Saving time, tech integration are themes at T3


If someone asked if you’d like to swap your net worth with Warren Buffet’s, nearly everyone would say yes. But what if you could only do so if you also switched your age for his?

If you’re younger than 89 years old, chances are you wouldn’t make that trade, Burt White, managing director of investor and investment solutions at LPL Financial, said during a keynote presentation at the 2020 Technology Tools for Today conference. Most people wouldn’t give up a significant portion of their life even for nearly $90 billion.

Mr. White used the point to illustrate the value of time. Instead of worrying about a traditional return on investment measured in dollars, he urged advisers to think about how technology can free up people’s time.

“There’s one currency that you should own and it’s human currency, and that is measured in time,” he said, referencing other T3 panels that explored the potential for digital assets like bitcoin.

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LPL’s goal is for its technology to give advisers back at least one hour of each workday. In December, the firm introduced a new digital account opening tool it believes will save advisers five minutes.

This week, LPL went a step further by integrating AdvisoryWorld’s proposal generation technology, which it acquired in 2018, into its account opening tool to make it easier for advisers to turn prospects into clients.

Though Mr. White didn’t discuss the integration at T3, he told advisers to look at how technology can make their firm more convenient for clients. “The new great service is convenience, and that is enabled through technology,” he said.

Technology integration was once again a popular theme at T3. Fidelity expanded its Integration Xchange with new functionality to help developers at wealth management firms and tech vendors test various integrations and see how they fit with their existing platforms.

Lisa Burns, head of platform technology at Fidelity Institutional, said the company hopes that providing a single location where firms can self-test a variety of different technology integrations will make it easier for advisers to develop custom technology platforms.

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“We’re always looking for ways to make things easier for our clients, and these new capabilities help firms simplify the end-to-end process from discovery through development and ongoing oversight,” Ms. Burns said in a statement.

Portfolio accounting provider Orion Advisor Services announced an enhanced integration with Salesforce to improve data synchronization with the popular CRM tool, as well as new integration with cash management tool MaxMyInterest.

Ms. Burns also spoke on a panel featuring women fintech executives at the big four custodians on the importance of making the financial services industry a more diverse and inclusive place. One area where technology could help is in scanning text in job postings to make sure the company’s language is welcoming, she said.

Danielle Fava, director of innovation at TD Ameritrade Institutional, also discussed how new technologies like artificial intelligence can unintentionally support existing gender biases and also serve as a tool to fix them.

For example, Amazon tried an AI program that automatically reviewed resumes to filter out bad applications and spot potentially good hires, Ms. Fava said. Developers fed the program data on decisions the firm has made in the past in order to learn what makes a good resume.

The program ended up selecting a disproportionate number of resumes from men to move along to the next round.

“It shined a light on the flaws that they have with that selection,” Ms. Fava said. “On the other hand, AI helped us identify those biases and solve for it.”

Andrew Altfest, a 2018 recipient of InvestmentNews’ 40 Under 40 award, talked about the role AI can play in financial planning.

“While we have driverless cars in other industries, in our industry we are still road atlases,” Mr. Altfest said. “We’re really in the Stone Age when it comes to comprehensive financial planning.”

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His new tool, FP Alpha, integrates AI algorithms into the financial planning process to expand what advisers can incorporate into a plan. FP Alpha goes beyond simple financial goals like retirement and buying a house to cover 17 areas of planning, including tax, debt, eldercare, estate planning and several types of insurance.

T3 founder and CEO Joel Bruckenstein cited FP Alpha as one of the new products he’s most excited about, adding that it could give advisers a competitive edge in today’s changing market.

“The technology provides impactful recommendations with limited insight into a prospect’s financial and personal circumstances – jump-starting relationships and allowing planning to be a living, breathing experience for all parties,” Mr. Bruckenstein said in a statement. “I believe this technology is essential to the evolution of the industry as we enter into a new generation of wealth.”

Written by Investors Wallets

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