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What Tech Does My Pure RIA Need?
If this article’s headline appeals to you, it’s likely you are thinking about dropping your Series 7, saying goodbye to the associated FINRA constraints, and saying hello to increased flexibility. Firms structured as PURE RIAs have more CHOICE with how they want to manage their practice and serve their clients, including which technology solutions they utilize.
With so many options available to advisors, we would like to provide you with an overview of our favorites. We believe these advisor solutions may lead the pack regarding their benefits and features and if you implement them now, can also make your transition to a PURE RIA more comfortable in the future.
We can’t stress enough the need to implement a CRM if you are still operating your practice without one. The DOL’s Fiduciary Rule may have just been pronounced dead on arrival by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, however many aspects of the rule could be adopted and enforced later by other regulators. A CRM enables you to quickly and efficiently document every client interaction, ensuring your t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted.
We give a thumbs up to Redtail, SalesForce, and WealthBox, but if we have to pick one favorite, it would be Redtail. Why Redtail? It integrates with all of our favorites and many more, is easy to implement and learn, provides decent workflow management and is the most affordable option.
Portfolio Accounting, Reporting, and Billing Solution
We did our due diligence over a year ago and concluded that no one compares to Orion for portfolio accounting, reporting and billing regarding flexibility and capability. Orion has created a solution that integrates with all the leading advisor CRMs, financial planning solutions, workflow efficiency tools and more to create the ultimate advisor desktop.
Orion also has relationships with a multitude of custodians and broker-dealers, so they can quickly capture historical data, provide consolidated reporting, and make it easy for you to continue to operate even when home office solutions may not be.
Their Rep Portal provides advisors with a quick glance of everything while also making client data easily accessible and presentable. Their Client Portal with Wealth Access enables clients to connect held-away assets, providing advisors the data they need to integrate these assets into their consolidated reports.
Advisors interested in moving towards a Pure RIA sometime in the future are well prepared for the transition if they have previously implemented Orion into their practice.
Financial Planning Software
There are several options regarding financial planning software. We recommend you select either eMoney or MoneyGuidePro. Some advisors subscribe to both, but how you decide depends on who you serve.
We recommend MoneyGuidePro for advisors serving clients in the accumulation phase or who have investable assets less than $2 million. The majority of these clients do not require sophisticated planning solutions and MoneyGuidePro’s client-facing features such as PlayZone, Star Track, and Retirement Zoomer are highly engaging. PlayZone is also an excellent tool to use when demonstrating how changes in retirement spending, retirement age, savings amounts, and other factors can impact your client’s overall success.
With MoneyGuidePro, you can keep the focus on long-term planning and away from the day-to-day fluctuations of account values. MoneyGuidePro also features the best integrations on the market and is a long-running favorite of RIA advisors in North America. MoneyGuidePro is also half the cost of eMoney.
eMoney Advisor is a more sophisticated tool with its emphasis on cash-flow planning and the ability to model these plans for estate, retirement and education-funding purposes. eMoney provides advanced features ideal for high net worth and high income producing clients, especially those who find the nitty-gritty of the analytics to be of great interest. eMoney’s API aggregates data from a robust list of financial institutions providing you with detailed reporting and enables a more in-depth discussion around cash flow planning. However, some clients may find this level of detail to be overwhelming.
eMoney provides two client-facing features that are incredibly marketable for your practice. The Vault enables clients to store their essential financial documents in one secure, online location. The Client Portal delivers a holistic view of the client’s complete financial picture that is updated daily to reflect account changes. However, some of your clients may find all the information overwhelming, and others may lose sight of their long-term focus by logging in daily to see account values.
If you serve a broad spectrum of clients in terms of age and wealth, it might make sense to license both. However, if you work with a specific client segment, it’s best to think about their needs and go from there.
For document management we recommend Docupace. Docupace offers many solutions beneficial for RIA’s which are worth exploring, but here we are going to focus on their document management solution, the ePACS Centralized Vault.
The ePACS Centralized Vault provides cloud-based, cyber-secure, and SEC compliant document management. The solution offers many benefits including government-grade security and encryption, user and workflow logs, branch audits can be done from a home office, and you can restrict visibility and access based on user role.
Beyond document management, Docupace has spent the past several years dedicated to their workflow processing solutions. For RIAs, this means they can process transactions in minutes, in a paperless environment, with a growing number of financial institutions.
In conclusion, no matter which technology solutions you pick for your practice, having the ability to decide for yourself is what matters most! If you are still a captive advisor or if you are with an independent broker-dealer and desire more flexibility, reach out to us. We are advocates for financial advisors on the path towards greater independence.