Financial Advisor Marketing & Technology

Marketing & Technology For Independent Financial Advisors

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Archive for June, 2008

Albridge-Portals Alliance May Transform Financial Planning

The recent integration of Albridge Solutions’ portfolio performance reporting application and Advisor Products Inc.’s Personal Client Portals™ system makes any advisory firm more scalable, efficient, and client-centric. But what’s more exciting is that it will promote financial planning to millions of American households by making it easier for them to understand, measure, and manage their progress toward achieving long-term financial goals. Personal Portal Tour

Since the early 1980s, thought leaders, professional membership associations, and governing bodies have strived to professionalize personal financial planning so it can be embraced by the mass affluent. The elusive but irresistible goal has been to deliver financial planning advice within a prescribed, systematic, and ethical framework to the masses. The challenge has been that providing financial planning services while adhering to best practices articulated by the FPA, CFP Board, NAPFA, Fiduciary 360, and other such groups is extremely labor intensive.

Integration of API’s Personal Client Portals™ with Albridge Solutions has potential to support, engage, and communicate the entire financial planning process to millions of Americans who could never before receive such a full perspective on managing their money. Albridge’s web-based application is by far the most widely used portfolio accounting system for independent advisors. API’s client portals system provides each individual client of an advisor a secure personal financial portal and promotes collaborative, transparent, and trusting relationships between advisors and investors. Integration of these two applications brings together all of the necessary ingredients to enable financial planning to be fully embraced by the mass affluent.

Albridge calculates daily the value of positions and transactions on more than $1 trillion in assets invested by more than 1 million households. More than 100,000 financial advisors utilize Albridge, which has relationships with more than 150 independent broker-dealers. More than any other technology company serving independent advisors, Albridge touches the mass affluent—the families most in need of financial planning services.

With API’s system, each client experiences a totally personalized website. Data streamed into each client’s secure personal website from an advisory firm’s financial planning application, CRM system, and content provider shows each client’s portfolio performance in the context of his or her financial plans. The achievement of a client’s long-term financial goals, articles personalized to the client’s financial situation, and details about work the advisor performs for the client are the focus of each portal.

“To-Do Manager,” a feature of Personal Client Portals™, allows an advisor to remind a client about tasks that must be completed, such as “send in your account form,” or “create an automatic transfer from your checking account to your investment account.” To-Do Manager not only allows an advisor to assign a client a task and track its progress, it also allows the client to assign tasks to the advisor. (This feature can be disabled by advisors.) Allied professionals, such as an estate planning attorney, can also be enabled on the To-Do Manager. All To Dos are tracked as a discussion thread, allowing discussion of any action item and leaving a trail of communication until an action item is completed. To-Do Manager creates a viewable archive of completed tasks, creating a record for the client that shows all of the work an advisor has performed on his behalf, which supports a transparent, collaborative, and trusting relationship.

Integration of Albridge Solutions portfolio accounting data into API’s Personal Client Portals™ platform provides an opportunity for clients to see their portfolio statements alongside personalized information that is constantly being updated, thus deeply engaging clients in their financial plans. Investment performance is shown to be just one aspect of an advisory firm’s services. A client’s focus stays on long-term issues, and the patience, collaboration, and commitment needed from clients for successful financial planning are supported.

Opening up this new technology-backed style of collaborative financial planning to the 100,000 advisors using Albridge Solutions, and to their clients, provides a real step forward for the financial planning profession as well as a clear view into the future of advisor technology.

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