Sheryl Garrett, Wealthminder launch robo offering

For $10 a month per client, advisers can access software to generate financial plans

Apr 9, 2015 @ 2:42 pm

By Alessandra Malito

Financial adviser Sheryl Garrett and Wealthminder, an online automated investment and financial planning software provider, will soon take the wraps off a holistic financial planning program for advisers.

Starting April 11, advisers belonging to the Garrett Planning Network will have access to software that will allow them to automatically generate financial plan for clients and then put the plans into action.

The service costs a flat fee of $10 a month per client or $75 a year per client.

“At the end of the day, what's the primary goal of the financial adviser? It's to understand what the client is trying to accomplish with money in their life and that they're on a track to get there,” Rich Ellinger, founder of Wealthminder, said.

With the new platform, advisers will guide clients through their entire financial plan online — from the creation of the plan to when changes need to be made.

“It's making sure that what they say what they want to accomplish actually gets done,” Ms. Garrett said.

Ms. Garrett, who President Barack Obama name dropped during a fiduciary speech in February, recently joined Wealthminder's advisory board, and will offer the platform to her members with a set of customized recommendations.

Wealthminder already has an automated platform for financial advisers. The new program, however, is geared more toward investors with a smaller amount of assets. Clients who use the earlier version interact more with the software than the adviser, though an adviser can access and view the program too.

“With the new version, [advisers] can use it with perhaps high net-worth or sophisticated clients,” Mr. Ellinger said.

The new platform also has an automatic portfolio review process, which includes advisers' choices of model portfolios and asset allocations. The adviser can input their preferences that Wealthminder's algorithms will take into account when automating portfolios.

FINANCIAL PLANNING THE CRUX

But financial planning is the crux of the new software.

Advisers will be able to add recommendations to the platform for clients to accomplish in a “to do” like format. For example, if an adviser thinks a client should consider a new life insurance policy or update a will after a client welcomes a new baby into the family, that adviser can include it on the software. The program can be configured to alert clients and their advisers if those tasks are not completed.

Holistic financial planning, although still an emerging market in the industry, is the foundation for an adviser's business, Ed Gjertsen II, the Financial Planning Association national president, said.

“What a lot of individuals focus on is rates in return on investing, so when individuals engage in an adviser, their almost sole focus is the portfolio,” Mr. Gjertsen said. “And yet while that's an important component, it's just one small component in the overall financial plan that an individual should engage in.”

And, he said, financial planning is exactly what people need. Interacting with clients online to engage in one could benefit everyone.

“Any way we can further connect the public with comprehensive planning is a good thing,” Mr. Gjertsen said.

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