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T3ing Off with the Main Themes from T3

March 2, 2020 Steve Zuschin By Steve Zuschin

Multi-account management – ESG – asset location – AI – diversity in financial services – and personalized digital experiences. These were the key themes of this year’s T3 conference. The breadth of vendors focused on solving for these growing industry themes.

Multi-account management and asset location

It’s clear that multi-account management is taking hold. Several vendors were leading with this messaging at their booth. Tamarac, AdvisorPeak, RedBlack, and Orion are all trying to solve for this in their own way.

Under this lens, several vendors highlighted the benefits of multi-account rebalancing. Many solutions allow a security-level target to be rebalanced across multiple accounts – as if those accounts were rolled together into one. It was interesting to see several vendors support location preferences to direct purchases, but they’re often not populated. We’re solving this problem through our partnerships, to automate the location optimization portion of re-balancing and quantify the benefit of what it’s worth to the Advisor and their client.

ESG is on the rise

Elgin Chau of Act Analytics cited that ESG assets now account for more than 23% of invested capital globally. Many solutions are focused on helping advisors align investor’s interests and passions with their profits. Others are focused on using ESG to help advisors differentiate and grow their practice. Whatever the angle is, it’s clear that fintech needs to incorporate this investment trend to remain relevant.

Increasing diversity in financial services

Dani Fava (Director of Innovation at TD Ameritrade), Lisa Burns (Head of Platform Technology at Fidelity), Christina Townsend (Head of Platform Strategy and Consulting at BNY Mellon’s Pershing Advisor Solutions), Lauren Wilkinson (VP Product, Digital Advisor Solutions at Charles Schwab) and Suzanne Siracuse (Host, and CEO of Suzanne Siracuse Consulting) led a captivating discussion on the importance of increasing diversity in our industry.

The panel noted that the number of women leaders in executive positions is growing each year, but not fast enough. It was also interesting that they noted there were more men in the audience than last year. One key takeaway was the topic of hiring and recruiting, specifically hard skills vs soft skills. They talked about how recent data shows that men tend to write their resumes in a much more direct tone, as opposed to women. One study by Harris Poll shows that an individual with soft skills – enthusiasm, dependability, etc. – and with less experience – is becoming more valuable to companies when evaluating candidates. Women also tend to hire for these skills more than men.

Improving digital experiences and diversity with AI

The discussion on AI was led by Dani Fava of TD Ameritrade. The panel mostly agreed that if used properly, AI will help shed light on areas our industry can improve diversity, but also increase productivity and automate workflows. Overall, we need to rethink how we use AI and improve the data that we give it, so it improves, not replicates our current environment.

The Women Leaders in WealthTech panel also discussed the infusion of AI into our advisor-client experiences. AI will be used to deliver richer experiences for clients and enable advisors with data that would have been previously unattainable.

Charismatic leaders like Reed Colley from Summit Wealth and Jason Wenk of Altruist wowed the audiences with promises of the ultimate client experience. Both companies focused on delivering exceptional customer experiences, driven by a mobile-first mentality, optimizing the UX for trading, performance reports (which might not even showcase performance) to advanced interactions through a client portal. These new players led by industry veterans have a great opportunity to disrupt conventional thinking. The T3 conference was a hit, yet again. We look forward to seeing how these themes infiltrate the industry in the coming years.

Steve is the EVP of Advisor Success at LifeYield. He's responsible for leading our Direct-to-Advisor channel and always keeps up on the latest advisor technology. Steve writes about how advisors can grow their business by building stronger relationships with clients and adopting new technology.