“Listening to clients is the best way to ensure that the technology we are offering is something that solves a problem or fulfills a need,” said Dave Welling Co-General Manager and head of Advisory, SS&C Advent.
Welling was speaking at the annual Black Diamond Advisory Executive Forum, held earlier this month at the company’s Jacksonville, FL corporate campus.
The Executive Forum is Black Diamond’s annual gathering of top advisory firms designed to facilitate networking, idea sharing and discussions about the top industry issues facing advisors today. New this year to the three day event was the first ever “Hackathon”, a collaborative effort designed to generate new ideas directly from the advisors who use the platform on a daily basis.
Four “Hackathon” teams worked with Black Diamond senior leaders and product managers to brainstorm ideas based on their own business opportunities and concerns. Each group then targeted one specific idea and translated the suggestion into a full-blown design mock-up. The teams created a presentation, complete with videos, props, sound effects and humor, and pitched their solutions to the full group at the executive forum who then voted on the winners.
The concepts built out during the event included ideas such as how to create an operational portfolio update to view key clients at a glance; a meeting confirmation tool that allows end-clients to customize what they would like to discuss and a business intelligence tool with revenue and AUM scenario analysis as well as compliance statistics.
The winning team spearheaded a concept for an online prospecting tool designed to easily demo an advisor’s technology capabilities while engaging potential clients. Judges were impressed that the solution allowed the individual to incorporate and view financial details and risk in an anonymous way.
The winning team was comprised of Brian Boughner of Parallel Financial Partners, Rob Allan of Johnson & White Wealth Management LLC, Tom Rippberger of AdvisorNet Financial, Jeff Hendren of Quovo, as well as Everett Hagan, John Milne, Jason Domizio and Justin Wayne from SS&C’s Black Diamond team.
This winning product design will be included in an upcoming Black Diamond enhancement release and the advisors who championed this concept will be included with the product team to provide feedback and advice on how the new feature will be delivered.
“Advisors are constantly looking for better ways to connect with prospective clients,” noted Steve Leivent, SVP Advisory, SS&C Advent. “Providing a tool that facilitates client-facing engagement is a simple, yet powerful concept and a true testament to the power of the Black Diamond platform to be able to bridge that critical gap.”
Across the broader event, executives from 35 firms representing RIAs, broker dealers, family offices and aggregators came together to review the Black Diamond product roadmap priorities and provide feedback about solution strengths and opportunities. Firms ranged in size and scope from $76M to well over $24B in assets under management.
The second day of the three-day event provided valuable information about the evolving financial landscape, strategic business opportunities and issues faced by advisors. A high profile panel with senior executives from HighTower Advisors, Dynasty Financial Partners and Liberty Capital Partners discussed the latest, with the key takeaway that it is unusual for firms who reach $1 billion in AUM to be able to continue to grow at their previous rates without supplementing their growth inorganically through strategic mergers and acquisitions.
To read the industry coverage of the Black Diamond Hackathon, check out the article featured on ThinkAdvisor’s Tech Center http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2017/05/16/when-advisors-become-technology-developers