You can choose what you want to watch, listen to, and buy whenever you want, reflecting your tastes and values in your choices. We’re on the same track with our investment decisions. Product providers are advising investment advisors on how they can use technology to retain their trusted positions with clients.
“Clients today want investments aligned with their values,” said Morningstar CEO Kunal Kapoor in his opening address at the 2022 Morningstar Investment Conference. Clients want their personal preferences reflected in their portfolios, in addition to achieving returns and managing risk.
“Active personalization is the new active investing,” Kapoor said. “Personalize your portfolio at scale: that’s the theme you will hear voiced over and over.”
The Morningstar conference’s FinTech Showcase, which featured presentations on 18 products, delivered with these five themes:
- Providing portfolio personalization and data automation at scale.
- Focusing on client values and building portfolios that reflect those values while providing returns.
- Giving advisors the ability to add new, complex products (namely crypto and annuities) with ease.
- Making independent financial advice better and more affordable.
- Using technology that gives financial advisors more time to spend with clients rather than on administration.
The following companies, listed in the order of presentation, participated in the FinTech Showcase.
Vector Space Biosciences
Applies its AI technologies to financial services to find “hidden relationships” between global events and public companies. The result is an automatically generated tradable basket of equities or crypto tokens to provide financial protection through shorts or other trading strategies.
Puts recommendations in the service of fixed income investments generally only available to large institutions. The goal is to make fixed-income markets more accessible, transparent, and connected by using recommendations (think Yelp) to provide smaller institutional investors with market data and knowledge.
Gives advisors AI technology that enables them to more easily uncover investment products that align with client preferences and values. The service is designed to help advisors create more personal portfolios and models and to provide asset managers with a digital distribution channel to advisors. “Personalized impact proposals help deepen the relationship between advisor and clients and for clients to see the impact their portfolio has,” said Matt Barley, advisor sales director.
Enables African investors to invest in global securities easily and inexpensively. The app combined with Morningstar research aims to African investors, whether on the continent or in the diaspora, with investment education, low investment minimums, and fractional access to shares in global securities.
Builds custom portfolios that express personal preferences and desires at scale. The application does portfolio construction and investment fulfillment for advisors, based on their financial plan for individual clients. The firm calls it Wealth 3.0 Intelligent Investing, in contrast to Wealth 2.0 ETFs and Index Funds and Wealth 1.0 Mutual Funds.
Minimizes taxes over time to provide additional investment alpha even as clients defund accounts. The enterprise technology company helps estimate the often complex tax implications of investments accumulated over a lifetime and optimize the tax structures to capture additional wealth.
Provides advisors with a marketplace for the third-party services they need to manage a retirement practice. The firm bills itself as “the amazon.com of retirement benefits” that gives advisors access to third parties and keeps track of proposals and business flow through an Amazon-like user experience.
Enables financial advisors and wealth managers to invest in digital assets on behalf of their clients in a secure and digital way. The firm provides an open-architecture platform that gives advisors choices for direct or secondary digital asset investments, custodians, and trading exchanges.
Helps advisors navigate digital assets by providing education and investment management systems. Given that many clients are asking about or investing in digital assets already, the firm’s goal is to support advisors to build a digital asset practice and retain or gain revenue.
Provides technology that adds new products to an advisory practice quickly and easily. Using APIs and a common interface for all asset classes, the company helps advisors create profitable products for underserves and underinvested clients.
Builds and scales the investment advisory practices through affordable technology. Independent advisors can leverage the digital tools and workflows formerly available only to larger firms through an integrated, affordable, and customizable technology stack.
Powers trading decisions with investor-selected experts. Traders can list their portfolio picks and show returns while investors can pick a team of traders to pattern their portfolios after, much like a fantasy football team. “Our investors can learn from the experts they follow” said Axel Thibon, founder and CEO. “The experts get followers, exposure, and brand building. The investors get self-selected yet guided investing approach: “do it with me, not do it yourself or do it for me.”
Empowers wealth advisors and investors to create portfolios that seek to align personal values with financial goals. The asset manager helps individual investors and financial advisors invest in securities that achieve individualized outcomes for sustainable investing.
Luma Financial Technologies
Seeks to simply structured products and annuities. The firm’s API connections and platform technologies make it easier for financial advisors to understand, offer, and manage these products, giving them additional products with a wide choice of issuers and carriers.
Finds market insights quickly through an AI-based and targeted search engine. Unlike general search engines, the company aggregates results from relevant financial data sources and organizations; then it parses results into findings of interest to advisors and traders researching market trends and companies.
Backstop Solutions Group
Offers a research management workflow application for institutional investors that manage private equity, real estate, hedge fund, and other alternative investments. The goal is to automate and streamline investment management information through consistent processes across asset classes in a bid to provide greater focus and insight for investment managers.
Halo Investing Structured Products
Runs a marketplace platform that makes it easier for investment advisors to offer structured notes to client portfolios. The number three investment vehicle in capital markets, these debt instruments are difficult to buy for investors because they are complex and require high investment minimums. Halo provides an independent platform listing these notes to provide a more transparent and easier to access market.
Halo Investing Outsourced Insurance Desk
Makes it easier for advisors to add annuities to client portfolios. this is another one on the increasing popularity of annuities. The platform gives independent advisors to build their product line and manage inherited investments without spending additional time or hiring specialized staff.