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T3 founder Joel Bruckenstein
T3 founder Joel Bruckenstein

T3: Rapid Uptick in Tax and Estate Planning Software By Advisors

Double-digit percentage point gains in both were notable findings in the annual advisor tech survey revealed at the T3 conference this week, as was the persistently low adoption of cybersecurity tools.

Financial advisor use of both tax planning and estate planning software spiked dramatically over the past two years.

That was among the more notable takeaways in the T3/Inside Information Advisor Software Survey, unveiled at the Technology Tools for Today (T3) conference this week.

The survey collected responses from 2,917 firms, about half of which had less than $1 million in revenue and fewer than 20 years in business. The annual survey is meant to uncover how many advisors are using different categories of software in their practices, and the market share of the most widely adopted firms. 

Beyond the double-digit percentage point uptick in tax and estate planning software since 2022, this year's edition revealed new categories of tech making inroads with advisors, including healthcare planning, data warehousing and retirement income planning.

Of note in this year's survey was the finding that two out of 10 advisors that custody with Charles Schwab report they are considering switching or adding custodians in the wake of that firm's conversion of TD Ameritrade advisors last year.  Altruist and Fidelity topped the list of likely benefactors, the survey revealed.

The TD Ameritrade conversion to Schwab took the custodian’s historically high rankings off the table, with Schwab Advisor Center jumping in market share from 26.05% in 2023 to 38.43% in 2024. Following close behind were Fidelity Wealthscape, with 16.66% market share, and Pershing NetX360+, with 9.46%.

None of the three scored over 8 on the satisfaction score. Fourth on the list, SEI Wealth Platform, with a 3.98% market share, and Altruist, with 2.85%, each registered higher satisfaction ratings among users. 

The T3 data suggests that 19.71% of surveyed Schwab-affiliated advisors said they were considering changing or adding a new custodian in the next 18 months. Among those, 11.89% said they were considering Altruist and 10.1% said they were considering Fidelity.

The most notable change revealed by the survey, however, was the dramatic rise in the percentage of advisors using tax planning and estate planning software. 

Tax planning software went from being used by some 29% of advisors in 2022 to 43% this year. The three firms leading the charge? Holistiplan, with 31.98% market share, FP Alpha, with 3.94%, and Intuit ProConnect/ProSeries, with 2.61%. All three had satisfaction levels of over 8, but Holistiplan had by far the highest, with a 9.14.

“These are impressive numbers,” said T3 founder Joel Bruckenstein. “I take my hat off to those folks. They’re doing a great job.”

Estate planning software use also spiked sharply among advisors. In 2022 it was used by only 10.95% of advisors. In 2024, the usage rate jumped to 39.32%. Among the three most popular options were eMoney Module, with 17.21% market share, MoneyGuide/Wealth Studios, with 8.67%, and RightCapital Module, with 7.82%.

Two of the three, eMoney and RightCapital, only appeared in the estate planning software category this year.

Retirement distribution planning technology as a category was “moving in the right direction," Bruckenstein said, as adoption was still "worrisomely low" as it rose from 10.7% market share in 2022 to 15.19% in 2024. The top three in this category were Income Lab, with 4.15% market share, FP Alpha, with 4.11%, and Income Solver, with 3.05%.

For the first time, this year’s survey included categories for healthcare planning, which started to creep into some advisors' tech stacks.

Healthcare planning firm Caribou by far the highest satisfaction score of the category, at 8.54 out of 10.

Christine Simone, CEO of Caribou, said advisors appreciate they are not selling insurance plans, but instead offer guidance on healthcare planning.

“This is something that is tailored and most utilized amongst people who are about to retire or in retirement,” she said. “The untapped opportunity for advisors is younger clients that are going through life events as well.”

Broad categories that had the highest level of reported satisfaction rates were document processing, scoring 8.1 out of a possible 10, cybersecurity, with 8.08, and tax planning, with 8.02.

Though cybersecurity technology in general had high satisfaction ratings, overall market use remains low, with just one out of four advisors using cybersecurity software, up only three percentage points from 2022.

The top three firms in the category, according to the survey, were Smarsh Entreda Unify, with 11.93% market share, KnowBe4, with 6.51%, and WebRoot, with 2.81%.

“It’s one of my pet peeves,” said Bruckenstein. “You guys are not doing enough on cybersecurity. Incrementally you’re getting better, but every single person in this room should be able to say, ‘I have a cybersecurity expert.’”

Notably, overall use of CRMs declined slightly over the past two years, but still used by over nine out of10ten advisors. Redtail was still the most popular among survey respondents, with a 45.59% market share, Wealthbox followed with 14.67%, and AdvisorEngine CRM, with 10.7%. AdvisorEngine more than doubled its 2023 market share of 5.32%.

Digital marketing software dropped six percentage points over the past two years to 23% of all advisors in 2024, the report showed. Top three providers were FMG/Twenty Over Ten/MarketingPro, with a 10.9% market share, Nitrogen, with 4.35%, and Snappy Kraken, with 3.94%. All three of these scored less than an 8 on the satisfaction rankings out of a possible 10.

“Some of the tools folks are using in the industry, they’re not happy with,” said Bruckenstein.

Financial planning, already widely adopted, showed incremental gains, the survey revealed, with over eight in ten respondents using the tools. Most popular were MoneyGuidePro Elite, used by 33.36% of advisors, eMoney Pro, used by 29.5% of the market, and RightCapital, with 14.64%. Bruckenstein said MoneyGuidePro’s dominance in this category for over a decade “speaks well of what they’ve been doing. They continue to invest in the product.”

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