Large industry events like Charles Schwab's annual IMPACT conference, happening this week in Chicago, are increasingly focusing on technology.
Not only are firms integrating third-party software with their brokerage platforms to meet adviser demands, but the rise of low-cost, automated investing has required custodians like Schwab to develop their own technology, both retail-facing and for advisers. Bitcoin and the prospects of cryptocurrencies were even featured in Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger's opening keynote on Wednesday.
As a result, many fintech vendors serving the wealth management industry are timing their news announcements along with conferences. Already at IMPACT, financial planning technology firm eMoney announced a new integration with Schwab Advisor Services' OpenView Gateway, despite eMoney being owned by competing custodian Fidelity.
There's a lot of news to keep track of, so here's a rundown of some of the stories you might have missed.
Morningstar is bringing its 30 years of research and investment data together with its ability to aggregate client financial data to power a new cloud-based practice and portfolio management platform. Announced Thursday at IMPACT, Morningstar says the product, called Morningstar Office Cloud, is designed to replace the legacy systems many advisers still rely on.
Morningstar wants Office Cloud to be advisers' single source for client and investment information to let them streamline workflows, eliminate data-processing complications and essentially bring their entire practice onto one system. Office Cloud also includes a client portal, and advisers can customize the experience via integrations with select third-party software.
"The cloud architecture helps us deliver stronger data security and reduces mundane administrative work through outsourced data management, account aggregation, automatic market data, research updates, and flexible report management tools," Dermot O'Mahony, Morningstar's head of software products, said in a statement.
Office Cloud will be available for advisers in the first quarter of 2018.
The latest update to Orion Advisor Services' portfolio accounting tool allows advisers to execute trades in any app where they already have the Orion Insight app installed. CEO Eric Clarke said this will be most helpful in client relationship management programs like Salesforce and Redtail, where advisers can now execute trades, update models, rebalance portfolios, trade cash and buy or sell securities in client accounts without having to leave the app.
"Allowing advisers to initiate their trading workflow directly from their CRM reduces the amount of time switching between platforms to perform tasks, which could result in potential trade errors," Mr. Clarke said in a statement. Orion is also integrating Insight with Riskalyze to let advisers pull Riskalyze's Retirement RoadMap product into conversations with clients.
"When advisers rely on several technologies to build a cohesive client experience, true platform integration is the only way to ensure investors are met with a seamless and easy-to-understand interface," Mr. Clarke said.
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles-based provider of cloud-based financial programs launched two new lines of apps at IMPACT.
InvestCloud Gray aims to give advisers a modern platform to digitally interact with clients, including a client portal, automated reporting and CRM capabilities. InvestCloud said the apps included in Gray are more cost-effective than competing products.
InvestCloud Neon, meanwhile, delivers automating trading, accounting and middle-office workflows. Neon's apps support the real-time processing of equities, bonds and funds to decrease the time advisers spend on investment operations. The apps are multi-lingual and multi-currency to support advisers with international clients.
Advisers can now connect Riskalyze's digital adviser, Autopilot, with Schwab's OpenView Gateway to sync client data between both platforms and get daily updates on client profiles, accounts, balances and positions on both platforms on a daily basis. The integration also lets Riskalyze automate trade delivery for accounts opened at Schwab.