We have four full-time employees. We’re very small. When I started the firm in 2003, I never wanted to be a giant. I wanted to provide best-in-class service and advice. I was willing to invest significantly in technology so we could serve clients with excellence but with fewer bodies. We all have the same tools available. I don’t think technology is a differentiator. People can be. I need to have tools that can free people up to do better work, do more custom planning and be available for clients.
CRM: Redtail CRM
In 2014, we transitioned to Redtail, which was purchased by Orion in 2022, as our CRM. The tool we had before, Innovative Advisor Solutions, had a very basic CRM. At that time, Redtail was very inexpensive.
Portfolio Accounting/Reporting/Compliance: Orion Advisor Solutions
In 2014, we also added Orion, which became our portfolio accounting and reporting hub. Both Redtail and Orion came up with some new packaging in the way they sell various aspects of their services. We just upgraded to Orion Stacks where you get a package of tools that you want. We’re onboarding now with the Orion compliance tool to do our monthly, quarterly and annual testing and review more efficiently.
Financial Planning: Envestnet | MoneyGuidePro
We’re happy with MoneyGuidePro. The only thing that might have been better is if Orion had bought MoneyGuidePro as opposed to Advizr, which we do not use. I’ve looked at it and tried to like it. Their tool does make it easier if you’re onboarding a new client and linking their accounts through the client portal. Some features of that are attractive, but I didn’t find the financial planning tool anywhere as robust as Envestnet | MoneyGuidePro. They may get there, but we’ve got a lot of comfort in MoneyGuidePro. Orion still integrates with MoneyGuidePro. We’re still able to present the MoneyGuide Pro snapshot inside the Orion client portal. They weren’t foolish enough to get rid of that integration. What attracted us to Orion early on was their open-source philosophy where you didn’t have to use their prescribed tools, but they would still talk to each other. I would be disappointed if that went away.
Portfolio Analytics: Orion Risk Intelligence (HiddenLevers)
Since 2020, we have also added HiddenLevers [now called Orion Risk Intelligence], which was purchased by Orion in 2021, as a portfolio analytics tool. I looked at Nitrogen, but I felt a lot more comfortable with HiddenLevers. There are challenges from time to time that have to do with Orion trying to do a lot. HiddenLevers does some sophisticated modelling around stress testing portfolios and it has integrations into it. There’s good risk discovery and conversations around need, ability and comfort for risk. But once Orion bought them, now they’re trying to integrate it into the Orion dashboard. They’re trying to deliver for me in Orion a lot more visibility to the HiddenLevers tool. There’s been a few hiccups, but it’s a matter of time. They just haven’t got it perfected yet. They’re trying to gobble up and do a lot at one time. Having added Redtail and HiddenLevers recently, they’ve got a big roadmap on having them talk to each other. I don’t think they’re there yet.
At the T3 Conference in early 2020, I decided to outsource, or at least get help with, content. I started working with Lead Pilot by Twenty Over Ten, which was acquired by FMG Suite in late 2020. We used Lead Pilot for about 2 1/2 years and then we upgraded to the full FMG about six months ago. We use FMG for distributing our blog and podcast and programming and scheduling social media posts, both original things that we write and produce, as well as taking some of their content and customizing it for our audiences. We’re starting to leverage that more. We’ve been happy with the capabilities and the options. It’s oftentimes almost too much and you’ve got to be selective about what you decide to use.
Document Management: NetDocuments Software
We’re happy with our tech stack today. The only thing that is probably on the chopping block when we get the energy to do it is the document management system. We use NetDocuments and its ease of use and client portal are not great. You can’t share documents easily with clients. That’s the one area that we’re not thrilled about.
As told to reporter Rob Burgess and edited for length and clarity. The views and opinions are not representative of the views of WealthManagement.com.
Want to tell us what’s in your wealthstack? Contact Rob Burgess at [email protected].