Tech Survey: Advisors’ top picks for tools, software and more

Mobile technology will drastically alter wealth management, advisors told us in the latest Financial Planning tech survey. Robos, too, but to a lesser degree.

But that's the future. What about right now?

From financial planning software to CRM tools, financial planners opened up to share what they like, and don't.

In addition, there are changes in the landscape of who provides these tools — large firms are absorbing fintech startups. But advisors still have more options than ever when it comes to deciding which software they want to use.

Scroll through to see what tools your colleagues across the industry are using now.

Of the 307 respondents to the survey, most of the advisors were between the ages of 45 and 54 (33%). About 23% of them were between the ages of 55 and 64, and 20% of them were between 35 and 44 years old. Only 1% of respondents were younger than 25.

Mobile is in, robo is out.

Forty percent of advisors surveyed say they anticipate mobile apps will transform wealth management. Behaviorial finance software will also be a gamechanger, according to 39% of respondents.

Only 27.5% of advisors report that robo would be poised to transform the space in the next few years — that's nearly 10 percentage points less than last year's survey.
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More than nine out of 10 advisors use customer relationship management tools in their practices. Financial planning (82%) and a client portal (80%) are also standard practice.

However, portfolio management (79%) has become less popular than last year, dropping three percentage points.
With regard to portfolio management tools, independent advisors report having more options than ever before.

Morningstar Office (15%) is a leader in portfolio management. Schwab PortfolioCenter (4.2%) has surpassed Black Diamond (3.9%) as a tool of choice.

And Albridge (12.4%) has become more popular than Envestnet (10.7%) among advisors.
MoneyGuidePro is still a frontrunner among independent advisors, with 31.3% of respondents citing it as the financial planning software they use, but more competitors have come into the space.

More advisors have cited using NaviPro Planning Suite (3.9%) and RightCapital (2.9%) than last year.
Fewer advisors are utilizing robos than last year. However, fewer advisors are also concerned by their ascendancy in the marketplace.

Of advisors who use a robo solution, 4.2% of respondents said they use Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, and 2.9% rely on Betterment.
Fewer advisors are using the client portal provided by their broker-dealer or custodian. While this is still the primary method at 24.1%, the number of users has fallen by nearly five percentage points since last year's survey.

Some advisors have left eMoney (12.1%), while Albridge (9.1%), MoneyGuidePro (7.5%) and Orion (4.6%) strengthened their popularity with advisors this year, according to the survey.
Salesforce (22.8%), Redtail (22.1%) and Microsoft Outlook (14.3%) dominate the space as the preferred tools used to maintain client relationships, according to survey respondents.

Other notable options included Ebix SmartOffice (3.9%), Act! CRM (3.3%) and Microsoft Dynamics CRM (3.3%).
Many independent advisors (26.1%) rely on the risk software supplied to them by their broker-dealer or custodian. The most popular third-party software is Riskalyze, which 16.3% of respondents cited using.

Other competitors are FinaMetrica (4.9%) and Pocket Risk (2.3%).
In general, most advisors (51%) think that technology has little effect on recruiting at their respective companies.
More than one quarter of survey respondents were affiliated with an independent RIA. About 22% were independent advisors affiliated with a broker-dealer, and 12% were from an RIA affiliated with a broker-dealer.
Thirty-six percent of advisors participating in the survey manage over $500 million in assets. One-quarter of respondents say they managed somewhere between $100 million to $499.9 million, and 10% said they managed $50 to $99.9 million.