Technology Decisions | Case Study


Competitive Analysis - Advisor WorkStation


Decision Point Partners

Summary & Key Issues

Client was an RIA making a decision about custodian choice based on Advisor workstation functionality and technological capabilities. A competitive study was commissioned to survey the current landscape and give indication to future developments. In addition to the 5 industry leaders, an additional 5 platforms were reviewed.

  1. Disruptive Innovations: The features and functionality that will dramatically change the landscape of the advisor workstation. Features and functions would include Mobile offerings – functionality, Mobile offerings – Devices, Big Data metrics and actionable insights and Client 360’ view.
  2. Sustaining Innovations – Maximizing Efficiency: Traditional features that are being enhanced to increase the efficiency of an advisor practice. Features include Alert Central, Business Intelligence, Trade Order management, Imaging & Documenation, Model management, Task management and Workflow among others.
  3. Sustaining Innovations – Revenue Generation: Features and functions that increase opportunities to identify and capture previously unrealized revenues. Features include: Proposal generation, Client Onboarding, Client reporting, CRM, Communications, Fee billing, Financial Planning, Marketing, Reporting and Research.
  4. Sustaining Innovations – Compliance & Regulatory: Features and functions that streamline and capture compliance and regulatory activities. Features include Compliance Monitoring & Reporting, Cost basis, Entitlement Management & Delegation

Resolution | Key Learnings

1. Disruptive Innovations

The top tier firms were significantly advanced due to their commitments to Big Data Modules (e.g. Profitability Analysis and Robo Advice/Suggestion Engine). Next developments would include analytics to measure customer wellness and Practice Management Insights leveraging custody data.

Mobile Offerings across multiple operating systems are proving to be achievable, but fewer firms are accomplishing functional tools within those offerings that differentiate their value.

Client 360’ offerings vary across firms. Custody data is baseline but subsequent data sources vary across CRM, Performance, Financial Planning, etc..  

2. Sustaining Innovations – Maximizing Efficiency

Key areas of focus across multiple workstations include: Pre Trade and Trade Execution activities – emphasizing Managed Accounts, Integrations with 3rd party tools marketed effectively to Advisors, and Training and Education offerings focused on Practice Management.

User personas within workstations are moving past a “marketing” activity to be a true efficiency gain. In particular the sales assistant model with entitlements established by advisor delegation has become widespread.

Workflow tools drive significant value as they move beyond brokerage maintenance to other areas of the broker dealer. 

3. Sustaining Innovations – Revenue Generation

The leader in this category is significantly ahead in identifying and capturing unrealized revenue. Areas of significant value include the redistribution of customer data to support a sphere of influence module and pipeline management capabilities.

Other workstations have included the ability to financial plan and report on non-custodied assets. Another platform hass a robust client onboarding offering that identifies customer assets held away and establishes a shadow account for the purposes of tracking on the advisor workstation.

4. Sustaining Innovations – Compliance & Regulatory

The leaders have significantly outpaced their peers by developing a cloud offering for Protegent and Actimize. RIAs and B/Ds can utilize a hosted service wherein they will manage their own business rules within these tools for monitoring and alerting.

Education and practice management offerings were the focus of most firms reviewed, leaving advanced compliance offerings including cost basis and entitlements as future developments.