Before he started the portfolio management technology provider Advyzon, Hailin Li spent more than 16 years with Morningstar. In his final role there he served as senior vice president of advisor solutions, where he oversaw the company's global advisor market. In 2000, he led the team that launched Morningstar Advisor Workstation and from 2003 to 2010, he served as product manager for Morningstar Office. Li founded yHLsoft, Inc. (Advyzon’s parent company) in 2012 and since then the company's platform has grown its user base to over 1,400 advisory firms.
Advyzon announced Oct. 18 an integration with popular financial planning application RightCapital that allowed data synchronization between the two platforms, among other features.
Li spoke with Wealthmanagement.com about the latest developments at his firm, as well as what drove him to start the company, how it has been using artificial intelligence, and its philosophy regarding integrations and its upcoming inaugural conference.
This Q&A has been edited for style, length and clarity.
Wealthmanagement.com: Take me back to when you started Advyzon. What was the impetus, what, specifically, was missing in the larger market?
Hailin Li: Around 2012, Morningstar changed gears. They were more focused on institutional investors and data instead of the advisor business. That's when I started to think, “If you wouldn't do it, I would.”
The vision was an all-in-one user experience. The goal was to make the lives of advisors easier and help grow their businesses profitably. Eighteen months after we started, we built the first version of Advyzon from the ground up.
We’re now working on the same vision, upgrading the user experience and adding more AI insights and information.
WM: I’m glad you mentioned AI. Tell me more about how you started using that and any hiccups you’ve encountered along the way.
HL: We already had the intention to do more with insights and analytics. We saved all the clicks, all the pageviews of our users from 2014 until today. The intention is to delve into the data further and uncover more insights.
This generative AI is going to change everything because they're going to help you summarize and then figure out what to do. But, since last year, when ChatGPT was launched, there has been a huge privacy issue. You cannot use ChatGPT with client data.
Microsoft and Meta really opened this up with Llama 2, their open-source large language model. That’s going to change everything. Now we are deploying that. We already did some research there, putting our data into it. We’ve got some interesting stats already.
WM: Switching gears, you announced an integration with RightCapital last week. I know you’ve had many integrations over the years but tell me specifically about this one and your philosophy on integrations in general.
HL: We are not just picking any integration and just doing it. We are looking from the user's perspective how that integration becomes part of the user's journey. Instead of as an add-on, look at any integration we do, with even Nitrogen. We use the “Risk Numbers” on the client homepage if the advisor turns on the integration.
Same with RightCapital. Everything we do is a part of the user experience journey. With account opening, the advisor selects the corresponding client account they want to create. After that, we do all the validation, pre-populate all the data and then go through APIs. We show the advisor the result. That’s instead of them having to click here, go there and figure out things on their own.
WM: I know you also announced your inaugural Advyzon Conference, which will take place Feb. 20 to 22, 2024 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. How did that come about and what should attendees expect?
HL: We will try to share our insights, our view of the direction we're headed and our technology. We have some industry experts there to share their views. Investment management is going to become more and more of a commodity, right? How do we differentiate and offer advisor services? This conference provides another venue for advisors to share their views. We share ours and enhance that experience. That will also create a sense of community, too, among our users and prospects alike.