Welcome to the December 2023 issue of the Latest News in Financial #AdvisorTech – where we look at the big news, announcements, and underlying trends and developments that are emerging in the world of technology solutions for financial advisors!
This month’s edition kicks off with the news that Black Diamond has announced the launch of its own CRM system, targeting advisors at mid-size firms who have data complexity and workflow needs greater than what more basic CRM options can accommodate, but who don’t yet need (and don’t want to pay for) the Salesforce-based options – like Black Diamond’s existing Salentica CRM software – that offer the most customizability.
From there, the latest highlights also feature a number of other interesting advisor technology announcements, including:
- Nitrogen CEO Aaron Klein and TIFIN President Jack Swift have announced their departure from their respective firms, the latest in a wave of founder/CEO departures from AdvisorTech firms after a 7+ year cycle of rapid PE-funded growth – raising questions about whether investor demands for growth and profitability in AdvisorTech firms is realistic (or whether it places an undue burden on firms’ employees and leadership) given the reality that advisors tend to be slow to adopt new technology in the first place.
- Envestnet has announced a partnership with Empower to offer a turnkey 401(k) plan management solution for advisors with small business owner clients – but it isn’t clear whether making 401(k) plan management ‘easier’ will actually convince more advisors to manage 401(k) plans, given how advisors have largely been averse to 401(k) plan management when it isn’t a core part of their business
- Elements, the financial health-focused tool for engaging prospects and clients, has announced a new RIA partnership model to serve clients who don’t have enough assets to meet an advisor’s minimums – but given the struggles of previous attempts to expand access to smaller clients, it isn’t clear how the program will bring in enough small clients to create sustainable revenue (especially given that advisors generally aren’t marketing themselves to small clients to begin with)
Read the analysis about these announcements in this month’s column, and a discussion of more trends in advisor technology, including:
- Digital marketing platform FMG has announced a new premium website design service, responding to the desire of financial advisors for a unique advisor-specific website to stand out to prospective clients for less than the cost of a custom-built site
- As technology providers have struggled to achieve wide distribution among advisors who remain reluctant to change out their technology, an increasing number have turned to “tech-facilitated marketplace” (where the technology facilitates connections between buyers and sellers, and is ‘free’ for the advisor while taking a cut of the transaction) and “tech-enabled services” (where a service is provided in a technology wrapper to be less costly than a standalone service – which on one hand, creates more options for advisors to find solutions to meet their needs, but on the other, can create confusion about what the advisor is actually paying for (and whether they really need it)
And be certain to read to the end, where we have provided an update to our popular “Financial AdvisorTech Solutions Map” (and also added the changes to our AdvisorTech Directory) as well!
*And for #AdvisorTech companies who want to submit their tech announcements for consideration in future issues, please submit to TechNews@kitces.com!