The second day of the T3 Conference did not disappoint, with Schwab addressing its financial soundness and migration issues for advisors currently on TD Ameritrade’s platform, announcements from FP Alpha and Envestnet, and discussions with Practifi and Envestnet executives.
Schwab Addresses Financial Soundness And TD Ameritrade Migration
Conference Producer Joel Bruckenstein took the stage with Tom Bradley, Managing Director at Charles Schwab Advisor Services and Jalina Kerr, the firm’s Head of Advisor Experience, to discuss integration issues, including the pending integration of the TD Ameritrade platform and the migration of the advisors who utilize it to the Schwab platform.
Likely due to the questions raised about financial soundness after the Silicon Valley Bank failure, Bradley opened with a brief discussion to affirm Schwab’s financial strength, stating, “Our balance sheet is like a fortress.” He briefly put to rest any question about the firm’s resilience.
The Schwab executives told the audience that the conversion will occur over Labor Day weekend and, prior to that time, advisors currently on the TD Ameritrade platform will have access to the Schwab platform to develop familiarity.
While noting that the conversion planning is finished and execution is “going really well,” Bradley told advisors, “This is one of those times that we’re going to ask you to step back and focus so that you’re ready to go on the Tuesday after Labor Day.”
Kerr addressed issues of platform improvements, including that the firm is working on improved account onboarding, and discussed the improvements in data analysis that Schwab is developing to help advisors understand their business in light of data from similar cohorts.
Practifi Discusses Tech Platforms And AI
I sat down with Tim Highland, Head of Product Strategy at Practifi, to discuss technology platforms and AI. Addressing the confusion that may sometimes materialize for advisors as technology changes rapidly, Highland stated that an advisor should ideally view the CRM as the core of the tech stack, with three key components fully and smoothly integrated: the portfolio system, the custodian and the planning tool.
Highland noted that often smaller firms may find an all-in-one solution better due to resource constraints, while larger firms will look for more complexity and prefer to have one or two solutions as core to the tech stack.
He said that the firm is keeping a close watch on developments in AI and actively reaching out to clients to learn what improvements they would like to see from AI. Highland expects many different advancements will develop from AI. He believes that the “human connection is grossly underestimated,” and that advisors will be enhanced, rather than replaced, by AI.
Envestnet | MoneyGuide Upgrades; Going Beyond Integration To Coordination
Envestnet announced an update of its MoneyGuide platform at the conference, classifying this revision as a “generational” release in which the firm performs major upgrades, occurring every few years. The upgrades include an overhaul of the section on employee stock options and restricted stock; greater functionality in Monte Carlo simulations; inclusion of trust, business and charity data in financial plans; and updates to goals functionality, including health care goals.
Rose Palazzo, the firm’s Group President, Financial Planning, said that the updates focus on bringing more data onto a single page, accommodation to serve a wider group of end clients from mass affluent to ultra-high net worth, and tools to reach Next Gen clients.
According to Palazzo, integration between platforms and services of Envestnet continues to develop across all areas, including deeper integration between MoneyGuide and data analytics, which can improve an advisor’s client service and suggest an advisor’s next steps for a client.
She notes that advisors are becoming more focused on integration and centralization of the tech stack to improve their experience, requiring not just integration, but coordination among various integrated parts so that changes in one part reflect across other parts and different parts stay in sync.
FP Alpha Unbundles Prices, Launches AI Insurance Analyzer
FP Alpha, an AI-driven planning platform, announced the unbundling of the prices for the firm’s Estate Planning Module from the full platform, so that advisors may purchase either the full platform or only estate planning services. With the unbundling, the firm also announced enhancements to the functionality of its Estate Lab, including the automatic transfer of key data points from wills and trusts to the Estate Lab.
FP Alpha also introduced its P&C Snapshot tool, which uploads home and auto insurance documents, reads and analyzes them for key data points, highlights gaps, generates recommendations to advisors and provides a visual deliverable for the client.
Julius Buchanan, Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org