eMoney rolls out new products, services to 'get more plans to more people'

For advisors who are not keen on offering planning to clients, eMoney may create an outsourced financial planning service, CEO Ed O’Brien says.
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After a year so crazy that even the word “unprecedented” has become a cliché, eMoney Advisor CEO Ed O’Brien is keeping his strategy simple for the Fidelity-owned financial planning technology company.

“Get more plans to more people,” O’Brien says.

The firm’s approach has two prongs. First, expand the market of customers planners can reach, from the highest end of the wealth spectrum to people who are early-stage savers, O’Brien says. Second, make it easier for a greater number of advisors to incorporate planning into their practice. At the annual eMoney Summit, held virtually this week, O’Brien and other executives introduced new products and services to achieve those goals, including a mobile app for self-directed investors, digital marketing capabilities for advisors and an outsourced financial planning service.

“We’re not just software,” O’Brien says. “We’re here to help advisors be better planners.”

The mobile app, dubbed Incentive, began as eMoney’s “Project Avocado” to introduce financial planning concepts and long-term savings habits to young people. Seeing a widespread need for more accessible and affordable financial planning, eMoney is making the app available to retirement plan advisors as a product they can offer plan participants.

Incentive provides clients a basic financial plan and is fully self-directed. It looks and feels like many direct-to-consumer apps, but can only be offered through a financial professional, says vice president of product innovation Chad Porche. An employer or retirement plan advisor provides clients a code to access the app.

Incentive is “a way for advisors to introduce planning at scale to a more diverse audience than they are used to dealing with,” Porche says.

The app is limited to the workplace defined contribution space at launch, but eMoney has plans to expand it to more advisors. By engaging investors who don’t fit traditional advisory fee structures and asset minimums, the firm hopes to expand the pipeline of potential clients, says head of product Jess Liberi.

“[Advisors] are not going to do the same types of plans for all clients,” Liberi says. “This is a really nice way to bridge that gap and get people comfortable with these high-level financial rules of thumb and help them get started on their own.”

“As they move from Incentive into foundational or advanced planning, the advisor and client always have that consistent experience,” she adds.

Marketing is also becoming even more central to the service eMoney offers advisors. The fintech is updating its Advisor Branded Marketing dashboard with automated lead generation campaigns, and eMoney is investing in more content advisors can share with prospects and clients, Liberi says.

Besides helping advisors find new clients, part of “more plans to more people” also entails getting more advisors onto eMoney. To that end, the company is expanding its own APIs to make it easier for large advisory firms and third-party tech vendors to integrate eMoney’s technology.

The firm showcased enhancements to its core offerings, including interactive cash flow, estate and monte carlo views in Advanced Planning product and new retirement goal and life insurance gap analysis to Foundational Planning. The firm also has a new onboarding and training program to help advisors learn how to use the planning technology.

But for advisors who are not keen on offering planning to clients, eMoney may create an outsourced financial planning service, O’Brien says. The firm is gathering feedback from advisors about what a possible service would look like.

Despite industry concerns about the effect the pandemic and ensuing market downturn would have on advisor fintech budgets, O’Brien says there wasn’t much of an impact on eMoney’s customer base. Advisor retention is “increasingly strong,” the chief executive said.

If anything, the pandemic underscored the value of client relationships based in planning rather than outperforming the market, O’Brien says.

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Financial planning Fintech Technology Mobile technology eMoney Ed O'Brien Fidelity Investments INVEST West 2020