The best-in-breed technology mindset seems to have far outpaced the all-in-one platform concept among financial advisors.

In fact, only 18% of firms currently employ the all-in-one approach, according to more than 5,200 advisor respondents in the T3/Inside Information Advisor Software Survey report for 2021.

That’s a sharp contrast from 2020, when nearly 80% of the firms surveyed said that they used an all-in-one platform, a discrepancy that the report’s authors credit to placing the all-in-one platforms first in last year’s survey. By placing a question about all-in-one platforms lower in the survey, the report was able to uncover that many firms use such platforms as part of a plug-and-play technology stack put together using the best-in-breed philosophy.

The all-in-one approach uses a central software platform like Morningstar or Envestnet, allowing the bulk of a financial advisory firm’s activities to take place across one unified suite of software. The best-in-breed approach, on the other hand, integrates different pieces of software from a number of different third-party providers.

T3 not only sought out the companies with the largest market share among their fintech peers, but also asked respondents to rate their experiences with each platform to offer some comparison of advisor satisfaction with each.

In the all-in-one approach, Morningstar is still the most used platform, taking a 7.69% market share and garnering an average user rating of 7.14 out of 10. Envestnet rounds out the top three with the vanilla Envestnet platform taking a 3.67% market share and earning a 7.04 average rating, and Envestnet | Tamarac taking 3.43% marketshare with a 7.29 average rating. Coming in fourth place by market share and used by 1.6% of the respondents, Advyzon had the highest-rated all-in—one solution with a 7.98 average rating.

This year’s study also revealed that a small number of firms, 423,  are interested in moving to an all-in-one solution, or from one all-in-one solution to another. The report’s authors insinuated that firms like Advyzon, Advisor360 and CircleBlack might have difficulty building market share in the future by pitching themselves as all-in-one platforms.

The highest market share custodial platform in this year’s survey was TD Ameritrade’s VEO, with a 21% market share and an 8.19 rating. Thanks to Schwab’s acquisition of TD Ameritrade, this platform will be merged into the second-highest market share platform, Schwab Advisor Services, with a 19.1% market share and a 7.87 user rating. Fidelity’s WealthScape took third, with a 15.8% market share and a 7.77 rating, while Pershing’s NetX360 took 13.3% market share and a 7 rating. The highest rated custodial platform was TradePMR’s fusion, with an 8.68 rating but just a 1.35% market share.

LPL Financial’s ClientWorks was the most used broker-dealer technology platform, with 7.5% market share and an average rating of 8. Cambridge’s Advisor Workstation took second with a 2.6% market share and a 7.99 average rating. Coming in third, Cetera’s SmartWorks took 2.5% market share and earned a 7.2 rating. The highest-rated platform was Commonwealth Financial’s Advisor 360, with an 8.81% average user rating but just 0.5% market share.

As in years past, advisors identified CRM as the most valuable component of their technology stack, named by nearly 57% of the respondents, followed by financial planning software (26.46%) and portfolio management platforms (15%). Trading and rebalancing (5%), investment analytics (4%), risk tolerance (2%) and document management (2%) all registered significantly lower in importance.

What follows is an accounting for the most commonly used and highest-rated technologies in each of these essential areas.

CRM – Highest Market Share
1. Redtail – 61.9%
2. Envestnet | Tamarac – 15.6%
3. Wealthbox – 12.6%

CRM – Highest Rating
1. Concenter Services XLR8 – 8.85
2. Wealthbox – 8.15
3. Redtail – 8.06

Financial Planning – Highest Market Share
1. Envestnet MoneyGuidePro – 36.8%
2. eMoney Pro – 29.7%
3. RightCapital – 9.7%

Financial Planning – Highest Rating
1. Cheshire Wealth Manager – 8.4
2. Asset Map – 7.96
3. Envestnet MoneyGuidePro – 7.91

Portfolio Management – Highest Market Share
1. Envestnet – 6.7%
2. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios – 3.8%
3. SEI Business Insider – 3.2%

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