In his interview on WealthTech Club, Alex Chalekian, CEO of Lake Avenue Financial, said that instead of increasing advisors’ efficiency, modern technologies make them work harder. Alex Chalekian talked about an ideal centralized solution with all the necessary tools onboard. Integrations make it possible to create platforms that gather all required specific tools in one place.
No wonder that integrations and saving advisors’ time were the two most popular topics at this year’s Technology Tools for Today (T3) conference. Judging by a number of presentations, WealthTech companies should think about how technology can free up advisors’ time instead of worrying about a traditional return on investment measured in dollars.
LPL Financial is one of those companies that does consider time an important aspect. LPL’s new goal, which is to save advisors at least one hour of each workday, was presented last summer by Dan Arnold, president and CEO. Today, we see that the company’s actions are all heading in this direction:
- A new digital account opening tool added to LPL’s ClientWorks is intended to save advisors five minutes.
- Integration with MyRepChat, an SMS texting platform for financial advisors, will save advisors a significant amount of time in sending compliant text messages to clients.
- AdvisoryWorld’s proposal generation tool integrated into LPL’s new account opening tool will make it easier for advisors to turn prospects into clients.
- Integration with Envestnet MoneyGuide enables seamless data flow between the MoneyGuide’s financial planning tool and LPL’s ClientWorks, which makes advisors’ work easier and more efficient.
Technology integration was another hot topic at T3. A number of WealthTech companies announced integrations with platforms or providers. One of these is Orion Advisor Services, which enhanced its integration with Salesforce and now has a new integration with MaxMyInterest, a cash-management optimization platform that captures the highest-possible FDIC-insured savings rates.
What makes integrations so popular in the WealthTech landscape is how they increase efficiency, reduce mistakes, and tailor platforms to specific needs of a particular niche of advisors or end investors. Users don’t need to switch from one platform to another to check and move data between systems.
However, the integration process itself is full of pitfalls to saving time if done wrong or by an inexperienced team. Custodians such as Fidelity Investments, LPL Financial, or BNY Mellon | Pershing provide both real-time and bulk integrations, and their sets of APIs are not trivial. If the integration team lacks the expertise to efficiently provide integration with a custodian, developers may spend significant amounts of time working even on simple tasks. This is why many WealthTech companies don’t do integrations themselves but delegate this work to vendors that have provided integration with custodians again and again and thus can save time, money, and nerves.
Aiming to make integrations easier, Fidelity created its Integration Xchange, an open architecture digital store, where developers and tech vendors can test various integrations and see how they fit with their existing platforms. According to Lisa Burns, head of platform technology at Fidelity Institutional, the company hopes to enable advisors to easily develop custom technology platforms.
In her speech on a T3 panel featuring women in Fintech, Lisa Burns mentioned that the financial services industry should become a more diverse and inclusive place. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) can help. For example, AI programs can help candidates check whether the company’s language in job postings is welcoming.
Continuing the topic, Danielle Fava, director of innovation at TD Ameritrade Institutional, talked about AI that automatically reviews resumes to filter out bad applications and spot potentially good hires. Such algorithms could save time and reduce cost per hire, which is extremely relevant, considering the exacerbating tech talent shortage problem.
At T3, AI was discussed as a technology that can reduce time spent on mundane tasks within financial planning processes. FP Alpha, a new AI-powered technology solution for financial advisors that was presented at T3 by Andrew Altfest, is designed to integrate AI algorithms into the financial planning process and enable advisors to save time and scale while adding more value to client relationships.
The T3 conference unveiled new trends in the wealth management industry. Today, apart from high returns, advisors are looking for ways to save time required to efficiently provide their services. All new integrations and tools launched by WealthTech companies aim to help advisors achieve this goal.