eMoney Advisor is launching a white-labeled version of its advisor-connected financial wellness app Incentive, according to the firm. The rebrand-able version of Incentive, which is available to retirement plan advisors, comes after just three new advisory firms started using the app since November. There are currently 18 advisory firms using Incentive, which debuted in January 2021.
While eMoney is not disclosing the number of end investors or employers using the app, Incentive’s product team is confident that the app’s new white-labeling option will expand its popularity and allow it to “stand out from the crowd and deliver on the promise of their brand,” according to Chad Porche, vice president of product innovation. “This will enhance [firms’] client relationships and reputation to help improve client retention and growth.”
Although not necessarily an indicator of popularity, Incentive currently has more than 1,000 downloads on the Google Play Store and 28 Ratings on the Apple App Store. For comparison, Fidelity Spire, a retail-focused financial planning and investing app announced in July 2020, has more than 50,000 downloads on the Google Play Store and 281 Ratings on the Apple App Store.
The decision to not include a white-labeled version of Incentive in the original product launch, despite the idea’s popularity with advisory firm clients, the app’s product leads and even eMoney’s own steering committee, came down to market demand, according to Chris Grant, one of the app’s product leads. Thirteen of the firms using Incentive have opted to stick with eMoney’s branding. Just five are utilizing the new white-labeling feature.
One of the white-label adopters is Pensionmark Financial Group, which will be utilizing Incentive’s capabilities within its yet-to-be-launched SMARTMap financial planning app, according to Emilio Vela, director of participant engagement at the firm. Pensionmark currently has five advisors piloting the Incentive app, he said.
Incentive has a nice user interface, but it lacks customization for end investors, said Veronica Taylor, director of client relations and a pilot advisor of Incentive at Pensionmark. "It's not doing anything that's so rocket-science amazing," she said. "For a financial wellness tool, it gives you a snapshot of your situation. But it doesn't allow you to set what your savings goals are to make it more interactive."
Once Incentive's functionality is encapsulated within SMARTMap, the combination will be more useful and easier to tailor to individual users' situations, said Taylor. She's used Incentive with 25 employers as part of the pilot program.
Pensionmark plans to incorporate Incentive’s tech into its app and launch next week, Vela said.
After the launch of SMARTMap, all advisors at Pensionmark will have access to the new tech, he added. The firm has approximately 320 advisors, working with more than 4,500 employers.
“The addition of the Incentive application has solved the greatest challenge we face as an industry, which is getting employees engaged,” Pensionmark CEO Troy Hammond said in a statement. “We can now meet employees no matter where they are in their financial journey, whether they are just starting out or require complex financial planning.”
While eMoney’s leaders say they had long planned a white-labeled version of Incentive after launching the original, the firm seems to be searching for the right formula to increase the app’s users.
eMoney is dangling $5,000 in cash prizes for users who download the app from April 4, “to help us drive adoption,” said Lauren Pluschke, a product lead at Incentive.
The app has so much flexibility in relation to business models that sales-focused advisors have the option of charging for access to the app, if they so choose, noted Grant. They can also offer it for free or bundle it into their advisory fees.
Pensionmark doesn’t charge advisors for access to Incentive, said Vela. Advisors at Pensionmark, on the other hand, have the option to charge end clients for access to the app if they so choose. “I haven’t seen advisors charge for that,” he added. “If they do, it’s already included in their advisory fee.”
The product team also wants to make the app more useful. By the end of the year, developers have plans to allow users to move money within the app. Right now, if a user completes a savings challenge, for example, he or she has to go outside of the app to move the saved funds. The product team wants to make the functionality available within the app.
Incentive is still helpful to employees; it's just not the complete package, according to Taylor. "It's a cool tool," she said. "Half of the financial wellness experience is to get employees to not be afraid to look at their finances. And this tool does make that very easy."