Envestnet Tamarac overhauls adviser software

Developer says total suite revamp is part of plan to improve client engagement and open architecture features

Nov 14, 2017 @ 7:00 am

By Ryan W. Neal

Envestnet Tamarac is launching a significantly redesigned version of its wealth management software suite for advisers.

What was formerly known as Advisor Xi is now simply called Tamarac, but the company says the update is much more than either a rebranding or one of the updates the company releases every 60 days. All Tamarac's core technology products are being either overhauled or rebuilt from the ground up.

Tamarac now integrates its rebalancing and trading tool, Advisor Rebalancing, directly into Advisor View, the company's portfolio management and reporting application. Now advisers can open an account, customize client reports, update models, make edits to a trade and execute a trade within a single user experience, eliminating the need to jump between windows.

The idea is that this will reduce the time it takes advisers to complete transactions and tasks while also reducing errors. Envestnet Tamarac Managing Director Brandon Rembe said it took his engineers about a year to develop the entire end-to-end solution.

"We didn't want to just port the old system over to a new system," Mr. Rembe said. By rewriting the technology using some of the latest user interface technology, Mr. Rembe said his team made the new Tamarac quite a bit faster while also increasing the functionality.

CLIENT ENGAGEMENT

Another area of focus was improving digital engagement between the adviser and client. For example, when an adviser makes a change to a non-discretionary account, the new Tamarac alerts the adviser to send trades to the client portal for approval before they can be executed.

The client portal has been updated with enhanced customization options for advisers. Firms can brand the portal with their own colors and logo as well as select which data they want to show clients. Tamarac's client portal also uses the aggregation abilities from Yodlee, which Envestnet acquired in August 2015, to display held-away assets and liabilities. In 2018, Tamarac plans to add reconciled transactions and holdings information.

The portal includes the financial wellness "finapps" created by the Yodlee team to help clients with budgeting. Clients can also use the portal to schedule meetings with the adviser, and advisers can share tasks and notes with their clients.

(More: Envestnet Tamarac rolls out Yodlee app to show outside assets, liabilities.)

The entire portal is available as a mobile app for iOS and Android devices, which Mr. Rembe said looks, feels and acts like the full desktop version. He said the app supports security features like touch ID, multi-factor authentication and even the facial recognition capabilities of the latest iPhone.

Tamarac also wants to help advisers with prospecting. In 2018, the firm is adding the ability to put forms onto the website for clients to add financial information, goals, education and complete a risk questionnaire.

This information is automatically added into the Tamarac CRM, which has been redesigned to take advantage of Microsoft's Office 365 platform, for advisers to qualify leads and track business progress. The adviser will be notified of a new lead, and Tamarac will automatically develop a proposal using BlackRock, Morningstar or the adviser's custom template. These automated workflows will also work with the Salesforce CRM.

THIRD-PARTY INTEGRATION

Mr. Rembe said Envestnet is working with a number of custodians to include automated account opening. All documents are collected in an updated digital vault, and forms can be signed with an e-signature.

Envestnet Tamarac is working to include integrations with a number of third-party vendors, including Riskalyze, Advizr, Wealth Access, eMoney and MoneyGuidePro, marking a shift away from the company's history of prioritizing proprietary products.

"We get knocked for not being open architecture, but we are," said Mr. Rembe, noting that about half of Envestnet clients use MoneyGuidePro for financial planning. "If clients like a product, they should be able to use that product. We don't want to ask clients to say, 'it's Tamarac or nothing.' "

(More: Three former TD execs have big plans for small TAMP.)

Mr. Rembe admits Envestnet is "highly selective" of the technology with which it does integrate. Total open architecture systems, he said, can create problems.

"If holdings are off even by a penny, advisers get a thousand questions," Mr. Rembe added. "It leads to a lot of confusion for the client and the adviser.

He also isn't worried about some of these technologies, like Riskalyze, partnering with asset managers on "model marketplaces" that replace some of the functionality of a TAMP at a lower cost to advisers. There's a ton of investment flowing into the fintech space, and he expects Envestnet Tamarac will be just fine once the dust settles.

"The overall industry is filled with frenemies. Everyone has to play well with one another," Mr. Rembe said. "We look at the breadth of what we are able to do along with the greater Envestnet ecosystem. That gives us a clear advantage over a lot of folks."

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