Instead of creating more efficient practices that free up more of their time, technology may actually be making advisors do more work, according to one fintech-minded CEO.

In a recent interview on WealthTech Club, Alex Chalekian, CEO of Lake Avenue Financial, said that modern technologies make advisors work harder.

Chalekian talked about an ideal centralized solution with all the necessary tools onboard. Integrations are required to make it possible to create platforms that gather all required specific tools in one place.

No wonder that integrations and saving advisors’ time were the two most popular topics at this year’s Technology Tools for Today (T3) conference. Judging by a number of presentations, wealthtech companies should think about how technology can free up advisors’ time instead of worrying about a traditional return on investment measured in dollars.

LPL Financial is one of those companies that considers advisor’s time an important element. The company’s new goal, which is to save advisors at least one hour of work each workday, was presented last summer by Dan Arnold, president and CEO.

Today, we see that LPL’s actions are all oriented towards time-saving upgrades:

  • A new digital account opening tool added to LPL’s ClientWorks is intended to save advisors five minutes.
  • Integration with MyRepChat, an SMS texting platform for financial advisors, will save advisors a significant amount of time in sending compliant text messages to clients.
  • AdvisoryWorld’s proposal generation tool integrated into LPL’s new account opening tool will make it easier for advisors to turn prospects into clients.
  • Integration with Envestnet MoneyGuide enables seamless data flow between the MoneyGuide’s financial planning tool and LPL’s ClientWorks, which makes advisors’ work easier and more efficient.

Technology integration was another hot topic at T3. A number of WealthTech companies announced integrations with platforms or providers. One of these is Orion Advisor Services, which enhanced its integration with Salesforce and now has a new integration with MaxMyInterest, a cash-management optimization platform that captures the highest-possible FDIC-insured savings rates.

What makes integrations so popular in the WealthTech landscape is how they increase efficiency, reduce mistakes, and tailor platforms to specific needs of a particular niche of advisors or end investors. Users don’t need to switch from one platform to another to check and move data between systems.

However, the integration process itself is full of pitfalls to saving time if done wrong or by an inexperienced team. Custodians such as Fidelity Investments, LPL Financial, or BNY Mellon | Pershing provide both real-time and bulk integrations, and their sets of APIs are not trivial. If the company’s team lacks the expertise to efficiently provide integration with a custodian, developers may spend significant amounts of time working even on simple tasks. This is why many wealthtech companies don’t do integrations themselves but delegate this work to vendors that have provided integrations with custodians time and again and whose expertise can save time, money and nerves.

Aiming to make integrations easier, Fidelity created its Integration Xchange, an open architecture digital store, where developers and tech vendors can test various integrations and see how they fit with their existing platforms. According to Lisa Burns, head of platform technology at Fidelity Institutional, the company hopes to enable advisors to easily develop custom technology platforms.

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