Technology Update

RIA Match links advisers and firms that are recruiting

Also, answers to a couple of questions posed on our recent adviser technology webcast

Sep 23, 2012 @ 12:01 am

By Davis Janowski

A Match.com-type website for financial advisers and registered investment advisory firms looking to recruit was launched last week.

RIA Match (riamatch.com) allows advisers to create a basic profile, with some required information. The free profile includes the adviser's general location, assets under management and goals, and allows them to search other profiles.

There is a subscription charge to create a more-in-depth profile or to connect with matches using the service's internal e-mail system.

It will take most advisers less than half an hour to create a basic profile.

Although I have no way of judging RIA Match's performance right now, the service has a proprietary matching algorithm that pairs advisers with firms it deems a match based on aspects of profiles in areas including firm culture and values. For each pairing a “match quality ranking” is provided.

Advisers remain anonymous until ready to reveal their identity to an interested firm.

“Our intention is to be the communications platform, a conduit,” said RIA Match founder and chief executive Mary Ann Buchanan, who has been working on the site and service for more than a year.

Pricing is straightforward.

There are three subscription levels: basic (free), pro ($29.95 a month) and premium ($49.95 a month). The latter two allow advisers to view enhanced member profiles and save personal notes in their “match list.”

Most importantly, though, advisers can contact interested parties only with a paid subscription (the pro version allows five connections per month and premium, 10).

Only the premium subscription allows you to see which other members have viewed your profile.

Out of the gate, Ms. Buchanan has pulled off a partnership with Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, which will provide some of its own custom content to RIA Match's website. A major facet of the look and feel of the site is its function as an aggregator of industry news from multiple publications, including InvestmentNews.

Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services will participate in other events, including webinars, and Fidelity clients will receive special training and subscription discounts.

On Thursday, September 27th at 2 PM Eastern, there will be an RIA Match virtual launch webcast that will feature David DeVoe, Beverly Flaxington, and Corey Kupfer as particpants. Register at RIAMatch.com

ADVISER TECH TRENDS Q&A

There were 81 questions during our Adviser Tech Trends webcast (visit the webcast archive page here to listen to a recording of the event).

I participated along with Sunit Bhalla, principal of OakTree Financial Planning LLC, and Anthony L. Schembri, managing director of Clarfeld Financial Advisors Inc.

I have selected a couple of the most intriguing questions to answer, and I will post additional questions and answers from the webcast on our blog over the next few weeks.

Q. How should investment advisory firms perform due diligence when assessing third-party vendors of customer relationship management, portfolio management and trading systems?

A. Mr. Schembri answered in an e-mail: “A great starting point is reaching out to the technology staff at your custodian(s); they can get you pointed in the right direction, already having a sense of your firm's offerings and size. In further narrowing down your search, I have found that it is useful to review existing white papers that discuss the various vendors in detail. It is also helpful to attend conferences where you can conveniently talk to multiple vendors, gather information and see product demonstrations. Talk to other advisers who are already using the vendors you are considering, and schedule online demonstrations with vendors themselves.”

I would add that social media can be helpful, as well. For example, LinkedIn.com's “answers” section is a good place to post questions about particular software products or categories. You can specify that you want answers only from fellow advisers.

A particularly good conference to consider attending is the T3, aka Technology Tools for Today, in February. It is custodian-agnostic and dozens of third-party independent technology providers will be there. InvestmentNews is a media partner for the 2013 event.

Q. What are the best iPad applications for financial planners?

A. Mr. Bhalla has a few suggestions:

iPassword. “For generating and securely storing passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive information on my iPad. It synchronizes with my Mac computers and my iPhone, as well.”

OmniFocus. “A great task management application that I use and rely on every day.”

Fuze Meeting. “I use this to hold in-person meetings where I share the screen I see on my iPad with others in the meeting [who also are using an iPad].” Fuze also works well with iPads to conduct online meetings.

Mr. Bhalla also likes Instapaper, which he uses for reading web content pulled down from his Safari web browser. For reading and annotating PDF files on his iPad, he relies on GoodReader and for his mind-mapping needs, there is iThoughtsHD.

(Again, visit the webcast archive page here to listen to a recording)

djanowski@investmentnews.com Twitter: @ddjanowski

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