Orion Advisor Services unveiled two new integrations and two new features, one of which can stand alone, at the 2019 T3 Advisor Conference in Denton, Texas. Orion is integrating with business valuation company BizEquity and consumer credit reporting agency Experian, in addition to providing features around event-based notifications and compliance-related maintenance of advisors’ code of ethics.
Taking a different tack on a familiar theme—wealth transfer—Orion’s integration with BizEquity is designed to help advisors service small and medium business owners as they prepare to transfer $12 trillion in wealth over the next decade. It’s a more pressing need than the so-called “Great Wealth Transfer” of intergenerational wealth expected to take place over the next 30 years, said Jeff Kliewer, director of the firm’s integration partnerships. While 78 percent of business owners reported expecting to fund retirement through the sale of their businesses, just 40 percent of business owners actually had meaningful conversations with their advisors, he said.
The integration, which will be ready in February’s software release, provides a single sign-on from Orion into BizEquity and supports embedding a BizEquity questionnaire into the Orion Client Portal. The business valuation software helps advisors to identify key factors in business valuations and compares the client’s business to a database of 33 million business valuations stored by the firm Kliewer said.
“Advisors can have a conversation with clients around ‘Here’s what I’m seeing in your business,’” said Kliewer, “to show the client that they’ll be prepared when the time comes” for a possible sale.
Orion’s integration with Experian aims to “simplify engagement around ID protection,” said Eddie Sempek, Orion’s chief innovation officer. While the number of U.S. data breaches dropped in 2018, compared to the year prior, the breaches are getting bigger. In 2018, there were more than 446 million consumer records exposed that contained sensitive personally identifiable information, more than double the year prior, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Orion’s new integration is a way for advisors to provide a resource for clients while building trust with them, said Sempek. “Your clients are going through this day-in and day-out.”
The event-based notifications that Orion is building work with both text messages and email. Advisors can automate portions of their correspondence with clients, including milestones, like welcome messages and birthdays, alerts, such as RMDs, credit scores and distribution schedules, and updates, a category that ranges from notices about new accounts and market values to rebalances and even updated Riskalyze Risk Scores.
The system uses “dynamic at tags,” areas of a message that advisors personalize with linked client or account data, said Adam Palmer, business lead, client experience. Advisors select the email or text form they’ll use, set it up with an event, decide who will get the notification, add a subject and perhaps attach a report, personalize the message and send the notification.
“Clients need to feel engaged and in control of their finances, and one of the best ways to build that experience is to combine proactive outreach with a personal touch,” said CEO Eric Clarke in a prepared statement. The tool also works with other advisors, so the tool could be used as an automated way to review books of business or drum up competition across an advisor network.
On top of the integrations and event-based notifications, Orion teamed up with MarketCounsel, and OpenAdvisor’s AdvicePeriod to build Inform, a tool for monitoring employee trade activity and to help firms stay in compliance with Code of Ethics affirmations. Built on data aggregation provided by Quovo, the collaborating firms designed an interface that integrates with Orion’s Compass, or can stand alone.
Noting that third-party solutions were too limiting, Kylee Beach, Orion’s general counsel explained the intention behind the new tool. With the SEC devoting more resources to RIA exams, Orion and its partners wanted to come up with a new solution. Orion’s push into compliance technology signals a “new environment” for the firm, according to Beach, and is an area that continues to see interest from a variety of tech companies.