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Fidelity boosts tech offerings for advisors

Fidelity is going all in on open architecture.

The custodian added two new tools to its technology platform, Wealthscape Integration Xchange, expanding the selection to over 120 third-party options, according to the firm. The updates include access to the ultrahigh-net-worth portfolio management system Addepar, and Wealthbox, which offers customer relationship management.

“As we think about adding new third party solutions, we’re always driving towards meeting the needs of our clients,” a Fidelity spokeswoman said. “Addepar and Wealthbox are used by many of our clients and were something we heard from them that they’d like to see added to Integration Xchange.”

The integrations offer APIs and data feeds using both Fidelity’s in-house technology and third parties. For example, advisors have access to eMoney Advisor features that help with account opening, money movement and single sign-on capabilities, according to the firm. Other portfolio management tools on the platform are Black Diamond, Envestnet Tamarac and Orion, according to the spokeswoman.

Fidelity launched the program with 100 integrations in October.

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Technological integration isn’t new within the industry, but firms are increasing their value to advisors by building out choices. For example, Pershing announced an open architecture partnership with the robo advisor AdvisorEngine in January. The deal allows flexible use between both Pershing and AdvisorEngine technology, clearing the way for advisors to better meet clients’ specific needs.

“Forward-thinking firms are adopting new technology to deliver a modern client experience, drive growth, and achieve increased profitability,” said AdvisorEngine CEO Rich Cancro, in a statement at the time.

Addepar provides solutions to performance and analytics reporting for the sophisticated needs of HNW investors. The firm improves workflows by allowing financial institutions to outsource and aggregate their management of portfolio, market and client data. These services are already used by hundreds of advisors and financial institutions that collectively manage $1.3 trillion in client assets, says the firm.

"Fidelity has struggled a bit in the past," says William Trout, senior analyst at Celent, about its technology offerings to advisors. "Recently it has made huge strides under [CEO] Abigail Johnson in terms of Wealthscape and their new Integration Xchange.”

The custodian provides more than 13,500 financial advisory firms with investment technology and currently manages $2.6 trillion in assets.

The Fidelity updates — including APIs, data feeds, contextual linking and frame-in capabilities — provide RIA firms with the ability to streamline business processes using both Fidelity solutions and any combination of third-party technologies. “To that point, the most promising custodian offers from a tech front have been API-based systems whose open architecture approach supports multiple custodians,” says Trout.

While custodians are making strides to provide advisors with greater flexibility, there is still work to be done, Trout says. “The problem is that none of these systems are adequate by themselves to meet the needs of advisors, who must scale their businesses while maintaining high levels of service and advice.”

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