Michael Kitces’ recent post – The Battle of Advisor Dashboards and Client PFM Portals – provides an excellent overview of the challenges facing the financial technology ecosystem to provide a single view of the client and the sharing of client information across multiple stand-alone applications.
I have been working in the financial technology space in Canada for over 20 years helping to solve the single client view challenge by creating a single ‘industry wide data hub’. We are leveraging that data hub to power CRM, Financial Planning and Portfolio Management software applications.
360-degree view of client is difficult to achieve
The current system of financial services and technologies is fragmented across product lines, distribution verticals and regulatory bodies making it very difficult to get a whole and accurate view of the client’s holdings and needs. Even in-house, captive advisor networks rarely have the ability to bring all of their client data together, but the independents are much worse off as they are dealing with multiple independent distributors, custodians and product partners.
As Kitces indicates, most advisors use some form of CRM systems, financial planning tools and portfolio management systems, but all of these systems were designed for specific purposes – none of which is to act as a central data hub for client information.
A big part of our strategy at Ticoon is built around solving this problem. The Ticoon platform has been designed to be the central data hub and 'unofficial book of record' that syncs up data across multiple 'official' books of record and source systems.
Ticoon is independent and objective. We do not sell any financial products or services and we do not have any relationships (aside from client-vendor) with any financial institution or product provider. Ticoon does not transact any new business directly and we don’t do any official reporting. Our data comes directly from source systems so it is accurate, but we do not purport to be an official source. Advisors conduct their business through a transaction system (official book of record), not Ticoon. It is the transaction system or new business system to which the compliance rules apply, not Ticoon.
Unified view of client should translate into better advice
Ticoon’s arms length model is critical to the advisor and their client. Not only does it allow us to bring together client data from multiple regulatory environments to create a single and all important 360-degree view of the client, but it also allows Ticoon to be the central feeder system (data feeds) for multiple third party applications like financial planning, portfolio management, insurance illustration and even account-open software systems. We can ensure that all of these systems are fed accurate and consistent information.
Equally as important, Ticoon’s data hub supports more than just investments. Insurance products form an increasingly important part of the financial planning equation, especially because of the aging population. Exempt market products are also growing in popularity and advisors should be considering banking, especially the debt side. It is also important to understand a client’s other assets, such as a real estate portfolio or private company holdings.
A data hub supplied by one product manufacturer or transaction platform is only able to manage business done with that firm. In order to have value, any central data hub must support all products types and to do so it must be 100% independent from any and all financial product providers or advice providers.
In my opinion, the fragmented state of client data within the financial services industry is one of the single greatest barriers to clients getting a clearer picture of their financial affairs and advisors really knowing their clients and providing better advice.
It is our mission at Ticoon to help the financial services industry move toward this vision.