Raymond James advisers employ new financial planning software

Firm reports that 44% are using it regularly; helps them identify outside assets

Dec 4, 2013 @ 11:23 am

By Joyce Hanson

+ Zoom

A little more than a year after Raymond James introduced its Goal Planning and Monitoring software powered by MoneyGuidePro to its financial advisers, the firm reports that the software has been used to create 50,000 financial plans.

The software from PIEtech Inc. has been used by more than 70% of the firm's 5,300 advisers, and 44% are using it every month, according to Patrick O'Connor, Raymond James' senior vice president of Wealth Management Solutions.

GPM/MoneyGuide Pro replaced other homegrown or highly customized third-party financial planning tools that the firm had used on an enterprise level for years.

“This blows away the previous platform we've had in the last seven years,” Mr. O'Connor said.

“This isn't just another software tool in advisers' arsenal," he said. "This is fundamentally changing the way they're working.”

The speed with which advisers have adopted the plug-and-play software is striking, Mr. O'Connor said, adding that the 44% monthly usage figure surpasses Raymond James' original goal for 40% in the first year.

In 2015, the target is 50%, he said.

Another surprising statistic came from the amount of assets that clients voluntarily reported to be holding outside Raymond James as advisers walked them step by step through the platform, Mr. O'Connor said.

On average, $400,000 from 401(k) plans, brokerage and other held-away accounts — multiplied by the 50,000 newly created plans — brought the total of outside assets to $20 billion, he said.

“That's going to be a big driver of organic growth at Raymond James,” Mr. O'Connor said.

Bob Curtis, founder and president of PIEtech and MoneyGuidePro's chief executive, said that he worked closely with Raymond James to give them the software that the firm needed.

“The interest level of advisers was really high, almost as if there was pent-up demand,” he said. “The surprise was how quickly advisers were willing to change the way they interacted with clients.”

Robert Dearman, senior vice president of Advisory Practice & Platforms Strategy at National Planning Holdings Inc., a group of four independent broker-dealer firms, said that his firm's advisers have used MoneyGuidePro for 15 years because the software is “legendary” in the industry.

However, MoneyGuidePro is an easy-to-use software product, but one size may not fit all for advisers who prefer to customize their own platforms, he said.

“Any broker-dealer effort that encourages holistic financial planning is a great one because we need more holistic planner reps,” Mr. Dearman said. “However, MoneyGuidePro is only one way to do an integration and probably only serves those reps who don't need a high level of flexibility to plug and play their preferred apps of choice.”

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