Fidelity is taking the next step towards the ambitious total advisor platform initiative it announced in February.
At Fidelity’s Inside Track conference in New York City on Tuesday, the custodian gave a first look at Wealthscape, the new digital workstation that combines its WealthCentral platform for advisors and Streetscape software for broker/dealers. The firm also revealed Fidelity Automated Managed Platform (AMP), a white-labeled automated digital advice platform.
The role that eMoney, which Fidelity acquired in 2015, plays in these plans is also clearer. The technology capabilities from eMoney’s emX suite is deeply integrated into Wealthscape, including portals for advisors and clients, self-service tools, document storage and financial planning. Information from Fidelity accounts are automatically pulled into eMoney, and advisors can seamlessly move into Wealthscape to open and fund accounts, execute trades and perform account maintenance.
Advisors not looking to shell out for the premium eMoney features can still use Wealthscape, which Fidelity says has been boosted by advanced analytics, automated workflows and portfolio tools supported by the new consolidated data platform Fidelity built. Fidelity is also adding a new feature it calls "Regulatory Early Warning" to help firms identify and track relevant regulatory content within Wealthscape.
Tom McCarthy, the head of platform technology for Fidelity Institutional, helps the firm serve advisors looking for an out-of-the box technology stack rather than select from a menu of vendors.
“Technology options have grown exponentially in recent years, making the mapping of technology time-consuming and complicated,” McCarthy said in a statement. “For firms that want help designing their technology architecture, our total advisor platform removes the guesswork of linking it all together.”
But Fidelity advisors not using eMoney will miss out on a great deal of functionality and tools that clearly seem to be the way forward for Fidelity. Even plans to make the database multi-custodial hinge on leveraging eMoney’s technology.
eMoney’s DNA is most noticeable in AMP, Fidelity’s new white-label robo advisor offering. AMP puts financial planning, eMoney’s bread and butter, at the center of the process, and the overall look and feel of the robo is very reminiscent of eMoney’s proprietary products. Advisors will have to pay for the emX bundle if they want access to AMP.
Like other institutional robos, advisors can embed a link on their website that leads investors towards a short questionnaire to assess their age, income, goals and risk tolerance. AMP will then recommend an investment model. Investors can then open an account through Fidelity’s brokerage capabilities, provide eSignatures and fund the account.
The advisor remains the investment advisor on the account, providing their own Investment Profile Questionnaires and choosing from a selection of 14 strategies provided by Geode Capital Management (the same strategies available in Fidelity Go, the firm’s direct-to-consumer robo advisor). Gary Gallagher, a senior vice president of investment products heading up the AMP project, said the company is looking to add more strategies in the future.
eMoney’s technology provides the client portal, some personal finance tools, and the ability to sync outside accounts. Advisors can view their entire book of business—robo or traditional—within Wealthscape, and reach out to clients serviced by the robo if they are ready for additional services. And traditional clients have access to the self-service and goal selection tools, and the client portal.
“In order to grow a successful business in the future, advisors must build a solid foundation of financial and wealth planning, intimately knowing clients, helping them manage significant life events, and guiding them through varied market conditions to achieve their goals,” said Sanjiv Mirchandani, the president of Fidelity Clearing and Custody Solutions. “We believe that a planning-led practice will give firms an edge, and help them to be more future-ready.”
Advisors can also use the number of third-party digital solutions that integrate with emX, and Fidelity said it would incorporate their functionality into AMP over time. For example, an advisor could eventually include risk tolerance questions from a third-party vendor in the account opening process.
The first features of the total advisor platform went live in August, and McCarthy said 100 firms and more than 200 advisors are already using it. Wealthscape goes live in December, and products and features will roll out continually over the coming year.
“Today, we have rolled out the first products available on our total advisor platform, allowing clients to start taking advantage of new tools that suit their needs,” McCarthy said. “Over time, they can add on new functionality. We’ve heard from our clients that this staggered approach eases decision making and supports advisor adoption.”