Voice commands, cybersecurity take center stage at T3

Enterprise conference focused on how to improve back office tools for advisers

Oct 23, 2018 @ 1:00 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

How can broker-dealers make it easier for all their advisers to start offering financial planning? How can large registered investment advisers offer digital onboarding to rival the robo-advisers while still ensuring each adviser is keeping up with cybersecurity demands? Can an OSJ branch office start taking advantage of some of the voice command technology Americans already are using at home, on their phones and in their cars?

These were the top issues facing financial services executives on the first day of the 2018 T3 Enterprise conference, which caters to top decision makers at large firms and adviser networks.

Perhaps the most show-stopping moment was a demonstration from Robert Kirk, founder and CEO of InterGen Data, an artificial intelligence provider for financial services, on the voice command features that his firm is developing with United Planners.

Using an Amazon Echo, Mr. Kirk was able to get personalized information on how much he should be saving for his child's college education based on demographic information such as where he lives, his age and education. He was then able to open a 529 plan, create a recurring deposit from a bank account and finish the paperwork online. All the while, the chatbot offered Mr. Kirk the chance to reach out to his financial adviser in case he wanted human help.

"The more you know about your customer, the faster you're going to be able to help," Mr. Kirk said. "But you've got to do it in a safe way."

(More: SEC adds cybersecurity bite to its bark)

In the wake of the Voya breach that resulted in a $1 million fine, large firms are more worried than ever about cybersecurity breaches caused by employees and independent contractors. Brian Edelman, CEO of cybersecurity firm FCI, and Justin Kapahi, vice president of solutions and security at OS33, discussed a new partnership to help large firms enforce cybersecurity protocols among every person who connects with the firm.

The idea is to make all security features run in the background of the technology that advisers use every day so advisers don't have to do anything different.

"I want an adviser to advise, not be a cybersecurity expert," Mr. Edelman said. "Clients and other end-users won't see what's happening, but the enterprise will know everything is secure and get all relevant reports and logs."

Fiserv Inc. product manager of adviser solutions Igor Jonjic presented data on the top reasons advisers don't offer financial planning: it's too time consuming, the process is tedious and the technology is cumbersome and doesn't integrate with external or internal systems.

(More: Fiserv to offer robo to its adviser, bank clients)

Mr. Jonjic then demonstrated the latest technology Fiserv provides its 13,000 financial institution clients: a financial planning tool that fully integrates with home office systems. In a demo, Mr. Jonjic showed the T3 audience how advisers can initiate the planning process, generate an investment proposal and open a new account, all from within the same tool.

Fiserv's tool supports e-signature and is custodian-agnostic. Without manually pulling data from disparate systems, Mr. Jonjic said advisers will save time and reduce errors.

For firms looking to improve their digital advice capabilities to capture more of the next-generation clients and assets, Apex Clearing presented the work it's done to custody cryptocurrency assets, reduce trading fees and support fractional share purchasing.

ATA RiskStation also provided a look at a new compliance tool for home offices to evaluate client risk exposure across the enterprise, looking at large trends as well as drilling down into regions, firms and individual advisers.

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