While major advisor technology companies time their big announcements for the Technology Tools For Today (T3) conference (an event I rank annually as the top for seeing the latest and greatest of adviser tech!) this year's T3 marked the launch of several new software companies that debuted their adviser tech tools for the first time. The top four generating buzz were:
The Rixtrema tool is designed to help model some of the risks that a client's net worth is exposed to — especially the coordination between a client's large illiquid assets (e.g., company stock options, a family business in a particular industry, or broad real estate holdings) and their broader portfolio. Similar to competitors hiddenlevers.com/">Hidden Levers and Macro Risk Analytics, the software helps advisers model how their portfolios might react to various “perfect storm” events (like a muni debt crisis contagion, or inflation rising rates, or a commodities crash), by showing how certain scenarios might impact the overall client balance sheet (both the portfolio and non-portfolio assets) as a form of “crash test” analysis.
A new web-based advisor CRM tool, Wealthbox is aiming to compete against advisor CRM software “giants” Redtail, Salesforce (and the new Junxure Cloud). The software aims to be simpler than many of the other CRM tools available in the marketplace, with some integrations to draw in client social media activity and a handy internal “activity stream” to see the activity of all staff members currently interacting with various clients. With its low pricing of $29 per month per user, Wealthbox may be a good entry-level CRM for those aiming to launch their firm, adopt their first CRM, or transition as a small firm to something “simpler” than their current software.
As the name implies, the RetireUp software is intended to specifically model a client's retirement projections (either accumulators not yet retired, or those who are already in retirement), and is designed by the combination of a “techie” and an adviser. The software is designed to be used interactively with clients, with an easy data input process that can be done on the fly, and tools to show on the spot the effects of various “stress test” scenarios like a market crash or a decade of bad returns. The modeling capabilities include some tools to show the integration of portfolio-based withdrawals, safe withdrawal rate approaches and annuities with retirement income guarantees. While not likely to be a substitute for full financial planning software, RetireUp may be an interesting alternative for those who just want to do retirement projections in particular, either as a subset of the planning process, to illustrate a particular strategy or for a modular client engagement just focused on that area.
While Mint has been around as a personal financial management tool for consumers for many years now, advisors have long lacked a range of PFM tools that go beyond just aggregating investment account balances from multiple locations. WealthAccess is aiming to fill the void, with an account aggregation tool that provides a client-friendly dashboard that both advisers and their clients can use, at a cost of $400 per month for up to 300 clients (which is $1.33 per month per client if you fully utilize the available client slots). While the WealthAccess debut may have been somewhat overshadowed by moneyguidepro-integrate-yodlee-account-aggregation/">the T3 announcement of MoneyGuidePro that they have partnered with Yodlee and will be offering their own client PFM dashboard (and at the tiny cost of $495 per year, compared to WealthAccess at $400 per month), both the MGP and existing eMoney Advisor tools appear to be available only to current users of their financial planning software, leaving WealthAccess as one of the few offerings available for those who just want a standalone solution.
Overall, the landscape for advisor software appears to be heating up, as the availability of low-cost cloud-based software development and APIs for integration is making it easier and easier for new software tools to be developed for advisers!
Disclosure: Michael Kitces has served in the past as a consultant to Wealthbox.
Michael Kitces is a partner and the director of research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, and publisher of the financial planning industry blog Nerd's Eye View. You can follow him on Twitter at @MichaelKitces, or connect with him on Google+.