BrightPlan allows users and advisors to track financial goals in real time. Once their financial situation reaches a certain level of complexity, the platform prompts them to consider seeking an advisor. “We’re moving the whole planning process to digital,” King says. “Many of our templates are digital already and built into the work flows in our CRM.” Integrating with Salesforce, Plancorp has developed work flows for on-boarding clients that include sending wires and distributions and everything in between.

The platform has already passed one test of robustness: BrightPlan won certification by CEFEX, the first robo-advisor to do so. A subscription to BrightPlan costs $20 a month, with a $500 account minimum. No AUM fees are assessed until a client account reaches $50,000 in assets. At $50,000, BrightPlan users are assessed a 0.5% management fee.

For those who choose to invest their assets through BrightPlan, the platform offers a mix of low-fee mutual funds custodied at TD Ameritrade. It also includes automated rebalancing, dividend reinvestment plans and tax-loss harvesting.

The system is one of the first robo-advisors to allow clients access to Dimensional Fund Advisors products. Vanguard funds are also used in BrightPlan portfolios.

BrightPlan will also enable Plancorp to train its wealth management teams more efficiently, Kerckhoff adds. “We’re very much continuing to work on enhancements internally to continue to allow our people to train and develop at a faster rate so that they can spend more time with the clients. We can enhance our training with technology to get advisors up to speed faster and in a position where they have all the tools they need.”

Moving forward, BrightPlan will also add ESG investment funds to its platform, says Lazaroff.

Youth Movement

Plancorp believes that BrightPlan will help the advisory firm continue to draw young, talented advisors eager to serve clients as fiduciaries.

Young advisors and new partners are a key part of the firm’s succession plans. Kerckhoff, who came to Plancorp two weeks after graduating from Indiana University, has hired a swarm of young advisors over the last few years, leading to a team well under the industry’s average age.

But with that team comes challenges of uncertainty and higher turnover. On the other hand, hiring young advisors out of college is easier than training established advisors to work within Plancorp’s team system, says Kerckhoff.

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