Advisors using Orion Advisor Solutions’ planning software will be able to service their pro bono clients free of charge, whether they use Orion’s tech platform or not, according to an announcement.
First revealed at the 2021 AdviceTech.LIVE virtual conference, Orion will be waiving data aggregation costs for pro bono clients using Orion Planning, and it will be giving advisors not currently on the platform access to the service when “used for the benefit of pro bono clients.” Orion is “relying on the advisor to identify [his or her] pro bono clients,” according to a spokesperson for the firm.
The announcement comes as Orion deepens its connection with the Foundation for Financial Planning, a nonprofit whose mission is to connect financial advisors offering free financial planning to “people in crisis or need.” Orion CEO Eric Clarke is a member of the FFP’s board of trustees and Corporate Advisory Council.
“As pro bono service grows across the profession, access to tech solutions that can drive more scale and impact will be critical,” said FFP CEO Jon Dauphiné, in a statement. “We applaud this commitment to expanding access to great technology that can help advisors assist their pro bono clients.”
Clarke would like to see advisors donate “at least 25 hours of pro bono service every year,” he said. The need has only grown more urgent with the pandemic’s upending of the economy and the uncertainty that lies ahead.
Pro bono clients and advisors offering Orion’s services can expect to receive budgeting, debt and cash management tools, as well as a summary of next actions designed to help clients reach their goals.
Women have faced a series of particularly difficult challenges due to the pandemic, with many facing job losses mixed with weighty caregiving responsibilities, according to one survey. XY Planning Network began offering fee-free services to those affected by the pandemic as early as March 2020. The network also offered free financial advice during the 2018-2019 government shutdown, alongside Betterment.