RISE OF THE FLEX GEN with Ed O'Brien
During his opening presentation, Ed explained how the idea of a generation of "flexible" advisors grew out of our attempt to better understand and quantify exactly how the advisors we serve have changed over the years. We wanted to know why today’s advisors look the way they do and get a better sense of the optimal way in which to run a business amidst the rapid change within our industry.
So we worked with Fidelity research to find out more about FlexGen advisors - what makes them different, how they differentiate themselves, what technologies they use, and much more. Here is some of what Ed shared about that research on stage.
FlexGen advisors are not defined by their age nor their technology. Rather, they are defined by their willingness to accelerate the evolution of the financial advisory model. And this acceleration results in unique service models and innovative growth strategies.
FlexGen advisors have also embraced Financial Planning as one of the key ways in which they can differentiate their businesses. In fact, FlexGen advisors are more likely to provide higher value added services, like budgeting and savings tools, and debt reduction planning for Mass Affluent and Millennial investors as well as Long Term Care and Charitable Gifting Planning strategies for higher net worth clients.
Ed also went on to explain how these FlexGen advisors have seen success in embracing this new ways of doing things. In our initial findings, FlexGen advisors reported greater business success than their peers and are poised to grow in the years ahead.
This being the eMoney Summit, the logical next question of the day was: "What is eMoney building in support of FlexGen advisors?" The next speaker came on to explain just that.
EMONEY COMPANY VISION with Jess Liberi
To put the entire conference into context, we enlisted Jess Liberi, eMoney’s Head of Product, to talk through the many parts and pieces of the eMoney Platform – providing details on not just what we are building, but more importantly, the thinking behind why.
As she explained, eMoney's product development is framed around six key pillars:
- Full-spectrum planning
- A connected, multi-discipline platform
- Seamless open architecture
- A modern user experience
- Listening, learning, and acting
- Unparalleled service and support
In taking the audience through each pillar, Jess detailed some of the most exciting new announcements on the eMoney product roadmap.
From providing robust and flexible full spectrum planning, to helping you attract and engage clients, to continuously testing and refining our user experience and support model – our focus is always on you.
First was the introduction of Foundational Planning, our new streamlined planning experience. Jess detailed how it is designed for a client’s essential needs and goals, yet still thorough enough to act as the foundation for a planning-led relationship that can grow and evolve over time. And ultimately, it will help advisors deliver more plans to more people.
Beyond Planning, Jess made several more exciting announcements.
Alongside new key integrations such as Salesforce and Addepar, she also announced our new open-API strategy – all of which is part of our effort to make our platform more accessible and seamless. Available this winter, our open-API strategy will allow our partners to easily and securely access things like client, planning, and account data, interactive UI components, and more, through an online developer storefront. So, as we work with our clients and understand their needs to work with eMoney in a more customized way, or to use eMoney’s data or components outside of the bounds of the standard eMoney platform, our new API store will allow them to do so.
Other announcements included the new eMoney Voice Assistant, which enables voice search into key areas of the eMoney Platfrom, a roadmap of advanced planning updates including redesigned reports and a new retirement income feature, and finally new ways for you to request and track new feature updates from within eMoney.
In the words of Jess herself, we at eMoney want to enable all of you to become FlexGen advisors – to embrace change and challenge the status quo – knowing that you have a technology partner that is there to support you, every step of the way.
After a quick lunch, the afternoon kicked off with a series eMoney breakouts on a variety of topics including platform training, product feedback sessions, continuing education course, marketing tips, and more. It's here that attendees received the many hours of hands-on training that make the Summit what it is.
ON THE EDGE: THE ART OF HIGH-IMPACT LEADERSHIP with Alison Levine
Our first was leader Alison Levine. And when we say inspiring - we mean it. Alison is an American sportswoman most well-known for being one of the few people in the world to have completed what’s known as the Explorer’s Grand Slam – a borderline insane task which consists of reaching the North and South Poles and climbing the seven tallest summits of each continent. Needless to say, she had a thing or two to say about what it takes to lead people through stressful and high stakes ordeals.
Notable among them were her injunctions to surround yourself with people who have the right type of ego and to never expect someone on you team to do something you would not do yourself. But perhaps most beneficial was her advice on how to handle a constantly changing environment.
If you want to survive a storm, you have to take action based on the situation, not the plan.
On Everest, the weather can change in a moment. And when you are in constantly shifting environments, she explained, your plan is outdated as soon as it's finished. So to survive such situations, you must take action based on the situation you find yourself in, not on a plan that was made before your environment changed.
FROM AI TO GENERATION Z with Abby Johnson
For our last session, we brought in another notable leader: Abby Johnson. As Chairman and CEO of Fidelity, Abby is responsible for running one of the most successful companies in the world and also happens to be one of those responsible for Fidelity's acquisition of eMoney back in 2015.
Through a discussion moderated by eMoney's own Shannon Porro, Abby revealed insights into many of the day's most pressing and relevant issues, including that decision to purchase eMoney. As Abby explained, eMoney posed a unique opportunity for a partnership that would enable her team to be on the forefront of providing the services advisors need to improve their value propositions.
But the conversation went well beyond eMoney. Abby gave her thoughts on crypto currency (she is surprisingly interested in it) and on AI (it's a promising field in her mind - particularly for the client experience), and on whether or not Silicon Valley will invade financial services (she did not seem too worried).
And finally, she ended on one of her many passions - data security. She explained why this is such an important issue that will only become more relevant. And how, at both Fidelity and eMoney, she is dedicated to be a market leader in innovative data security strategies.
The day ended in the best way possible. With good booze and even gooder boys (and girls). In a surprise move from the eMoney team, a troupe of well-behaved service dogs showed up and promptly received more than their daily allowance of pets. Did we mention they were good boys?
Photo credits: Ahmad Ajouz