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.
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.
-Distance Relationships”> AdvisorVision also has the capability to collaborate with clients online, allowing advisers to manage long-distance relationships. The collaboration capability also allows an adviser to share information with colleagues, such as a trust department or an insurance expert. Advisers also can invoke controlled sharing of a plan, allowing limited access to specific experts for the planning period.
Willis said the company plans an upgrade in the near term that will allow advising firms to filter their client list to find clients with certain types of assets. For instance, an advising firm could find all of its customers who hold more than a certain level of cash, or who own a particular stock or mutual fund.
According to Willis, AdviceAmerica has also created a version of the software that banks and credit unions are putting on their Web sites. It gets their customers engaged and educated on what their needs are.
When clients identify their shortfalls, theyre passed to advisers or Web pages that solve their needs. “This feature has been successful with banks and credit unions who are trying to pull customers in to show off their range of services,” Willis said, adding that its especially successful with financial institutions that are trying to change their brand perception to show theyre a full-service entity. “The program takes customers to appropriate product information when the software makes a recommendation,” he said.
CJM Planning, a New Jersey-based, full-service financial-planning firm, has made the AdvisorVision system available to its advisers through its Web site. According to Matt Bogan, the companys vice president of marketing, “AdvisorVisions advice-generation engine was designed by experienced financial planners and offers a significant competitive advantage to our advisers.”
“The system helps us to provide clients with a full wealth-management plan quickly and easily,” Bogan said. “With dynamic data updates from Pershing, the online plan is always up to date. Also, it doesnt just calculate goal shortages like other systems; it generates knowledgeable advice that recommends specific products to the client, saving our advisers significant analytical effort.”
Because the system is an ASP or hosted service, advisers do not need to worry about buying servers, operating systems, data back-up or security, or about hiring IT people to manage the system. The multigoal planning system can be connected to clearing or aggregated data sources such as DST Systems or Pershing, or linked to Lipper market data.
There are three functionality options priced from $495 to $1,495 per user per year. Subscribers can register on the Web site and pay with a credit card to begin using the system.
AdviceAmerica was founded in 1999 in Silicon Valley by financial services professionals with wealth-planning experience. Recognizing the productivity, accuracy and compliance consistency that automation can bring to the financial advice-generation process, they teamed with entrepreneurs who have built enterprise software and Internet companies.
The result has been the introduction of a Web-based product suite designed by planning professionals for financial planning professionals.