Account aggregation software collects financial data from various sources, including banks, credit cards, and investment accounts, and consolidates it to a single platform to provide a holistic, easily viewed and analyzed perspective on an individual’s finances.
What is Account Aggregation Software for Financial Advisors?
Financial advisors can use account aggregation software to manage multiple accounts from various financial institutions. These advisors may have a single client with multiple savings and investment accounts, or simply manage a handful of accounts. Account aggregation software combines all of this data into a single system, providing an overall breakdown of the portfolio’s diversity, the performance of specific products, and the client’s stability. It gives advisors insight into both the client’s current financial situation and the amount of time needed to achieve financial independence or win a financial-advice competition.
In essence, account aggregation software performs the same role as the spreadsheet application Excel. But instead of having to manually enter the data into one document, then enter it into another document for another institution, the application can pull the information from within each account itself. It can reduce the time taken to put together a client analysis report from days to hours. With the touch of a button, you can enter the data and the program will collect the information for the analysis sheet. It pulls account activity, balances, purchases, transfers, and dividends fees and payments right within the platform.
Why Advisors Need Account Aggregation Software
There are myriad reasons financial advisors would utilize account aggregation software. First, they can provide clear details on an individual’s portfolio performance — whether it’s a single retirement account or the multiple accounts of a single client. Pulling all the data into a single platform allows advisors to run numerous reports to monitor specific areas with startling accuracy.
Account aggregation software can also be used to establish goals and monitor progress. It allows advisors to set asset allocation targets based on a client’s risk tolerance and strategy. As the client accumulates the assets and equity level rises, the advisor will know the exact amount of assets attained to reach the client’s goal. This monitoring function lets advisors compare actual results with their client’s specific customization about risk tolerance, goals, and asset allocation.
The capabilities of account aggregation software are not only limited to seeing how their clients are doing, but also to discovering new ways to better serve them. The built-in asset allocation analyzer allows advisors to audit client portfolios and determine the viability of their current target-date funds. Advisors can utilize well-defined investment theory to verify that their target-date fund is optimized to achieve the client’s goals. The advisor can see if the asset allocation is on track, identify any deficiencies in the portfolio, and adjust where necessary.
Another distinct advantage of the software is it allows advisors to perform risk-profile measurements and sophisticated portfolio accounting. Advisors can also use the software to measure the risk and return of each of their clients’ portfolios. This is a powerful tool that advisors can use to scale the accounts of both new and existing clients.
Account aggregation software can also make advisors more efficient when it comes time to report to clients. Because the data for the report is being taken from one central platform, pulling a client’s data is a far less burdensome task than it was in the past. The software can collect all the data in a single location and pull it into a single report. This can streamline the preparation of client analysis reports.
The next time you reach out to your accountant or a fellow financial advisor, ask them the following questions.
Key Features to Look for in Account Aggregation Software
There are numerous features to consider when purchasing account aggregation software. Every individual’s needs may vary depending upon their performance needs, automated platforms, or the number of clients they have. To start your search for potential solutions, consider the following features:
Performance and asset management
Many financial advisors use automated trading platforms for their clients, such as mutual funds or stocks. Account aggregation software has the ability to be connected with a system like this to pull a client’s trade history and performance data for select funds. Some providers also support a variety of automated trading platforms directly.
If you’re a financial advisor who manually executes stock trades, you’ll want to look into having the platform connect with your trading client to pull trade history and money in and out of each account.
Cost illustrations in account aggregation software allow financial advisors to gain an understanding of how the markets are performing across different asset classes and in relation to other accounts. This can be useful for calculating the performance of the investment portfolio as it relates to a client’s specific risk tolerance.
Reporting is one of the major challenges facing financial advisors. Traditionally, advisors have only been able to pull information from one type of account or institution. Clearing the data from the primary institution or the back-end of the aggregate system often takes hours or days. The reporting capability in account aggregation software is significant because it combines information from different institutions within a user-friendly platform, giving the advisor an opportunity to quickly analyze portfolios even at the single-account level.
Most account aggregation software includes a reporting feature that allows advisors to pull up reports on a client level, and some even have the ability to pull up a report for each individual account the client may have. Pulling reports for a single account for numerous clients may be enough to give you a good idea about their strengths and weaknesses.
Some platforms include the ability to see a multiple advisor platform, allowing you to select multiple advisors to compare the assets in each advisor’s account for all of their respective clients. You can quickly see the different approaches they take when investing and manage accordingly. You can see below a screen shot of a multi-advisor interface.
As an advisor, you need to know where your clients are investing, their account balances, and the growth of their assets. You tend to have many relationships with multiple clients and need to access this information quickly. In essence, an advisor needs all this information at a glance.
The main solution to any accounting or performance reporting challenge is integrating it with the core system. The platform should provide you a way to pull up information directly from the back-end and generate performance reports for each client.
As you might have guessed from the above, account aggregation software is ideal for advisors who handle multiple accounts from multiple institutions. You can work with multiple accounts from multiple institutions through the account aggregation software.
Lastly, while the features are important, you’ll want to make sure the software is all-in-one and easy to use. It’s also important for the software to be compatible with your existing technology on the back end. This is necessary in order to integrate easily with all your investment accounts.
Managing Multiple Advisors and Clients
Many advisors work with multiple advisers and have multiple clients in their practice. As a financial advisor you need to find a solution that makes it easy to see your broker-dealer and bring the back end onto one platform. Being able to bring the front end and the back end together in one system allows advisors to easily access all their clients’ information from one place in the account aggregation software.
Why Choose Account Aggregation Software?
Account aggregation software allows you to analyze your clients’ investments and make recommendations to try to improve their performance. It allows you to access and manipulate the entire picture of your clients’ investments in one system.
A recent study found that account aggregation software for advisors and financial advisors can streamline the investment management process. It can also decrease the time it takes advisors to work with clients and their information. According to the study, “the average early-adopter advisor”…
“…has 20 clients, leverages automated investment management systems, and charges a 1.03% advisory fee. With this technology, the average advisor will save 100 hours of workload each year.”
Moreover, the study also found the following about account aggregation software:
The amount of time it takes to work with one client or client portfolio is reduced by 90%.
The amount of time to hold a client meeting is reduced by 64%.
The overview of a client portfolio is reduced by 33%.
By combining the information from multiple institutions, you can save hundreds of hours of work every year as a financial advisor. That is especially useful for you if you are an advisor who offers various services, including investment consulting, retirement planning, tax services, estate planning, mortgages, life insurance, and more.
Is Account Aggregation Software for Me?
This technology will work better for some financial advisors than others. It is especially beneficial for financial advisors who have clients from different broker-dealers and asset classes. An account aggregation software solution will really work well for anyone who has to interact with multiple entities and deal with complex datasets.
Though account aggregation software is great for financial advisors, you should consider a number of factors before deciding whether to use it. Before you can decide, you must weigh the pros and cons of account aggregation software.
Account Aggregation Software Pros and Cons
When you’re deciding whether account aggregation software is the right solution for you, you need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the technology.
Benefits of Account Aggregation Software for Financial Advisors
Account aggregation technology is highly advantageous for financial advisors because it allows advisors to run their business more efficiently. Whether they are working with a lot of clients or a few, there are some significant benefits associated with the technology.
Can reduce your workload.
Provides you a way to track your client’s entire financial portfolio, at the aggregate level.
Does not require you to manage multiple disparate software platforms, from different broker-dealers.
Gives you a platform that allows you to get an idea of how your clients are doing, while also allowing you to make educated investment recommendations.
Provides you analysis capability, as well as, intuitive to use dashboard and reporting.
Disadvantages of Account Aggregation Software for Financial Advisors
There are a few drawbacks to relying on account aggregation software. Using this technology can reduce your workload, but it can also decrease the quality of service that you provide your clients.
Systems that are not user-friendly can slow down your work process and make it more complicated for you to do business.
Account aggregation software has made it easier for advisors to communicate with their clients. However, it has also made it easier for advisors to be lazy.
It may also penalize financial advisors who would like to spend more time with their clients, by having to constantly check the aggregated portfolio.
Today, software bolsters most if not all aspects of financial advising. The process of drafting financial advice for an aggregate portfolio is no exception.
The technology is evolving every day, and several companies are bringing this software technology to financial advisors. It is becoming easier to manage all of your clients’ accounts or client portfolios. It is becoming easier to communicate between yourself and your clients.
As a financial advisor, you can use account aggregation software to improve your work efficiency. Think about the issues that you face as a financial advisor on a daily basis. Identify the problems that you have while communicating with your clients.
Are you spending a lot of time during client meetings to discuss recommendations, or are you spending a lot of time updating or recalculating accounts to get the necessary information for your report? If so, account aggregation software is a good solution for you to consider.
Account aggregation software should not only be considered using for quality improvement, but also for cost reduction.
Categories of Account Aggregation Software
There are five categories of account aggregation software available to you as a financial advisor. You can use cloud-based software, desktop software, API platforms, RD platforms, and open source software.
The question is, which platform you should use and which features does each platform have?
Cloud-based account aggregation software is often called “white-label” provider. They generally provide three levels of aggregation.
“The first level: a few aggregated accounts to show to a prospect during a client-acquisition meeting.
The second level: a somewhat larger number of aggregated accounts for the RFP/RFI collection and proposal generation.
The last level: complete aggregation which is sometimes aggregated by another service
provider and sometimes by the firm or password or both.”
What kind of features does cloud-based account aggregation software have?
The tables below represent the products that this cloud-based software.
This software allows you to view multiple private and public databases, as well as, see into a FDIC-insured account.
This software gives you the ability to import data for aggregation in four ways:
- via an API (Application Programming Interface)
- via a system that allows you to import data from various platforms directly into an Excel spreadsheet
- Allows you to connect with multiple databases
- Allows you to connect to brokerage accounts
Categories Description Desktop Account Aggregation Software Desktops allow you to connect with multiple database source. This allows you to import data directly into your desktop application. Such as:
· Imports data into your Excel or Access file.
· Imports data via the API of the data provider and then imports the data directly into your desktop application.
· Imports account data into your desktop application. API Platforms These platforms allow third-party providers to use account aggregation technology. In most cases, these platforms are known as channel-based distribution, where the account aggregation is provided by the third-party provider and not the broker-dealer.
To send this data to you, the broker-dealer uses a set of APIs, which are also yours. Specifically for sending and receiving data.
This is the fastest and most effective method for the broker-dealer as it allows the sales team to stay focused on selling rather than collecting data and organizing it.
This is the fastest and most effective method for the broker-dealer as it allows the sales team to stay focused on selling rather than collecting data and organizing it. Closed Platforms This platform is a platform that is exclusive to that broker-dealer. They are the only platform that receives this type of aggregated data.
There are various types of features, according to the platform, you can use to integrate your own apps or those of other providers.
Various levels of aggregation.
Server-based account aggregation software is one of the most popular types of account aggregation software available.
It allows for the monitoring of all current, as well as, historical portfolios. This software will help you to zoom in on previous portfolios and also share it over a network.
Account Aggregation Software
However, a significant portion of investors still do not use aggregated portfolios, and there are plenty of advisers who don’t either.
Are you an investor without an aggregate portfolio?
Do you advise without an aggregated portfolio?
Or, do you manage an investment portfolio without aggregated portfolios?