After years of offering its rebalancing software under the private labels of big-name firms, Advisor Software is launching a new planning product and selling it directly to advisors.
The Walnut Creek, Calif.-based firm currently has 65,000 advisors who use its rebalancing system through partnerships it has created with firms like Schwab Advisor Services, LPL Financial and TD Ameritrade. The company will continue offering its rebalancing system to these companies under the private labels.
Now Advisor Software, founded in 1995, is launching golgamiPro, a goal-driven financial planning tool, which it will sell directly to advisors and also through custodians and TAMPs.
Two dozen testers
The program – goalgamiPro – is a web-based platform that allows advisors to create and maintain multiple household balance sheets to help clients prioritize their financial goals. The product creates a PDF report of the household balance sheet diagnostic, indicating whether client’s financial goal plans are achievable or need to revised.
The product was just made available this week but has been tested by about a two dozen advisors in recent months.
“This is really the first time we’re going to be actively promoting goal-driven investing and we’re doing it from the top down through enterprises and bottom up trying to convince advisors to buy it themselves,” says Neal Ringquist, president and COO of Advisor Software.
Filling a gap
The tool was developed after Advisor Software firm identified a gap between clients’ risk tolerance and their comprehensive financial planning tools. The tool allows advisors to monitor clients’ portfolios along with their goals and to make changes as necessary.
Ringquist believes advisors will be receptive to the product because it’s easy to integrate and doesn’t require advisors to replace any technology. In most cases, the software would supplement current offerings as an additional tool that focuses on clients’ goals and whether they are meeting them.
“We’re launching this to inspire advisors and to convince platforms who serve advisors to take a look at what we have and integrate it with their platform,” Ringquist says.
The price of the product is $495 per user and is the same whether advisors use it on a platform or purchase it themselves.
Simple yet complete
CLS Investments, LLC, a turnkey asset management program based in Omaha, Neb., with 1,500 advisors managing 40,000 client portfolios, recently began offering goalgamiPro to nearly a dozen advisors.
“The goalgamiPro report provides a simple, yet complete, picture of the client’s household assets and liabilities,” says Jim Anderson, chief systems officer with CLS. “We believe our advisors will find it a productive tool to support their discussions with clients regarding the priority level of goals.”
Although Advisor Software has high hopes for its new financial planning tool, it has no plans to brand and sell its rebalancing tool directly to firms.
“Advisors are getting our rebalancing solution for free or through one of these platforms,” says Ringquist. “Why would they be willing to pay for it directly?”
Another reason he’s not planning to brand and sell that product directly is because individual advisors would need to ensure the integration with their IBD or custodian would be seamless.
Schwab, one of the large firms with whom Advisor has a large wholesale arrangement, has no problem with the company striking out on its own with this new product.
“We are absolutely fine with Advisor Software increasing their breadth of products for advisors and wish them success with this new financial planning tool,” says Schwab spokeswoman Lindsay Tiles.
The company intends to work with advisors whose average client assets range from $1 million to $5 million. Ringquist realizes there’s competition in that segment. See: Former Microsoft executives are out to make Figlo compete with EISI.
However, he points out that some products are more conducive to partnerships where the product could be private labeled by a large IBD or custodian and there are other products that are better suited to be sold directly to advisors.
Technology vendors are constantly bolstering their products and Ringquist says there are a number of competitors like Morningstar, Inc. and Lipper who provide similar tools – but each one has its own niche.
Ringquist says his company is a bit of a hybrid because because many of its products emphasize the investment side. Other firms such as MoneyGuidePro and NaviPlan tend to be heavier on planning features and lighter on investment offerings, he says. See: Review: EISI is producing a simpler NaviPlan in an effort to keep its towering market share.
In the next few months, Advisor Software is going to launch a new aspect to this product focusing on goal-driven solutions to companies who only provide the product to advisors on platforms. In addition to generating a household balance sheet, it will also generate an investment strategy.