MoneyGuidePro and eMoney, two giants in the financial planning software market, are changing the way advisers work with their clients — by getting clients more involved in data entry.
MoneyGuidePro plans to launch its fourth generation platform next year, in which clients input their own information and goals, while eMoney plans to provide a portal for clients to onboard themselves through advisers' websites. All enhancements are expected in early 2016.
"The industry is realizing the whole value they built around investment advice is changing drastically and now, in order to maintain their value to customers, they will have to add a more holistic planning element," said Bob Curtis, chief executive of PIEtech, Inc., which powers Powhatan, Va.-based MoneyGuidePro.
All financial planning, however, will come down to client collaboration, Mr. Curtis said.
"It is the only way we have any chance of delivering the quality of plans," Mr. Curtis said. "It is the way people want to be worked with."
eMoney is planning to have clients input their personal and financial information themselves. Beginning in 2016, advisers will be able to include a sign-up platform on their websites, where clients can register themselves for a full financial planning experience.
eMoney is also unbundling its services so advisers can pick and choose what they want to use; a pricing structure is yet to be disclosed.
"Technology is changing clients' expectations," said Drew DiMarino, senior vice president of eMoney. “You need to give clients choice to do business with you the way they want to do business."
Raef Lee, managing director and head of new services and strategic partnerships for the SEI Advisor Network, said the eMoney model is one many more firms will adopt.
"I do see this as the next big thing," said Mr. Lee, who said the new service will result in better planning and collaboration.
In the InvestmentNews 2015 Most Popular Adviser Software survey, MoneyGuidePro was the No. 1 used by 25% of the respondents, followed closely by eMoney with about 24%.
MoneyGuidePro's new portal will allow clients to add their own information, including short- and long-term goals and a list of concerns they may have. The company also announced MoneyGuide Client, used for client prospecting, myMoneyGuide, a new service for client acquisition, and a yet-to-be-announced mobile client portal now referred to by code name "Shrubbery."
"[Clients] know that they need planning help and they want it, but they have not been given simple means of attaining it," Mr. Curtis said. "We need to change that."
As it stands, many potential clients are still scared to talk to a financial adviser, a Harris poll of 2,000 Americans found. The survey was sponsored by McAdam, a financial planning firm based in Philadelphia.
Of those surveyed, 71% said they were scared to talk to an adviser &mdash. Almost half said they were worried to share personal information with advisers while 41% said they were concerned advisers would not be able to help them. About 38% said they were afraid advisers would give them bad news.
Phil Simonides, a financial adviser and group vice president at McAdam, said advisers need to be open about talking to prospective clients, but that interactive portals can help.
"When we build portals for clients to be able to see all of their stuff … it will only tend to help those who are busy," he said. "Technology can certainly help advisers reach clients in new ways."