Craig’s Note: When we published our first FinPlan Shootout back in 2015, we had no idea that it would become our most popular post of all time and reach Google’s first page results for financial planning software and still be there two years later. Now it’s time for an update that is bigger and better, so we’ve doubled the number of products covered!
Our last review included only eMoney Advisor and MoneyGuidePro, but since then, Naviplan has repositioned to target mass affluent clients, so we included them and newcomer Advizr has gained enough market share to be worthy of consideration among the industry leaders.
This review was written by Josh Iverson, who also wrote the 2015 Finplan Shootout between eMoney and MoneyGuidePro. He has done a fantastic job of analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of these complex products and providing more than just a regurgitation of marketing materials or lists of features. He has included pros and cons and comparisons in each key functional area, to help advisors who might be on the fence when deciding which product is best for their firm.
The financial planning arms race has heated up in 2017, much like the geopolitical situation, with upstart competitors and grizzled veterans giving the industry leaders a run for the money. While the tension between nations ebbs and flows, the battle among these software heavyweights is likely to intensify as more and more advisors turn to planning to comply with regulations and improve their competitiveness.
As these apps gain in power and investors become increasingly comfortable viewing financial planning information online, a growing number of advisors interested in boosting client engagement have added one or more financial planning apps to their client services repertoire.
With a seemingly overwhelming amount of information available about the major finplan apps, choosing between them can be a tiresome chore for advisors who are already beset with a multitude of duties. In this review, we aim to cut through the noise and give advisors a helpful analysis of four leaders in the field that they can use when deciding which finplan app is best for them.
In no particular order, this mammoth review covers four products:
- eMoney Advisor from Fidelity
- MoneyGuide Pro from PIEtech
- Naviplan from Advicent
- Advizr from Advizr
The market for financial planning software has matured considerably in recent years as vendors leap frog each other with new releases that continue to add value to existing functionality and push the envelope with new functionality.
All four of the products in this review have robust offerings that have significant overlap in the following core features:
- Advanced financial planning
- Analytics and reporting
- Client Portal
- Document Vault
- Data Aggregation
- Decision Center
- Marketing content and tools
- Third Party Integrations
We will discuss each of the above issues functionality, but will avoid just listing standard functionality and instead focus on the aspects that differentiate each product from the others.
Founded in 2000, eMoney Advisor is a comprehensive financial planning software application that offers clients both, goals-based and cash-flow-based, analyses and projections.
Purchased by Fidelity over two years ago, the platform aggregates more than $1 trillion in client assets over more than two million accounts and services bulge-bracket clients, like TD Ameritrade, RBC Wealth Management, New York Life, and LPL Financial. The firm works with 46 of the top 50 broker dealers, which are capable of absorbing eMoney’s relatively higher cost.
According to a 2017 survey conducted by TechnologyToolsforToday, 25% of advisors were using eMoney Advisor.
eMoney recently added lead capture functionality that enables an advisor to add a link on their website or LinkedIn page that prospective clients can interact with. It prompts the prospect to provide basic information, asks them about their financial goals and displays how close they are to achieving those goals.
eMoney Advisor – Integrations
If the prospect is interested, they can then sign up for a meeting with the advisor. This feature is perfectly suited for the trend towards migrating financial activities (including finding an advisor) online, and puts eMoney ahead of the pack when it comes to helping advisors market their business as well as create financial plans for their clients.
The first thing we noticed on the eMoney advisor homepage was the “Financial Feed” section on the right-side of the screen, offering users a Facebook-like scrolling data feed. The feed provides advisors with real-time and interactive alerts, tasks and news, with embedded links to all of their data. This can be useful for tracking important updates that need to be communicated to clients.
Additionally, the feed displays alerts when a client has logged on to the client portal, added a new account or uploaded information to their profile. Also, eMoney is developing a new feature that will integrate financial data from external sources, which will help to build portfolio projections based on market events such as company earnings reports. The only downside to this data feed is that, like Facebook, it can bombard advisors with redundant and excessive notifications, during times of high client activity.
Meanwhile, in the main interface, the three primary categories highlighted are assets under management (organized by asset class, tax status, etc…), assets held away at other custodians and top movers, which displays the most active holdings in the advisor’s investment portfolio in real-time. The interface design uses color efficiently without overwhelming the end-user. The abundance of clean white space establishes the foundation for a modern and intuitive navigation experience, paring the interface down to its most essential and user-friendly form.
eMoney’s next-gen planning and analytics component might offer the platform’s greatest value proposition. This feature gives advisors three planning portals:
- Goal-Planner, for conventional retirement and education planning;
- Decision Center, for cash flow-centric planning; and
- Distribution Center, for estate planning.
All three portals have the same interactive functionality, embedded with a “what if” feature that provides a drop-down list of portfolio-disruptive scenarios, like a bear market, disability of a spouse, retirement, heightened inflation and other events. The platform also enables advisors to combine multiple what-if scenarios into their projections.
Analytics & Reporting
And for more detailed scenario insights, advisors can access the Decision Center and choose from three views: cash flow, detailed cash flow or a Monte Carlo analysis. eMoney’s analytics allows advisors to mine their book by age, institution, account type, managed assets vs. held-away assets, and a host of other offerings.
eMoney Advisor – Advisor Analytics
eMoney also offers clients a “techniques” function, where advisors can explore potential actions they can be taken to fund a goal or meet a cash-flow objective. A recent update allows advisors to purchase an add-on to view numerous charts at once instead of just a few – as many as 30 or 40 at a time.
eMoney’s balance sheet reporting provides a convenient, easy to follow listing of all client assets under the umbrella of the household. While their balance sheet functionality works well, it is not quite as easy to view specific sub-account breakdowns as it is in Advizr.
eMoney Advisor – Balance Sheet
Another impressive feature is eMoney’s client portal, which provides a welcoming, detail-rich and interactive user experience for clients. The portal displays a smorgasbord of relevant client information including total net worth, investments, insurance, budgets and spending in a way that delivers maximal transparency, while minimizing navigation difficulty.
The eMoney portal is arguably the best available in the industry, even when standalone portals and non-financial planning applications are included.
eMoney Advisor – Client Portal
It is so far ahead of its competitors that there are many advisors who use other financial planning tools will purchase eMoney just for access to the portal!
The client portal also facilitates the aggregation of held-away assets and accounts, which help advisors get a clearer picture of their clients’ financial lives. A recent update has made client navigation easier and more intuitive.
Another recent improvement allows clients to click on a ticker symbol from their portfolio to view Morningstar data. Additionally, eMoney has updated the client on-boarding process to include an interactive goals section where end-clients can easily add goals, track their progress towards funding those goals, and visualize how they impact their long-term financial outlook.
Third Party Integration and Data Aggregation
eMoney boasts some highly impressive integrations with CRM Redtail, portfolio management system Orion Advisor Services, Albridge Wealth Reporting, and Morningstar, to name a few. With all of these strategic partner integrations, an advisor’s workload can be reduced so by eliminating manual transfer of data between applications and duplicate entry.
eMoney’s leverages their internally developed data aggregation system that allows clients to pull holdings from accounts held at firms that aren’t covered by integrations. This differs from the other three competitors, which all use third-party aggregation products: Yodlee for MoneyGuide Pro and Quovo for Naviplan and Advizr.
eMoney Advisor – Integrations
There is no evidence that eMoney’s data aggregation is better or worse than Yodlee or Quovo, but they are all different in their underlying processes for analyzing and cleaning data and in the number and types of connections they have to the tens of thousands of financial institutions from which they pull data.
For advisors trying to choose between these four applications, if viewing outside assets is important to a majority of your clients or if you plan to encourage clients to aggregate their held-away accounts in your system, It’s critical for you to know where your clients’ outside assets are being held and note any concentrations at specific custodians or financial institutions.
The reason is that the different aggregation vendors have to develop relationships with all of the custodians, banks, broker-dealers and other financial institutions from which they pull data. Some of these connections are screen-scraping (reading the screens and extracting the data field by field) while others are direct feeds (where the financial institution sends data right to the aggregation vendor). The direct feeds are cleaner and less prone to errors.
If a large percentage of your clients’ held-away assets are located at a financial institution where there aggregation vendor has to use screen-scraping, then the data quality will not be as good. This would be one negative mark against the vendor when making your final decision.
The eMoney platform also boasts top-of-the-line security architecture. Although the cloud has been a well-documented haven for cyber attackers, eMoney uses 256-bit, Secure-Socket Layer encryption to safeguard client information, and stores all of its data in geographically separated data centers.
At an annual cost of $3,600 per advisor for the recently upgraded 360 Pro package, eMoney is more expensive than the average financial planning application. A discounted annual price of $2,400 per advisor is available for firms with 2 or more advisors, as long as all advisors in the firm are included as subscribers. eMoney also offers two other subscription models. emX for advisors looking for a more streamlined approach to planning and emX Select for those advisors looking to leverage eMoney’s features outside of planning. emX begins at $2,400 per year per advisor while emX Select starts at $1,800.
For the right advisor with the right clientele, the subscription price is well worth the investment. The user experience, intuitiveness and functionality of the platform are seamless, which makes eMoney stand out from the competition. Price discounts may be available if the advisor’s firm signs a deal for firmwide adoption of the software. The behemoth independent advisory firm LPL Financial has signed a such a deal, enabling it to use a white label version of the software.
Each financial planning application is graded in the six categories described above on a scale of 1 to 5. eMoney’s strong showing in their Client Portal, Planning, Analytics & Reporting and Security features helped them achieve an outstanding total score of 37 out of 40. This represents a .5 increase from our last review of the software two years ago, reflecting a bump from 4.0 to 4.5 in the Integrations & Aggregation category. This reflects eMoney’s move to bring aggregation in-house to gain greater control over the process.
MoneyGuidePro is another of the dominant players in the financial planning space. Developed by financial software company PIETech, it has been the most-used financial planning platform for the past seven years, according to a recent Financial Planning Magazine RIA survey.
42% of advisors polled in the T3 survey chose MoneyGuidePro as their main financial planning software.
MoneyGuidePro is a goals-based application, which, according to their marketing materials, is ideal for advisors servicing clients who are in the accumulation stages of the wealth cycle or have less than $1 million of investable assets. This places it squarely in the mass affluent market segment.
When it comes to financial planning software, their mantra is engagement. This philosophy is evident on MoneyGuidePro’s main menu interface with its integration of visually engaging icons that correspond to user options. Their liberal use of graphical controls such as gauges to indicate probability of success, sliders to allow users to adjust settings such as retirement age and life expectancy and drag and drop goal setting greatly improve usability.
With MoneyGuidePro’s SMART Portal, the client becomes an active participant in the planning process from the start. While the client is engaged in the process, the advisor maintains ultimate control. Also, the advisor controls the types of modules that the client can see.
Also, the platform’s PlayZone tool lets clients adjust assumptions to see how different moves affect their probability of success in a visual and interactive way. The program even allows advisors to model a variable annuity with a living benefit in the framework of a plan to see how their portfolio will react to different market events. Also, the client can also access data detail pages to view items, like year-by-year details of taxes, return on investments, retirement income, and projected expenses. This detail is useful in educating clients about the impact of inflation on the plan goals.
At the end of 2015 MGP added functionality that calculates health care out of pocket expenses, taking into account Medicare and private insurance coverage. This addition to the tool’s features puts MGP ahead of other finplan solutions when it comes to forecasting healthcare expenses. In 2016 the tool’s social security optimization function was updated, enabling it to account for the recent changes made to when and how individuals can file to claim social security.
Analytics & Reporting
The program’s presentation tool is another exceptional feature. After creating a client plan, MoneyGuidePro automatically converts the document into an engaging PowerPoint-style display, which visually engages the client with a host of graphically-rich information and data.
There is also a feature called Star Track, which allows advisor to save their clients’ plans and compare it with financial projections created in past years. However, Star Track only compares certain metrics, as opposed to the entire plan.
The main drawback to MoneyGuidePro’s reporting and analytics functionality is that it doesn’t rely on cash-flow data, which diminishes the accuracy of the projections. However, the lack of cash-flow-intensive analysis may not pose a problem for advisors with lower-net-worth clientele.
MoneyGuidePro offers the ability to run reports that display net worth by individual account and at the household level, which essentially functions as a balance sheet. While the net worth data is comprehensive, it is not easy to drill down into the underlying levels when in the household view. More granular detail is provided in the net worth report PDF.
MoneyGuidePro – Net Worth Summary
The planning tab at the top of the screen easily directs users to the client on-boarding portal, which is easy-to-navigate. Like eMoney, the portal design includes abundant white space with conservative splashes of color. But once the planning tab is accessed the platform’s data-input functionality shines.
The application has a life expectancy calculator where users can specify variables like, smoker or non-smoker status; their state of health and other detailed data points. From the information provided, the program can then predict the probability of living to various ages. And if the client is married, MoneyGuidePro will calculate the life expectancies of both husband and wife.
There have been some rumors that MoneyGuidePro has slowed down or stopped development work on their portal since so many of their clients use eMoney’s portal. We have even heard that they recommend their clients use eMoney’s portal instead of their own! While we couldn’t confirm this, eMoney and MoneyGuidePro were one of the first pairs of competitors to build integration hooks into each other’s products to provide tighter data transfer between them.
Third Party Integration and Aggregation
Integration with third party software and services is an area where MoneyGuidePro stands out from the rest of the field. They now interface with over 100 data providers, which is by far the largest of any financial planning application.
Support is provided for all of the leading products that most advisors are using such as CRM, account aggregation, portfolio management and client portals. Not only do they list all of their partners on their website, but clicking on the corresponding icon brings up a detailed breakdown of which interfaces are supported. This is extremely helpful for an advisor’s IT guys to know what can and can’t be done with each product. The app uses Yodlee for client account aggregation, which allows for information to be gathered from client accounts which are not available via an integration link.
PIEtech provides a comprehensive security program to protect MoneyGuidePro data. The company regularly performs reviews of its security procedures and proudly proclaims that is has never suffered any type of security breech.
To maximize data security, the company limits data stored in the app just to information necessary to create financial plans, and does not store or collect Social Security, credit card or account numbers.
Customer data collected for use in MoneyGuidePro is kept on servers owned and managed by PIEtech that are heavily secured, with multiple security controls including biometrics, keycard and PIN-code for physical access. The data center where the servers are located is SSAE-16 SOC 2 type II audited and certified on an annual basis.
Electronic security for client data is enhanced by protecting the app’s servers by redundant packet filter firewalls and by encrypting data in transit whenever it moves between a subscriber’s computer the PIEtech servers via Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols. Additionally, Symantec server-authentication PKI is used to assure users that they are logging on to the right website
The product sells for $1,295 a year for one advisor, which can be reduced to $995 if the advisor is associated with certain broker-dealers or custodians, for example, Charles Schwab. Discounts are also available for multiple users as follows:
- 2 users: $995 each
- 3 users: $975 each
- 4 users: $925 each
- 5-7 users: $850 each
- 9-20 users: $750 each
- 20-29 users: $725 each
- 30-50 users: $700 each
An additional $365 per advisor is charged to add account aggregation. The service is significantly less expensive than eMoney Advisor and Naviplan, and like its competitors, is a cloud-based solution.
Each financial planning application is graded in the six categories described above on a scale of 1 to 5. MoneyGuidePro was superior in user Experience and solid in all of the other categories, with a total score to 35.5 out of 40. The score rose 0.5 from our last review of the product as the app’s extensive security measures and performance boosted its Security ranking.
After years of operating as a finplan app particularly associated with advisors serving HNW/UHNW clients due to its extensive estate planning features, Naviplan made a major move towards mass market accessibility in the first quarter of 2017 by adding account aggregation to its impressive set of planning features.
While it lags behind its cash-flow based competitor eMoney when it comes to the sheer depth of its features set, its usability is a notch above eMoney from the standpoint of ease of use and clarity of reporting. This, combined with its newly-added aggregation capabilities, makes Naviplan well-positioned to compete for planning dominance with the industry leaders.
Naviplan’s user interface demonstrates that it’s possible to combine extensive functionality with efficient design. The main advisor page offers a plethora of options for you to select from without being so jam packed that you can’t make sense of what you’re seeing. The menu bar on the lefthand side of the screen offers access to the main financial planning functions, with the middle of the screen displaying the selected items.
Naviplan truly shines in its dialogue boxes, which makes it easy for both clients and advisors to enter the data necessary to complete a plan and to view alternative scenarios. Each step of the planning process is clearly detailed, and the resulting plan display does an excellent job of illustrating whether plan goals have been met and what needs to be done to meet them.
Naviplan offers comprehensive planning functionality. The software enables advisors to perform sophisticated financial modelling of major financial goals such as retirement, and college education. It also allows them to show how preparing for these types of goals affects your overall financial position and cash flow.
Naviplan – Cash Flow Module
The prompts for building a financial plan are well thought-out and easy to follow. The software makes it easy to explore a variety of options when calculating what is needed to achieve a goal. For instance, the retirement planning prompt allows you to easily see how making changes to the underlying assumptions changes your ability to achieve your goals.
An area where we found Naviplan to be easier to work with than eMoney was in modeling financial options for clients dealing with major financial changes such as selling a house or changing estate planning options. In these cases, Naviplan’s advantage over its competitor stemmed from its ability to seamlessly display multiple alternative planning scenarios side-by-side while retaining core client financial assumptions.
One area where Naviplan lags behind eMoney is in its lack of a document vault to store copies of important financial documents. However, this functionality is planned as a future add-on to the software.
Analytics & Reporting
Naviplan’s analytical and reporting capabilities are extensive, comparable to those offered by eMoney Advisor. The calculation engine can perform Monte Carlo analysis to stress test your financial plan to show potential outcomes. Morningstar Capital Markets assumptions can be used to project performance on your existing portfolio assets. Naviplan’s easy-to-understand interface and reports make it a pleasure to work with even when performing the most detailed financial analyses.
Naviplan – Analytics & Reporting Screen
The tool enables you to provide extensive information relating to cash flow and other details to make the financial planning process as informative as possible. This applies to goals such as planning for college or saving for retirement, where you can dive down into specific asset-level returns to make your projections as accurate as possible. While the app allows you to track income from investments, it doesn’t as yet offer the ability to track expenses at the same level of detail as its competitor eMoney, although functionality of this type is slated to be added in the future.
Balance sheet data is provided through the net worth module in Naviplan. Like Advizr, the app makes it easy to move between household view and subaccount view when looking at the contents of the reports, although its interface is not quite as intuitive as Advizr’s in this regard. The granular level of detail into various assets the module provides makes it possible to easily view and change the value of or add assets.
Naviplan – Net Worth Module
Intuitive is an apt description for Navipan’s client portal. It doesn’t try to do too much or crowd the screen with every option under the sun. Some finplan apps fall into the latter trap, which can more harm than good by making it difficult for a client to select the functions they’d like to use without extensive effort or on the phone – which is not something that already busy financial advisors would want to encourage.
Naviplan – Client Portal Retirement Assessment
Naviplan’s streamlined, easy-to-follow client portal design avoids this danger by making it easy for a client to find what they’re looking for. The main page lists the major menu items on the left side, reserving the center of the page for display of the selected menu item, such as client financial information, planning options, etc. A benefit of this approach from the navigational perspective is that the menu item display remains even after an item has been selected. This makes it easy for clients to move from one section of the portal to another.
Third Party Integration and Data Aggregation
Naviplan offers integration capability with a preponderance of the major data providers such as Pershing, Schwab Portfolio Center and Advisor Center, TD Ameritrade, Redtail, Albridge, and Orion. One major financial planning firm the solution doesn’t interface with is LPL Financial, but this is likely due to the deal LPL signed with eMoney to private label that tool for use by its advisors.
The company has been playing catch-up with eMoney Advisor and MGP when it comes to data aggregation, which enables client to link outside accounts not held at their financial advisor’s firm, such as 401ks, annuities, bank accounts, etc., so that the data can be aggregated in the financial planning tool. However, in the past year Naviplan has added aggregation functionality via third-party aggregator Quovo, upping its game and making it competitive with eMoney and MGP in this regard.
Naviplan clearly takes security seriously, having obtained ISO/IEC 27001 certification, the highest level of data security certification available for policies and procedures safeguarding security. The app also uses the highest level of physical security, by protecting client data by storing data in servers at a highly secure SSAE 16, Type-2 certified data center.
The app uses multiple points of defense against intrusion to keep data secure, and isolates the production environment from the ones used for development and testing. Tunnels that are encrypted using two-factor authentication are used to limit access to network services provided internally and externally.
One year of Naviplan retails for $2,415 for a single advisor shop. Adding in the client portal and aggregation raises the price to $3,857 per year. Discounts are available for multiple advisor installations as follows:
- 2-5: 10% price discount
- 6-10 20% price discount
- 11-25: 25% price discount
- 26-100: 30% price discount
There are also broker-dealer discounts available which can range from 5% to 15%, depending on the broker-dealer or advisory firm. In addition, if you sign up for more than one year in advance discounts are available as follows:
- 2 years: 5%
- 3 years: 10%
- 4 years: 15%
- 5 years: 20%
- 6 years: 25%
- 7 years: 30%
These discounts stack with other discounts, with 30% being the maximum discount available.
Naviplan scored an impressive 36.5 out of 40, led by its top marks in Client Portal, Analytics & Reporting, and Security.
The Advizr finplan app has mounted a strong challenge to the established industry leaders due to its highly efficient design. Debuting in 2013, the app has taken advantage of its status as a relative newcomer in the field to use technology that enables lightning fast construction of graphs that display a client’s financial status. The company behind Advizr recently raised funding from investors led by investment giants Franklin Templeton and SEI to enable the app to continue to improve its functionality going forward.
The Advizr interface is one of the most efficient we’ve seen. The main dashboard provides summaries of the most important data points, including potential asset gathering opportunities and top clients by assets. The process of entering or changing client data is also highly intuitive, as is the individual client display screen.
Advizr – Advisor Dashboard
The tremendously convenient interface design makes it easy to master using the tool. Advizr is clearly a next generation finplan solution. Each function is designed to offer the maximum amount of relevant data possible in a visually appealing format. A handy flag in the upper righthand corner of the screen provides notifications of client actions such as logging in to the portal, registering, or adding data through the data input wizard. When compared to eMoney Advisor or MoneyGuidePro, Advizr’s streamlined data collection and easy to use report functionality benefits from the newer technology used to build the app.
The client portal uses the same intuitive, easy to use interface as the advisor sees, but without the plan-building functionality available to the advisor. The advisor can switch to Presentation Mode to see how a client views the software. Upon sending the client an invitation to join the portal, the client is given access to the data entry portion of the software, where they can add asset information, upload data, and expenses and income. Once the advisor has created a financial plan, the client can be invited to view it through the portal.
Advizr – Net Worth Display
The client portal has an overview screen showing net worth, cash flow, current asset allocation, and the completed financial plan with recommendations if the advisor has authorized it. The other menu options on the client portal are Current Finances, which shows net worth and transactions, Financial Plan, Accounts, and a Document Vault for documents the client has uploaded. As with the advisor viewable portion of the tool, the display and graphics for presentation mode is top notch.
Advizr’s planning interface is streamlined and efficient. While the tool doesn’t probe as deeply into cash flow analysis as eMoney and Naviplan, it does offer robust cash flow planning functionality. Advizr does an excellent job of illustrating a client’s progress towards meeting major goals. The display of current versus proposed plans is very well done, with graphics that are easy to follow and clear recommendations to meet the goals.
Advizr – Retirement Analysis
The tool offers the ability to plan for a wide range of goals, including retirement, education, buying a car or house, managing debt and more. The planning process takes into account the client’s risk tolerance and all sources of income in providing planning recommendations. The process for creating a financial plan is well-designed. The plan creation wizard walks you through the various steps involved in creating a plan, and prompts you to complete any mandatory steps that were left undone. Once complete, if shortfalls are detected in the planning process they are addressed via recommendations such as taking a more aggressive investing posture or setting aside more money to meet a goal.
Analytics & Reporting
Advizr provides reports by the following categories: Net worth, Cash flow, Investment assets, Accounts. The reports provide a detailed breakdown by year of the expected cash flows or investment growth depending on the categories. While the tool doesn’t provide the same level of detailed cash flow analysis that eMoney and Naviplan offer, the analysis it does offer is presented well.
Advizr – Investment Assets Income Report
Reports on the advisor dashboard detail prospecting opportunities in the form of asset gathering opportunities and insurance opportunities.
Advizr’s balance sheet functionality is a cut above that of its competition. Its advanced screening and filtering allow clients and advisors to easily navigate from a household view of assets and liabilities down to a subaccount view by household member. You can then quickly view that person’s accounts individually. While other apps, such as eMoney, may offer the same overall ability to view assets and liabilities by household or individual, moving between these views can be a bit of a chore.
Advizr – Balance Sheet View
Third Party Integration and Aggregation
While Advizr can’t compete as of yet with the volume of integrations a long-established tool such as MGP has amassed, it nevertheless offers a solid roster of integrations, including:
- Black Diamond
- Charles Schwab
- TD Ameritrade
The finplan tool uses Quovo, the same third-party aggregator used by Naviplan.
Advizr takes a robust approach to security, using the latest high security web design to ensure data security. The service is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which uses SOC1 compliance guidelines. This enables Advizr to utilize the compliance and security features offer by Amazon, including their availability SLA (service level agreement).
To increase security further, the tool uses Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), which is a logically isolated segment of AWS. This allows the tool’s data to reside on private subnets with AWS, to help ward against unauthorized traffic. Additionally, sensitive client data is protected further by the use of 256-bit encryption technology.
Advizr retails for $125 per month per advisor including the aggregation and client portal, with various discounts available.
- 15% discount for advisor associated with certain custodians and broker-dealers such as TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, and Pershing.
- For 3 advisors: $118.75 per advisor
- For 10 advisors: $112.50
- For 50 advisors: $106.25
Advizr earned a solid score of 35.0 out of 40.0. The app shone in the User Experience and Balance Sheet categories and achieved solid marks in the other categories.
Which is the Best Financial Planning Software?
While all four of these applications have compelling benefits and features, eMoney Advisor, Naviplan and Advizr are more sophisticated products when it comes to the ability to analyze cash flows and perform sophisticated analysis of estate, retirement and education-funding planning using this data (with the first two able to provide a greater level of granularity in this regard than Advizr). This doesn’t imply by any means that MoneyGuidePro isn’t a robust planning application, just that it isn’t as targeted towards high-end advisors with upper-market HNW clientele who are seeking this type of analysis.
Advisors working with more middle-market clients, who don’t require the extremely detailed cash flow analysis capability of eMoney Advisor or Naviplan may find MGP or Advizr (which offers less detailed cash flow capabilities than the first two apps) are better fits for their practices. These two applications feature easy-to-use functionality that make it simple for both the advisor and client to quickly understand the financial concepts being presented. MoneyGuidePro has the advantage of offering the best integrations on the market, although the other apps are no slouches in this regard either.
Both Naviplan and Advizr benefit from having extremely intuitive interfaces and reporting functionality, making them industry leaders in this regard in our view. However, eMoney Advisor and MoneyGuidePro have made recent updates to their software to improve its usability. Thus, the slight advantage offered by Naviplan and Advizr in this area is not necessarily decisive. With more extensive feature sets than the other two competitors, eMoney Advisor and MoneyGuidePro continue to be compelling solutions for the money, making it difficult to anoint a clear leader among these apps.
When considering financial planning software for financial advisors, both eMoney Advisor and Naviplan are excellent solutions for upper-level-AUM advisors, while MoneyGuidePro is ideal for the conventional wealth manager, with Advizr able to serve as a good fit for either type of advisor depending on the situation.
There are a number of other applications that didn’t make the cut that we wanted to mention:
- FinanceLogix from Envestnet (See FinPlan Shootout: Finance Logix Review)
- MoneyTree – They offer a number of different packages depending on your needs and firm size. You can find a recent review here.
- RightCapital – Another (relatively) new player that launched their product in September 2015. Recently secured $1.6 million in seed funding and claim to have over 800 clients. According to Michael Kitces, their goal is to deliver theanalytical depth of tax-sensitive tools like NaviPlan and MoneyTree, but built within a new and modern user interface.
- RetireUp – Offers support for annuities in retirement income planning.
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Craig’s Note: In order to avoid any conflict of interest while writing product reviews, we setup a Chinese Wall between our consulting work and our blogging. In this case, Advizr is a consulting client of Ezra Group, so we took great pains to maintain separation between the two areas.
Josh (the author of this article) is an independent contractor who was paid only to write this review and has no knowledge or involvement with our consulting business. In fact, if he is reading this note, this is the first time he is being made aware that one of the vendors is, in fact, a consulting client of ours.
And while I did edit this article, it was only for grammar and readability. I did not change or influence any of the vendors’ pros/cons, strengths/weaknesses or final scores. Those were solely decided on by Josh.