The Unstoppable Surge of Advice Engagement in the Fintech Landscape

Written by: Philipp Hecker | Bento Engine

In recent years, the financial technology ecosystem has undergone a seismic transformation. Playing a pivotal role in charting this dynamic journey is the Michael Kitces’ Financial AdvisorTech Solutions Map ("the Map"). Starting in 2018 with a list of 188 companies, the Map has grown steadily, encompassing 444 companies by September 2023 (for a broader exploration of the Map and its function as a barometer for the rapidly expanding and innovating industry, you can refer to my earlier insights).

Originally, the Map was broken down into 29 categories, focusing on areas such as Portfolio Management, Financial Planning, and CRM. Fast forward to today, and we now have 34 categories, each representing a unique segment of this expansive industry.

Among the burgeoning list of categories, the 'Advice Engagement' category stands out, even though it's still in its nascent stage at just three years old. This category has quickly gained traction within the fintech community and garnered significant attention from stakeholders. The presence of companies such as Asset Map, fp Alpha, and Bento Engine reflect the category's primary objective: revolutionizing the methods by which financial advisors engage and communicate with their clients. By leveraging cutting-edge technology, advice engagement companies are not just streamlining processes but are also fostering deeper, more meaningful interactions between advisors and clients, making financial advice more accessible, personalized, and impactful. The 'Advice Engagement' category, with its blend of innovation and client-centric approach, embodies the next frontier in financial advisory services.

Here's a quick overview of how the 'Advice Engagement' category has evolved in a relatively short period of time:

  • September 2020: The predecessor of the Advice Engagement category, then called ‘Advice Support’, started with 3 companies, joined in November 2021 by Bento Engine.
  • February 2022: Asset Map was added and the category was renamed ‘Advice Engagement’ to better reflect the essence of its member firms.
  • March and July 2022: visiWealth and Lumiant emerged as additional offerings.
  • February 2023: New entrants MyPlanMap, Knudge, and Elements joined the fold.
  • March 2023: ForwardLane, with its AI capabilities, made its debut.
  • April 2023: A shuffle saw the exit of MyPlanMaps and Advice Systems Inc, underscoring the fast-evolving nature of the landscape.
  • June 2023: CurrentClient was added, while Elements found a new home in the Sales Enablement category.
  • August 2023: InvestSuite became the latest addition to the category.

Craig Iskowitz, CEO of Ezra Group, a strategy consulting firm for financial institutions, and an expert in fee-based advisory platforms and wealth management technology, shared his insights on the emergence of advice engagement technology, noting that “It’s become a hot category” among firms and vendors who would like to see their products/names listed in the category.

The trajectory of the 'Advice Engagement' category within the fintech sector encapsulates the broader narrative of innovation meeting necessity. As the Map has expanded and evolved, it reflects an industry in flux, always seeking to better serve its clientele. Looking ahead, we can anticipate further advancements in this direction. The combination of technology and human insight is set to create a future marked by improved client engagement and satisfaction. The 'Advice Engagement' category isn't just a trend; it's a sign of an evolving financial landscape where innovation meets the needs of clients, paving the way for a more financially secure and accessible future. It represents progress toward a future where financial well-being is attainable for everyone.

Philipp Hecker is CEO of Bento Engine, a technology platform that helps client-centric advisors deepen existing client relationships and convert more prospects.

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