United Capital letting more advisers use this part of its technology tools

By unbundling the FinLife suite from CRM, Joe Duran hopes to increase the pipeline of firms licensing his tech

By Ryan W. Neal

Apr 16, 2018 @ 5:30 am EST

United Capital is making it easier for advisers to use its suite of client engagement tools.

Third-party firms can now plug a white-label version of United Capital's technology directly into their existing client relationship management (CRM) technology, whether they uses Salesforce, Junxure, Redtail or any of the other popular products on the market.

The suite, called FinLife CX, includes a client portal, communication tools, financial planning and AdvisorCenter, a central hub for advisers to track and manage client relationships. AdvisorCenter syncs information between the United Capital technology and the adviser's CRM and portfolio accounting system.

(More: Tech companies deploy behavioral finance tools for advisers)

For an additional fee, advisers can access United Capital's portfolio reporting, accounting and billing tools, too.

Since United Capital started licensing its proprietary technology to other wealth management firms via FinLife partners in 2016, it has signed 22 firms and nearly $9 billion in assets under contract.

Until FinLife CX, firms had to convert all of their client data over to United Capital's own CRM system.

Many firms weren't willing to make this transition, having already invested considerable resources in licensing out a CRM, training advisers and staff to use it, and inputting client data, said Joe Duran, United Capital's founder and CEO.

"Advisers who spent a lot of money aren't overly eager to re-train the entire staff to work with a new CRM," he said.

By opening up the technology to other platforms, Mr. Duran can expand the pool of potential customers for FinLife Partners. Without having to go through the entire process of switching CRMs and training, advisers can more quickly start using United Capital's tools, he said.

Plus, they can always decide later to upgrade later if they want access to the full FinLife operating system or United Capital's investment platform.

FinLife CX also is cheaper. Instead of charging firms a percentage of assets that they move onto United Capital's platform, they can access the technology with a flat $600 per client annual fee.

United Capital made a number of improvements to the technology that is included in FinLife CX. For instance, advisers can now record and send personalized video messages to clients via GuideCenter, the client portal.

So if there's a sudden correction that causes Apple shares to drop 20%, the adviser can record a video of their thoughts wherever they are and send it to any client that holds the stock. The videos can be embedded into emails and sent to one or several clients. The technology also will provide feedback on whether the client opened the video and how much they watched.

(More: How advisers can hold on to their clients despite Vanguard's broadening reach)

Video messaging is something that is quickly becoming a "non-negotiable" feature for advisers, Mr. Duran said.

"The future will require video connectivity," he said. "If a client watches a personal video from you, two weeks from now they won't remember whether they saw and spoke to you [in person] or watched a video."

The company also updated its MoneyMind questionnaire, which is designed to reveal clients' biases towards money. Rather than ask every client the same thing, questions are now tailored to the person's age, family situation and career status.

He claims advisers using the technology see an average 25% growth in their top revenue by increasing wallet share among clients. The technology also can help firms looking to adopt a fee-based compensation model, he said.

"Because you're becoming a financial life coach, they will be far more willing to transfer those assets over to you," Mr. Duran said.

His proof that it works? They are the tools that he has used to build a $22 billion RIA.

"This is all driven by work we've been doing … our belief is that for the next 10 years, the single most important thing that any adviser can do is figure out the client experience," Mr Duran said. "As digital alternatives come in, the race for client experience is the secret."

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