The 2016 TD Ameritrade Institutional LINC conference

LINChighlights

Held over 3 days in Orlando, FL, the TD Ameritrade Institutional LINC (Learn, Inspire, Network, Collaborate) conference was a great profile and barometer of the growing success and momentum of the RIA industry. The conference featured over 3,200 attendees, 250 exhibiting firms, and 67 advisor-focused technology firms, including SS&C Advent.

“The advisor industry is on fire and this conference is just adding more fuel,” Nally said as he welcomed everyone in his opening keynote remarks. Key TDA platform and company announcements included technology enhancements, an advisor marketing campaign, along with continued industry support.

One of the bigger initiatives highlighted at the conference was the launch of the “Human Finance Project,” which featured stories of how advisors have meaningfully impacted clients’ lives, as a way to showcase the value RIAs deliver. “The RIA space has a communication challenge,” Nally said. “We are a purpose-driven industry however most people don’t know the differentiated service model that RIAs provide. Client stories are very powerful and we think this will be a great way to showcase why they are different.”

On the custody front, TDA announced improvements in their Veo platform to include the launch of the Veo One dashboard, along with additional technology integrations, now totaling over 100 software vendors – prominent among them is SS&C Advent’s Black Diamond platform.

While the momentum for the RIA industry is growing, Nally also introduced some potential issues that may slow growth. Among them is the lack of oversight of RIAs by regulators and global conflict.

“Most advisors get audited only once every 10 years, and some RIAs have never been audited,” Nally explained. “This has led to the perception that RIAs are operating in the Wild, Wild West. As a result, we need to take this issue off of the table by having more third party exams.” TDA announced that it is supporting a proposal by the SEC to have more frequent exams. “Ultimately, this industry is based on trust, and we need to take visible steps to enhance that trust.”

A number of high profile keynote speakers also provided their take on global developments. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, provided a somewhat depressing view of global unrest that could lead to continued conflict, including dictator-led regimes that possess nuclear capabilities. However, political science consultant Ian Bremmer, President of the Eurasia Group, concluded that despite the global trouble spots, “Investing in the US is the one positive development.”

On the technology front, the clear focus area of the conference was Veo Village, a separate exhibit area that featured 67 technology vendors exhibiting their integrations into the Veo platform. Attendees were able to talk with technology executives, see live demos, and find out the latest from the industry’s growing technology sector, including SS&C Advent’s Black Diamond wealth platform, which continues to release enhancements that enhance advisor-client dialogue.

Not surprisingly, the topic of enhancing the client experience took center stage. Joel Bruckenstein, publisher of the T3 series of conferences and newsletters moderated an advisor panel on technology perspectives. The main discussion topic focused around enhancing the client experience through technology. “Why is client service so important?” Bruckenstein asked. “It is because it has a huge impact on referrals and growth. For every happy client, they will tell 2 people. However for every unhappy client, they will tell 9 people.”

Mark Bruno, Associate Publisher of InvestmentNews, additionally provided the results of his recent technology survey – a key finding was again the impact that technology has on enhancing the client experience. “Advisors who focus on client facing technology are faster growing and larger than firms who only focus on technology for productivity.”

The final night featured the popular band, Barenaked Ladies, who headlined a gala event as they kicked off a world tour. Bringing the fun back to the big custodian events, the band provided a high-energy concert and thrilled the conference crowd.

Up next is the T3 conference, to be held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida later this week. Be sure to stop by and learn more about the new Advisor Experience in the Black Diamond wealth platform. Additionally, don’t miss two great sessions with SS&C Advent advisory executives on the rise of the wealth platform (2/11) and top 5 trends shaping the future of advisor technology (2/12).


Timothy D. Welsh, CFP® is President and founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC, a leading consulting firm to the wealth management industry, and periodically blogs for Advent’s On Point blog. He can be reached at tim@nexus-strategy.com or on Twitter@NexusStrategy.

Posted in Wealth Management and Financial Planning

Save the Date: New Year, New Conference: SS&C DELIVER

STDDeliver2

New Year, New Energy, New Name:
Get Ready For SS&C DELIVER 

Mark your calendar!
September 13-15, 2016
The Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego

We’re excited to announce that we’re transforming AdventConnect into SS&C DELIVER.

Since joining forces with SS&C Technologies in 2015, we have been committed to the success of our clients and to bringing the best solutions and service to the industry. Our new, combined client conference is another step in fulfilling that goal. In that spirit, we invite both SS&C Advent clients along with SS&C clients to save the date for September 13-15, 2016.

The conference will be bigger and better than ever – with all the great networking, services, sessions, and celebrations you’ve come to expect from AdventConnect PLUS the full offering of SS&C services and solutions. Don’t miss:

  • Hands-on labs and demos
  • New product previews and updates
  • Panel discussions and roundtables
  • Insights from industry experts

Save the Date (if you haven’t already) and stay tuned for registration information.

SS&C DELIVER: Delivering insight, inspiring action, and driving results for your business.


As Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Advent Software business unit of SS&C Technologies, Pete Hess is responsible for the business unit’s vision, strategy, and execution across the traditional and alternative asset management and advisory markets.

Posted in Advent News

2016 Should Be a Very Good Year (If you are an RIA, that is)

Setting the 2016 business direction, 3d renderDespite the short-term hiccup due to returning volatility in the markets, RIAs on the whole are upbeat and optimistic for a prosperous 2016.

TD Ameritrade Institutional’s 2016 RIA Sentiment Survey provides an intriguing glimpse into the mindset of the fastest growing segment in the financial services industry. These independent firms that collectively control over a couple of trillion dollars in client assets are putting on their forecasting glasses and expect, on average, a positive 17% increase in their assets.

A key driver of that growth this year will come from a directed effort on the part of RIAs to go after new niche markets. Over half of RIAs surveyed said they would be looking to expand their businesses by reaching out to focused client segments, including female executives, divorcees, widows, and medical practitioners. By focusing on these growing segments, RIAs with their independent, nimble and flexible business models, can tailor their messages and service offering to better attract and retain these types of clients.

“Advisors seeking a niche, however, need to determine where they would like to focus and then narrowly define their target market,” advises Vanessa Oligino, Director of Business Performance Solutions at TD Ameritrade Institutional. “For example, ‘doctors’ is not a niche. It would be better to target ‘radiologists in the Boston area.’”

Other emerging trends highlighted in the TD Ameritrade Institutional RIA Sentiment Survey were a focus on next-generation investors and changes RIAs are making to enhance their probability for success with this critical segment. For many RIAs, their aging client base is ringing alarm bells causing them to think of new ways to set themselves up for success when the soon predicted inter-generational wealth transfer starts to kick into high gear.

“To better engage and build relationships with these investors, advisors are hiring next-gen advisors and investing in technology to enhance the client experience,” Oligino explains. According to the survey, nearly a third of RIAs plan to take on junior advisors this year.

On the technology front, cybersecurity is now the number one priority for RIAs, no doubt due to the heightened regulatory focus and ever more frequent high profile hacking incidents in news headlines. Following cybersecurity on RIAs’ technology minds are CRM tools, client facing platforms, performance reporting systems, document management technology, financial planning analyses, portfolio management, and robo advisory services.

Speaking of robo advisors, the survey revealed that only a small percentage, 1%, are actually “extremely concerned” with the presence of these online disruptors. Along these lines a small, but not insignificant percentage (14%) of RIAs plan to launch a robo in 2016.

So, as 2016 gets off to a fast start, look for these themes to be top of mind for RIAs as they continue their success in working with clients, growing their businesses, and leading the way in financial services.


Timothy D. Welsh, CFP® is President and founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC, a leading consulting firm to the wealth management industry, and periodically blogs for Advent’s On Point blog. He can be reached at tim@nexus-strategy.com or on Twitter@NexusStrategy.

Posted in Wealth Management and Financial Planning

Reconciliation: The Unheralded Key to Trading and Client Success

Abacus

Reconciliation. Big yawn, right? Not exactly – not if improved performance and happier clients are your goal.

I admit, reconciliation hardly comes across as the sexiest of subjects. And if you’re talking about going through lots of spreadsheets, manually ticking figures off against each other then I quite agree. Wouldn’t we all prefer to be doing something else?

Yet done right, reconciliation is crucial to both your front office success, and clients’ satisfaction – two pretty worthwhile areas of focus! Why?

 Making a Good Impression

For one, clients are demanding more and better access to relevant data.

Sophisticated client reporting in particular has become an essential part of the customer experience – as seen with the emergence of interactive portals. Attracting new clients and retaining existing ones increasingly depends on cutting edge technology that allows you to service them how they want to be serviced.

We all now expect access to our financial account information on any device, whenever and wherever we are. And we certainly expect that information to be accurate and up-to-date.

Who wants to have to go back to their clients to tell them their account details are wrong, or that you have to restate the investment performance because of some data errors? Hardly a recipe for satisfied customers.

So, before you let your clients see that data, it has to be cleaned and checked. And that means properly reconciled.

More Informed Decisions

Timely, accurate, reconciled data is also vital to the front office.

What would happen if your traders were acting on outdated or inaccurate cash balances, trades and positions? Say they had more cash than they thought, and so missed a trading opportunity and underperformed their benchmark? Or that a position is misvalued and they failed to hedge the exposure properly?

Reconciliation is too important to be left to error-prone and time-consuming manual processes, or an inflexible legacy system.

So why not sharpen your competitive edge?

Adopting seamless, automated, exception-based processes, with tools that flag breaks and help fix them quickly, offers a quick yet significant ROI. Your performance success and client service capabilities deserve no less.

Check out these 10 steps to happier clients and better performance in our white paper “Best Practices in Reconciliation”.


Daniel Eriksson joined Advent in 2001 and is Vice President of Solutions Management and Consulting in EMEA. Daniel has held several senior roles supporting the extensive business growth of Advent in the region, and has extensive knowledge about trends and requirements within the fin-tech industry.

Posted in Traditional and Alternative Asset Management

Buckle Your Seat Belts – Volatility is Back and Likely to Stay

volatilityahead

If 6 plus years of a strong bull market has lulled many investors to sleep, the first few weeks of 2016 has definitely jolted them awake.

Market volatility is back in the markets and headlines as the first few weeks of 2016 experienced multiple hundred point daily swings, both up and down, with the majority on the downside. As the markets approach correction levels, the reaction of advisors has once again been to offer the time-tested advice to hold the course and not take any drastic actions.

However, with the Fed intent on raising interest rates later this year, combined with low oil prices and the impact that China’s slowing growth is having on global economies the likelihood of continued market volatility throughout 2016 is a very real possibility.

Accordingly, advisors are taking steps to not only smooth out client concerns, but to also take advantage of interesting investing approaches. Feeding the left side of clients’ brains can help them put bouts of volatility into perspective: “In the last recession, investors who stayed put saw a 244% return in the S&P 500 from March 2009-July 2015, putting them well ahead of the game,” said Don Shelly a finance professor at SMU’s Cox School of Business.¹

For more emotional clients, using different investing methodologies and explanations can also pay dividends by avoiding panic selling. Ashvin Chhabra, president of Euclidean Capital advises that investors should have a “safety” bucket of less volatile assets such as fixed income and an “aspirational” bucket of riskier investments, which in unison let investors provide for their standard of living while being able to weather the storm.²

This asset dedication strategy goes a long way to ensure clients that their immediate income needs will be covered by their safety bucket, no matter what happens in the markets. At the same time, the aspirational bucket can provide higher returns, which can enhance lifestyles and portfolios in the long term.

Volatile markets can also provide benefits to investors, such as being opportunistic in buying stocks at lower prices, while also being able to harvest tax losses through systematic rebalancing.

“The key is to stick to the long-term goals, keep emotions in check and avoid overtrading,” says Brent Lindell, a financial advisor at Savant Capital Management.

So, as 2016 gets off to a rocky start, advisors will be well served to engage their clients in these conversations now, as we may be in for a bumpy ride for the foreseeable future.


Timothy D. Welsh, CFP® is President and founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC, a leading consulting firm to the wealth management industry, and periodically blogs for Advent’s On Point blog. He can be reached at tim@nexus-strategy.com or on Twitter@NexusStrategy.

  1. Advisors to Clients: Stay Calm and Stick to the PlanFinancial Advisor IQ
  2. Ibid.
Posted in Wealth Management and Financial Planning

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