cetera network through this quarter.
Cetera plans to provide more details on the rest of its tech stack later this summer, and plans for a third quarter launch of the advisor and client portals.
My Advice Architect consolidates Cetera’s three core advisor-driven investment programs into one dashboard. The first is the Unified Program, which lets advisors implement advisor-directed models, fund strategist portfolios and separately managed accounts in a single custodial account. The Unified Program provides access to 100 strategists offering 800 mutual fund and ETF strategies, and 700 SMA models from 300 managers. My Advice Architect also brings in Cetera’s Guided Program, which gives access to third-party model providers, and the Advisor Program, a purely advisor-directed solution with a selection of asset types for discretionary and non-discretionary client accounts.
The investment platform supports single sign-on access for advisors and allows them to access products from all programs under a single client agreement with no ticket charges. Cetera CEO Robert Moore called it a “major step forward” in terms of functionality for advisors, the range of investment choices available, and ease of use for vital activities like account opening.
“[My Advice Architect] sets the basis for our broader ecosystem approach around the notion of integration and … [the] experience that we want of our advisors and end clients,” Moore told WealthManagement.com. He said he envisions a full end-to-end program beginning from marketing and account opening, to choosing investments, rebalancing, reporting and monitoring.
Lincoln Ross, executive vice president at Envestnet, said Cetera plans to eventually leverage his company’s entire technology platform. Future products, especially the robo advisor and new portals for clients and advisors, will take use of technology from Tamarac and Yodlee.
“The platform is supporting what we call the entire lifecycle of advice and how the advisor delivers that,” Ross said.
The Advice Architect Ecosystem is a different approach to technology than Cetera has taken in the past, which Moore said was much more driven by reactions to the developments in the market or constructing one-off fixes for a compliance or regulatory issue. The result was putting client and advisor user experience secondary.
This time, Moore said Cetera is putting user experience at the core of its technology stack, to “be sure that advisors are serving clients as straightforward as possible, as transparent as possible, and as low cost as possible.”