As competition in the advisor tech space tightens, discount brokerages are expanding their platform’s offerings to appeal to a wider range of advisors — and stay a step ahead of digital upstarts.
One of the more compelling new tools is automated portfolio management software that allows advisors to create recommendations digitally without the time and expense of consulting with an expert.
The latest is TD Ameritrade’s Model Market Center that is provided to RIAs at no fee and could cut costs for those already using third-party TAMPs for portfolio modeling, the company says. There’s also no investment minimum.
“Investment management isn’t just time-consuming,” says Danielle Fava, TD Ameritrade’s director of product strategy, “it’s increasingly commoditized. Advisors are increasingly seeking efficiencies.”
ETF provider WisdomTree Investments launched a portfolio construction tool late last year — following similar moves by larger fund providers like BlackRock. Powered by analytics that once were only available to the larger institutions, the software narrows down the recommendation process to seconds, says David Yates, WisdomTree’s chief information officer.
“There’s a lot of technology already out there,” Yates says. “How do advisors put those pieces together in a way that makes sense for their company?”
The TD Ameritrade platform currently offers a selection of models from eight investment managers, including: Goldman Sachs, State Street Global and WisdomTree Investments. Officially activated at the end of October 2017, more than 1,000 independent RIAs have signed on to Model Market Center, the firm says.
“One of the top concerns we hear from advisors is they don’t have the time to create their own models,” says Charles Ballweg, co-owner of the San Ramon, California-based Prosperity Financial Group and an early adopter of the new software.
Portfolio recommendation options could drive down costs for RIAs and continue to shape the evolving advisor tech space, he says. “It’s a good, low-cost alternative,” Ballweg says, “particularly in investment areas where margins are thinner.”