Welcome to 2019! It's the 50th anniversary of both the Woodstock Music Festival and the Neil Armstrong's Giant Leap for Mankind. Somehow I don't think we'll be able to top either of those events, but that won't stop us from trying!
Every year we compile this list of the most viewed articles here on Wealth Management Today. it's a handy resource for any readers who might have accidentally missed a post or two. It's also useful for those who might be new to the industry (welcome!) and want to get up to speed.
We're here to help everyone who is as interested in this space as we are. From Wealth Management AI, Winners of WealthTech, Conference Summaries and stranger things in the wealth management technology and digital banking industry, here are the top ten posts of 2018.
Kicking off our top 10 is a discussion of some of the dozens of vendors who have launched AI products for the wealth management space. While all of them claim that their software is the best for any client problem, we provide some objective analysis.
This is the fifth article in our Winners of WealthTech series, where I interview people who have made a name for themselves in wealth management technology and have a track record of innovation and success.
Lori was one of the founders of Envestnet and was instrumental in guiding them from a minor player to the largest TAMP and technology provider in the wealth management space. After 15 years, she left to become founder and president of Advisor Innovation Labs (AI Labs), which is developing engagement apps to improve workflows between advisors, clients and partners.
Both banks and wealth management firms need digital advice solutions to better scale their business and service more clients without increasing costs. Advisors are also driving the move towards passive investments to protect their own fees, but the next 50 bps reduction will eventually have to come out of their pockets.
"The battle between every startup and incumbent comes down to whether the startup gets distribution before the incumbent gets innovation."
I felt as though I was witnessing this ongoing struggle live last week at the In|Vest NYC conference. There were the incumbents like J. P. Morgan, Wells Fargo and Charles Schwab doing their best to talk up their innovation while smaller players like Acorns, SigFig and Jemstep, Inc.were talking about their expanding distribution.
Insights from Ron Carson, CEO of Carson Wealth, Catherine Flax, CEO of Pefin, Angela Pecoraro, CEO or Advicent, SigFig CEO Mike Shia, Kendra Thompson from Accenture, Josh Book, CEO at ParameterInsights, Nina O'Neal from Archer Investment Management, Michael Kitces, Suleman Din from American Banker, Bradley Leimer, Co-Founder, Unconventional Ventures, Ian McKenna, Director of Finance & Technology Research Centre, Natalie Wolfson of @AssetMark, Kunal Kapoor, CEO of Morningstar and Anton Honikman, CEO of MyVest.
This year's Advisor Summit included a number of financial planning feature announcements. Envestnet is definitely targeting competitors like eMoney, Advizr and maybe even Naviplan who all offer support for trust and estates.
Insights from Jud Bergman, CEO of Envestnet, Stuart DePina, CEO of Tamarac, Bill Crager, President of Envestnet, and Brandon Rembe, CTO of Tamarac.
A report by Oracle showed banks are using different approaches to drive their digital strategies and compete with fintech companies. Bank of America's Chief Operations & Technology Officer Catherine Bessant believes AI will make or break banks, either through its misuse and resulting reputational damage, or by gaining operational scale and increasing the ability to recruit critical technology talent going forward.
The industry is in desperate need of a "Holy Grail" of financial cyber-security: a regulatory-compliant, end-to-end solution where all data is encrypted before being sent over the Internet, and all participants have been verified as having implemented the required security processes.
I felt that this conference was one of the best that Joel has run based on the number of attendees, breakdown of advisors versus vendors and quality of speakers. Everyone I spoke to had nothing but positive feedback, with the exception being the long lines we had to wait in for the craft beer tasting.
Insights from Joel Bruckenstein, CEO of T3, Ric Edelman, CEO of Edelman Financial, AdvisorEngine CEO Rich Cancro, Aaron Klein, CEO of Riskalyze, Eric Clarke, CEO of Orion Advisor, LifeYield's CEO, Mark Hoffman and Adam Holt, CEO of Asset-Map, Dani Fava from TD Ameritrade.
The rate of change is increasing in the world of RIA technology. More and more functionality is being packed into the same software space as vendors try to expand their footprint on the RIA desktop and back office. AdvisorEngine has pivoted from robo-platform to end-to-end wealth management platform in the space of just a few years and have now added Junxure CRM to their toolbox. Will they soon be able to take clients from industry leaders Tamarac and Orion?
And now the #1 most viewed post in 2018…
If you are an advisor or work for a wealth manager, does your firm use a financial planning application that is sticking to their knitting or one that is expanding their horizons? Are the extensive integrations available for third party applications enough to deliver a seamless user experience or do you feel you need an all-in-one platform?
Insights from Hussain Zaidi, CEO of Advizr, Patrick Kelly, RetireUp's EVP of Business Development, Lisa Graham, Director of Product Management for eMoney Advisor, MoneyGuidePro's CEO Bob Curtis, and Tony Stich, COO of Advicent.
More and more wealth management providers will be asking themselves these questions over the next few years. I'm expecting the all-in-one model to eventually win out.
Wishing all of our readers a happy, healthy and successful 2019!