Ezra Group WealthTech Integration Scores™

Overview

The Ezra Group WealthTech Integration Score™ is built on a 10-point scale which is designed to evaluate the robustness of an application’s external integrations.  After over three decades in financial services and 18+ years in wealth management, we came to the conclusion that integrations were difficult to evaluate when making software buying decisions and also difficult to implement since many vendors did not provide adequate support.

It seemed logical that the best way to help the industry was to develop an objective methodology for comparing the robustness of integrations across the wide range of wealthtech applications.

We spent more than six months contacting hundreds of vendors to query them about their integrations and tweaking the calculation algorithm to generate a fair scoring process that would stand up to any scrutiny.

And that’s how the Ezra Group WealthTech Integration Score™ was born.

Scoring Criteria

The Ezra Group WealthTech Integration Score™ is based on three weighted criteria:

CriteriaWeight
Breadth – How many other applications are integrated with this one, and are they applications that are popular among wealth managers? 25%
Depth – How “feature rich” is each integration? Is it simply a “Single Sign On” or something deeper? 50%
Usability – Security certifications, presence and functionality of GET and POST APIs, authentication protocols, developer support including developer portal, sandbox, quality of documentation, etc.25%

Breadth

Breadth measures how many integrations that an application has, regardless of their depth. This criteria makes up only 25% of the total score, which we deliberately kept low to avoid vendors gaming the system by creating lots of single sign ons (SSO) to increase their score.  

Breadth is the only criteria that is a relative calculation within each category. The highest number of integrations in each category becomes the denominator for the rest. This means that an application’s score could go down even though they didn’t make any changes if the #1 application in the category builds new integrations since the breadth denominator would increase, slightly lowering everyone’s breadth score in the category. 

We also provide a boost for integrations to the list of key applications, which are listed below.

Depth

Depth measures the robustness of the integrations and is worth 50% of the total. Each integration is assigned a depth rating of 1 to 5 based on the following:

RatingDescription
0No integration
1Single Sign On – After having signed on to the application being scored, it is possible to sign on to the other application with a single “click”. The login information is transferred from the scored app to the integrated app without the need to provide additional credentials. However, the two applications do not share or transfer data. This is the most common “integration” (in part because it is easy to implement).
2Ability to perform one or more functions from either of the applications while “inside” the other. Typically allows for creation/viewing of reports or iframes. Data is not transferred between the two applications.
3Transfer of (some) data from either application. The assumption is that the integrator will have determined which direction the data should move based upon the categories of the applications they are integrating with. For example, since CRMs are usually the golden source for contact data, this information should into other applications like financial planning, digital marketing, etc. Similarly, the score generated by risk tolerance applications should flow out and into CRM, financial planning, etc.
4Transfer of (some) data both to and from the applications (aka bidirectional sync). For example some client data entered into a CRM can be transferred to a financial planning app, which could also send data back into the CRM. Bidirectional transfers are almost always implemented via GET and POST API calls.
5This is the highest level of integration. But this may differ from category to category. Striving to make every integration a “Level 5” is likely not an effective use of development resources.
Integration RatingColor CodeWeighted Score
SuperiorBlue8.0 – 10.0
ExcellentGreen6.0 – 7.9
AverageYellow4.0 – 5.9
Needs ImprovementRed0.0 – 3.9

We originally considered calculating an application’s total depth score as a simple average of all its individual integration ratings.  However, this penalizes those applications with a large number of integrations, when some are not of the highest level.  

Consider two apps, one with 5 integrations at level 5 and another 5 at level 1, and the other with 5 integrations at level 3.  If we just took the average they would both get the same score!  So what we did was use each higher level integration to offset a lower level integration if one exists. 

Usability

Usability measures the level of developer support provided by the vendor and includes documentation, tools, sample code, etc. as well as authorization and security protocols. This criteria counts for the final 25% of the total score. 

We check the certifications of each vendor (i.e., SOC2, PEN tests, ISO 27001) and the specific authorization software they have implemented, along with questions about their developer support.

Key Applications

Consider two applications, X and Y.  Both integrate with 10 other applications, but those that X integrates with are used by far more advisors than the ones that Y integrates with.  All else equal, it seems reasonable that X should receive a higher integration score than Y because their integrations will be useful to more advisors.  

As part of our scoring methodology, Ezra Group developed a list of two dozen applications and custodians that are popular with advisors.  These include the big three custodians (Schwab/TDA, Fidelity and Pershing), CRM apps (Redtail, Salesforce and Wealthbox), financial planning apps (eMoney, MoneyGuide and Right Capital), plus other apps such as Albridge, Black Diamond, Morningstar Advisor Workstation, Orion, Tamarac, etc.  

We created this list based on several surveys including T3, Kitces, Financial Planning Magazine and others, and we intend to revisit it on an annual basis.

Kitces AdvisorTech Directory

The integration scores are assigned a color code as indicated below that will appear in the Kitces Financial AdvisorTech Directory in as follows:

Integration RatingColor CodeWeighted Score
SuperiorBlue8.0 – 10.0
ExcellentGreen6.0 – 7.9
AverageYellow4.0 – 5.9
Needs ImprovementRed0.0 – 3.9

Ezra Group Integration Development Services

Ezra Group serves the wealth management industry including RIA’s, RIA Aggregators, Broker-Dealers, TAMPs, and other institutional advisory firms. If your firm provides services or products to this segment of the industry, your product(s) will be included in the Ezra Group Wealthtech Integration Score.

Like Consumer Reports™, once your service or product is assigned to a category, it will be measured against other vendors in that category. There is no opt out option.

If a vendor would like to open a conversation to change categories on either the Ezra Group Integration Score and/or the Kitces Financial AdvisorTech Directory, please use the link here to develop your category change case.

Leadership for Ezra Group and Kitces meets periodically to review market trends, vendor and consumer feedback, and may make changes accordingly to our methodology, scores, and categorizations.Should you have additional questions, please submit your feedback here.