T3 fintech conference opens with blast of Orion news

Tool will help advisers automatically let their clients know when they become millionaires

Jan 29, 2019 @ 5:11 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

The 2019 Technology Tools for Today conference kicked off Tuesday with a flurry of news announcements from Orion Advisor Services.

Orion team members took the stage at the convention center in Denton, Tex., to announce updates and additions to the popular portfolio management tool aimed at four challenges that independent financial advisers face: prospecting, client communication, cybersecurity and compliance.

The first was a new integration with BizEquity, which tracks business valuation data, so advisers can get information on the value of businesses owned by clients and improve the advice they provide.

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Although a lot of attention is given to attracting next-generation investors, Orion officials said business owners today are underserved by advisers. According to BizEquity data, 3 million small and midsize businesses will be sold by 2021, and 40 million business owners expect to sell their businesses by 2029. In addition, 78% of business owners plan to fund their retirement through the sale of their businesses.

However, only 40% of business owners have consulted with a financial adviser. With the BizEquity integration, Orion believes it can help advisers initiate these conversations while also better understanding the value of their own firm.

Next, Orion introduced a new feature it calls Event-Based Notifications to help advisers automatically create and send personalized email or text communications to clients. For example, if a client's portfolio crosses the $1 million threshold for the first time, Orion can automatically deliver a message saying, "Congratulations, you're a millionaire!"

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"Clients need to feel engaged and in control of their finances, and one of the best ways to build that experience is to combine proactive outreach with a personal touch," Eric Clarke, CEO of Orion, said in a statement.

Orion also wants to help advisers combat the growing concern over cybersecurity. Through a new integration with Experian, advisers can offer clients credit and identify monitoring via the Orion portal. The integration also lets advisers help clients with recovery efforts in the event of identity theft.

If 2019 does indeed end up being a turning point for cybersecurity enforcement, it makes sense that Orion is also thinking about adding compliance functionality to its technology. Orion general counsel Kylee Beach unveiled a new tool, called Inform, to automate some of the common compliance pain points cited by advisers.

Built in collaboration with compliance consultancy firm MarketCounsel, advisers can use Inform to monitor employee trades against firm-wide trade activity, track the receipt of gifts and donations, and distribute affirmations, certifications and disclosures related to the firm's code of ethics.

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"Compiling information for code-of-ethics compliance can be a strenuous task for many RIAs, one made even harder by the limitations of the third-party solutions that have traditionally been a chief compliance officer's only recourse," Ms. Beach said. "With Inform, we went back to the drawing board and worked with our adviser clients and industry partners, MarketCounsel and AdvicePeriod, to create a comprehensive, one-stop solution built for ease of use and using client data within Orion to save time."

Orion wasn't the only firm to make news on the first day of T3. Wells Fargo announced a new partnership with custodian TradePMR to boost the wirehouse's registered investment adviser channel, and security firm cleverDome revealed a new integration with TD Ameritrade Institutional's Veo One platform to help advisers more securely share client data with third-party technology vendors.

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