Fintech Report Card: October 2020

18 Nov 2020

Below is the October edition of the Fintech Report Card, a monthly piece by Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein originally published in WealthManagement.com. 


eMoney Allows Advisors to Outsource Planning

What happened: During its annual summit, eMoney announced it had opened an RIA and hired CFPs so that advisors can outsource the creation of financial plans to its team.

Why it matters: This is a fascinating and innovative move by eMoney. For the advisors who love financial planning, driving the adoption of its product isn’t hard. But for the thousands of advisors for whom planning is not their first love, this could be an amazing way to build planning into their practice and create scale on their time. We’ll be watching this unfold with interest.


Robinhood Hack Hits 2,000 Accounts

What happened: Robinhood disclosed that hackers succeeded in breaching, and siphoning funds from, at least 2,000 accounts on its platform.

Why it matters: Trust is at the heart of financial services—and this latest story takes another bite out of Robinhood’s credibility. Looking at the details behind this hack, it doesn’t appear that the firm was necessarily responsible—poor user security practices such as easy-to-crack passwords seemed to be at fault. But here’s the deal—Robinhood has built a highly profitable business offering zero customer service. Which might be fine because millennials don’t want to talk to a human when placing a trade, but this becomes a bit more tricky when their nest eggs get stolen and they can’t reach anyone.


What's Next for VEO?

What happened: Schwab’s acquisition of TD Ameritrade has closed, and now the mega-custodian will be making choices on which features, functionality and integrations to keep from the popular TD Ameritrade VEO custodial platform.

Why it matters: I’m bullish on Schwab’s ability to digest this acquisition and find a way to keep the majority of its RIA clients happy. But with the majority of TD’s leadership departing the new firm and 1,000 layoffs looming, there is an air of uncertainty around what technology integrations will make the transition to Schwab and which will sunset with Veo in 18 to 36 months. Riskalyze is already integrated with both platforms, but that effectively means that TD-integrated advisors will likely have to transition their integration to the Schwab one when the custodial cutover occurs. Buckle up!


Holistiplan Added as Tech Option for Carson Group Advisors

What happened: Carson Group’s partner firms can now access Holistiplan, a tax planning software provider, for no cost.

Why it matters: Ron Carson once again makes a bold move to invest in delivering more value for his firm’s advisors. Congratulations to Holistiplan on getting its innovative OCR-the-tax-return technology on the desks of these advisors, and delivering the power of good tax planning without hours of data entry.


TD Bank Sues Plaid

What happened: TD Bank is suing data aggregator Plaid over the latter’s use of its logo and likeness when establishing connections with client accounts.

Why it matters: Part of the success behind getting a consumer to use data aggregation is presenting it with familiar marks—and Plaid does that by highlighting the logos of the bank you’re logging in to, including TD Bank. Data aggregators have an important role, but some have come under fire for how they store and protect user data (or don’t). This is a particularly aggressive move by TD Bank, but the rules and norms have changed for “user consent,” and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.


Bank of America App Adds DIY Planning

What happened: Bank of America launched its Life Plan tool in its mobile app, a light financial planning assistant that may be designed to push clients to the Merrill Edge “robo” self-directed investing service.

Why it matters: It’s fascinating to watch the attempts by several firms to make planning a DIY service for investors. Advisors have found planning to be a substantial value-add to the process, but a big part of that has been the work that goes into it—and they’ve found little success outsourcing that work to the client. Will the self-directed investor think about it differently? Looks like we may find out.


Aaron Klein is CEO at Riskalyze.

Editors note: The views expressed in this column are Aaron Klein’s, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WealthManagement.com.


For more great content, visit WealthManagement.com.

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