We’re often asked for our thoughts about the events we attend because we’ll offer our unbiased perspective. This week we’re breaking down the news that came out of Envestnet Elevate 2023 in Denver, which brought together Fintech leaders from RIAs, independent broker dealers, bank and trust companies and other industry partners. Elevate is an opportunity for Envestnet to showcase the latest developments in terms of product releases, integrations, and roadmap items and to help their customers navigate the landscape.
Here are our top takeaways:
Acquisition does not equal innovation.
Envestnet has grown largely through acquisition. Bringing all of those pieces together to create an all-in-one platform that advisors understand is a challenge that Envestnet hasn’t quite solved. From the perspective of Envestnet users, the evolving ecosystem can lead to some confusion about which products and services are most well-aligned with their needs. We liked what we saw with their roadmap and progress on workflows and on a digital client experience that utilizes widgets, but they haven’t established a seamless experience across the ecosystem and conveyed it to the industry. And we sensed skepticism from some members of the audience about the realistic nature of the promoted timelines.
There’s a big opportunity to lead on the integration front. We expect that Envestnet will identify and invest in the most suitable partnerships, acquisition targets, and product development initiatives, as well as commit to ongoing investment in resources and infrastructure that are required to deliver the seamlessly integrated, holistic ecosystem. At the same time, wealth management firms are not off the hook for managing integrations because they’ve licensed these tools. They won’t find a much better holistic experience with those tools right out of the box.
We’re in a game of follow-the-leader.
Industry-wide we’re seeing the same key new features emerge. The top players are all starting to look like each other. From creating dashboards with a similar look and feel to launching alternative investment capabilities to advancing data strategies, we can’t help but feel like we’ve seen it elsewhere. Envestnet isn’t alone here. Clearly all of the technology vendors are looking at their competitors to check the boxes and bring tools to market.
Playing the right cards.
Envestnet made several other announcements that covered the hottest industry trends. We saw:
● New capabilities for direct indexing, including fixed incomes ladders and a “Personalized Index Portfolios” product. This aligns will with our own research that shows a strong interest among wealth management firms in adding this strategy.
● A reskinned UI with a modern, elegant design. The portal customizations, with widget configuration and integrations with apps like MoneyGuide and Yodlee, have the potential to deliver a very competitive client user experience. However, the mobile app component is not available (described as a “fast follow” release on the roadmap) and with the industry trending to mobile for client digital experiences, it will be critical for Envestnet to deliver a good mobile experience alongside its redesigned client portal.
● Continuing evolution of the financial planning solutions suite, including MoneyGuide, MyBlocks and WealthStudios. The rollout of new features within WealthStudios, like advanced estate planning, estate flowcharts and detailed cash flow analysis, is moving the product closer to satisfying the planning requirements for the HNW client segment.
CTA: Two minutes wasn’t enough? Get in touch with Doug Fritz for more about this conference.