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Riskalyze Fintech Report Card: April 2020

Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein gives the thumbs-up or thumbs-down on the biggest news to hit advisor technology in the previous month.

Orion Launches Marketing Tool

thumbs up What Happened: Orion Advisor Tech released its new marketing automation platform, called Market*r. Advisors will be able to customize and use the content for various financial planning–focused marketing campaigns.

Why It Matters: The arena of marketing automation tools for advisors is suddenly getting crowded. For many years, it seemed that FMG Suite had the market cornered. Then Snappy Kraken came along with a unique twist on automated campaigns, and Twenty Over Ten followed with their new Lead Pilot offering. Orion’s deep knowledge of advisory businesses and its internal team of marketing staff give it a head start as it begins to venture into the space as well.

Disclosure: I sit on the Snappy Kraken board, and Orion, Twenty Over Ten and Snappy are all Riskalyze integration partners.

NaviPlan Provides Free Client Portal Access

thumbs up What Happened: Advicent, makers of the NaviPlan financial planning system, will offer free access to its client portal through the end of 2021.

Why It Matters: When the COVID-19 lockdown hit, some technology companies looked for ways they could help ease the margin squeeze that AUM-based advisors were about to experience. Amid the ever-competitive financial planning market, NaviPlan’s plan also has a long-term bonus. As more advisors test out and embed its client portal into everyday operations, their likelihood of growth among RIAs also increases.

FiComm Partners Launches Video-First Advisor Education

thumbs up What Happened: FiComm announced an Advisor Education series dedicated to helping advisors improve their video communication skills.

Why It Matters: In a time of no physical contact or in-person meetings, the best way to simulate that environment is to get on camera. Advisors have long been told they need to use video more, and now is the perfect time. FiComm is a longtime friend of Riskalyze, and I know Megan Carpenter and her team have the right skills to help advisors win business in this new normal.

Disclosure: FiComm provides PR services for Riskalyze.

Motif Investing Shuts Down

thumbs down What Happened: One of the more unique self-directed investing services, Motif Investing, announced it would be moving client assets to Folio, and selling its technology and IP to Schwab.

Why It Matters: The market for automated self-directed investing services is pretty vanilla—you get your portfolio managed by an algorithm for cheap and get some call-in CFP help when you have a few more questions. Motif launched with the idea that users could create and share their own allocations and build portfolios around certain themes. They also explored taking this innovative approach to advisors and got more than a few of them excited about that vision. It’s a bummer to see Motif shut down; we need more of the status quo–challenging ideas like the ones it brought to the table.

SoFi Buys Galileo

thinking face emoji What Happened: SoFi, a financial services firm offering loans, investing and cash management services, acquired the payment processing app Galileo for the hefty sum of $1.2 billion.

Why It Matters: Is this just about the consumer, or is SoFi thinking about how to serve RIAs? Galileo had started making some inroads there, striking deals to allow Carson Group and Independent Financial Partners to offer high-yield cash accounts to their clients.

Wells Fargo’s Robo Advisor Lowers Fees

thinking face emoji What Happened: Wells Fargo dropped the entry fee for its self-directed investing service, Intuitive Investor, by half down to $5,000 and cut its annual advisory fee from 50 to 35 basis points.

Why It Matters: When you drop the minimum investment and the fee, that’s a sign you’re not getting the growth you were shooting for. It’s a new day at Wells with new leadership, but time will tell if a price cut can get them the traction they are looking for.

Apprise Labs Officially Launches

thumbs up What Happened: Apprise Labs, which offers financial planning tools geared toward family offices and high-net-worth clients, officially entered the market and is now available.

Why It Matters: For the financial planners who work with very HNW clients, their choice of financial planning software is a bit like a religion. Is there room for a new player at the top of the value stack? MoneyGuide bet yes when it became a sponsor of Apprise. eMoney has signaled it’ll try to counter this move from its former founder. It’s going to be fascinating to watch.

Square and PayPal Process PPP Loans

thumbs upWhat Happened: Fintech companies Square, Intuit and PayPal were all approved to participate in loans as part of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

Why It Matters: The convergence of traditional banking and fintech has been happening for some time now, but this move marks a new era that could break the hold traditional banks have on lending. It’s no secret that traditional banking isn’t very user-friendly. It’ll be interesting to see if this changes the loyalty that many small businesses have historically shown to large banks that couldn’t come through with PPP loans for them.

Schwab IMPACT Goes Virtual

thinking face emoji What Happened: Schwab announced its annual IMPACT conference, the largest in the financial advice industry, would move to an all-virtual conference in 2020 amid ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns.

Why It Matters: We’re about to see our first real test of how advisors might be open to virtual events—and how organizers can craft them to stack up against their in-person equivalents. The primary draw of IMPACT—beyond the CE credits—is the networking with advisors and industry experts. If they can replicate that experience, will all the half-baked events start to go virtual, even if the big ones like IMPACT come roaring back in 2021?

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