Pershing announced at its annual conference this week that it is deepening its integrations with some partners and offering a full stack of others across the different types of vendors an advisor may work with.
The firm has formed a new Integration Advisory Council, made up initially of 14 tech vendors, including Envestnet, MoneyGuidePro and Redtail Technology, to name a few. That number will likely increase, but even now, the vendors on the council represent the important parts of the advisor’s value chain, said Ram Nagappan, chief information officer of Pershing.
The clearing and custody firm will work with these companies to form deeper integrations, which will be unique to Pershing.
“We may have a lot of integration, but some could be simple framing; some could be just a simple data exchange, but the result, what the client is expecting, is the most unique experience with that integration,” Nagappan said. “People use the word 'deeper.' This one is actually defining how deep and what it is and also articulating what is the output experience you’ll get. That’s the difference.”
Pershing will also work with these vendors to develop a certification methodology for validating or testing a technology’s level of integration. This way advisors will have ongoing validation that a particular technology is well-integrated into Pershing’s systems.
Another big change that will be reflected in the tech offering is a shift from an account view to a client view.
“The advisor knows that their practice is based on a relationship, not an account,” Nagappan said. “When they look at a household, they’ll have six accounts; they don’t know how to name it. They’ll be duplicating a lot of effort. This client-centric householding eliminates that, and that is how the advisor actually runs their practice.”
This year Pershing will release new functionality that allows an advisor to view balances, holdings, activities and projected cash flow on a client basis, rather than by account.
The firm also introduced new capabilities in the move toward a paperless environment. The firm has had e-signature for years, and, of course, advisors have paperless account opening for most types of accounts. But the firm’s now working on that for more complicated account types. For instance, it has announced e-signature capabilities for annuities and some other products.
But onboarding also involves fund transfer and fund movement through the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service. Pershing is digitizing that process as well.
Pershing also announced today the rollout of a new technology assessment tool, powered by advisor-technology cosultancy ActiFi, which will create a report of recommendations for software based on an advisor's tech needs.
"The report compares solutions in terms of cost, implementation, integrations, data management, special features, ease of use and other factors. It also includes in-depth profiles of vendors, guidance for creating a Request for Proposal (RFP), and recommendations for implementation," the firm said in a statement.
“Pershing has probably the broadest, most focused vision of all the custodians on bringing benefits of digital wealth management to bear," said Tim Welsh, president, CEO and founder of Nexus Strategy. "It is very broad. They’re thinking about the whole thing—the advisor, the back-office person, the compliance person, the CEO, the COO. They’ve really taken a broad vision to architecting their solutions.”