Big things are brewing in advisor technology this week as the annual T3 Enterprise Technology Conference kicks off deep in the heart of the Las Vegas strip.
Organized by industry tech analyst and publisher, Joel Bruckenstein, the enterprise version of Technology Tools for Today, or T3, opened with the debut of an industry-wide technology consortium designed to solve the very big problem of keeping hackers out of advisors interactions with clients.
Known as “CleverDome,” the tech consortium announced the launch of an innovative cybersecurity solution to protect confidential consumer information via a “secure and off the Internet” communication network. CleverDome is a fast way to share data, securely providing protection via a proprietary and closed network for advisors to operate their businesses without exposing client data to the open Internet.
“We are attempting to solve an unsolvable problem with today’s Internet,” said Aaron Spradlin, CEO and founder of CleverDome. “Currently, vendors and custodians are passing back and forth confidential customer information making it vulnerable to the latest hacks. What is needed is a “dark” version, a closed network that makes it impermeable to hackers.”
As part of this initiative, Spradlin has brought together several technology platforms together, including NetFoundry, a subsidiary of global communications giant, Tata, as well as popular advisor applications Orion, Riskalyze, Redtail, and Entreda to create a software-defined perimeter, or SDP, to include application micro-segmentation and endpoint protection.
TD Ameritrade Institutional, the custody arm for registered investment advisors, is also a participant in the CleverDome effort, joining as a “thought leadership” partner and contributing its expertise to the consortium. While not an official partner, TDA is actively involved in the endeavor.
The next steps for CleverDome are to increase the number of technology partners and custodians to get it to a critical mass level, which hopefully, according to the founders, will become the operating standard for client data communications and cybersecurity.
At the conference, real technology demonstrations and presentations filled the afternoon of the first day, dominated by the major financial planning applications, including eMoney and Advicent, with Money Guide Pro and Advizr set to be the keynotes the following morning.
The other buzz circulating at the conference was the launch of a new fintech accelerator, ScratchWorks. ScratchWorks is the brainchild of five prominent RIA firm executives to connect innovative technology companies with wealth management luminaries to advance the digital transformation of the financial services industry. These five executives headline some of the largest and most successful RIAs in the industry, including Mariner Wealth Advisors, RMB Capital, Covenant, Brighton Jones and The Colony Group, collectively managing over $60 billion in assets under management.
ScratchWorks invites early-stage fintech startups to pitch for a chance to attract investment from, and gain exposure to, some of the nation’s top wealth and investment management firms. FinTech companies seeking seed funding or early-stage investment submit an application via the ScratchWorks website and the finalists will be selected to pitch live at the Barron’s Top Advisor Summit in March 2018 for possible funding on the spot. Sponsored by Fidelity and the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business, ScratchWorks hopes to drive innovation in advisor technology and help the industry re-imagine financial technology.
Capping off the first day was the traditional grand opening of the T3 exhibit hall, a busy place stuffed with the top vendors to the independent RIA and broker-dealer industry. Typically dominated by the big vendors, newcomers dotted the conference, including AdvisorClarity, a fully outsourced, enterprise-class business intelligence platform designed to help advisors explore and analyze key performance indicators, including profitability, AUM, net new assets and client demographics.
After the close of the exhibit hall, attendees rushed out onto the Vegas Strip to take advantage of more networking in order to close deals and set strategic partnerships all while enjoying casino gaming and the colorful Las Vegas vibe.