AdviceAmerica Upgrades Web-Based Advice Engine

By Theresa Carey  |  Posted 2004-09-14 Print this article Print

AdvisorVision 4.0, an enterprise-class financial planning platform, targets customers such as banks, credit unions, independent financial planners and brokerages.

AdvisorVision 4.0, introduced Tuesday by AdviceAmerica Inc., delivers actionable, personalized and institution-compliant wealth-planning advice using a proprietary, knowledge-based rules engine that can be customized by the financial institution. The program is an ASP-delivered system, though larger financial institutions can host the system themselves if they choose. Advisers only need a Web browser to access AdvisorVision. Using Web Services, AdvisorVision can integrate with a wide variety of systems so that planning can leverage corporate data sources and business processes. AdvisorVision will automatically update with IRS tax tables, new tax rules, new legal requirements for disclosure and software enhancements.
The system can be connected to the advising firms back-office systems and CRM systems on the enterprise. AdvisorVision can be configured to pull in access privileges and user roles. It connects to Lipper data for mutual fund data and pricing. Client data and information can be configured to flow into AdvisorVision from legacy systems, and changes in compliance can be implemented immediately.
The advice output can be customized to promote financial products preferred by the adviser. Jim Willis, senior vice president of sales and marketing at AdviceAmerica, said the expertise of advisers varies widely depending on their prior experience. For instance, in a bank, most of the advisers come from the debt side, while in an insurance company, an adviser might have in-depth knowledge of insurance products but not much when it comes to international investing. "We want to make them productive and help manage their customer relationships with a dynamic system," Willis said. He said a key idea behind the development of the advice engine was to increase sales and cross-selling of related financial products. The heart of the program is a rules-based advice-generation system. The program takes a potential client through a financial planning scenario, assessing risk and helping determine long- and short-term goals. The output for each client is a summary of goals, adding in advice to solve any goal shortfalls. Knowledge in the system is triggered by the rules, which can be modified as well as the advice text. "This capability gives the institutions a lot of control over the consistency of the advice," Willis said. Click here to read about an act called Check 21 that will introduce the use of digitized, substitute checks. AdvisorVision customizes the menu for each client, automatically determining what should be displayed based on the individuals goals. For instance, if a client doesnt need insurance planning or estate planning, those items wont appear on the menu. The program is designed to capture and deliver advice that would distill down hours of analysis into a few minutes. The ease of use ensures high adoption and minimizes training time. When determining the asset class of a particular client holding, planners can use the built-in Lipper asset classes or define their own. Planners can set up model portfolios for specific goals, and customize printed reports with the firm name and logo. Next Page: Managing long-distance relationships.

Theresa is the Editor of's Finance Industry Center. She's been writing about financial technology issues since 1990 for a wide variety of publications, including PC Magazine, Newsweek, Fortune, and Fortune Small Business. She is also a Contributing Editor to Barron's and writes their 'Electronic Investor' column.

Theresa received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a M.S. from the University of Santa Clara. She also has a private pilot's license. When she's not at her computer, she coaches a local high school volleyball team, plays softball and volleyball, and takes part in many Cal Alumni Band events. She lives in Northern California.


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