Toronto-based Nest Wealth Asset Management Inc. will launch a technology tool aimed specifically at financial advisors and their firms later this year that will give them the potential to screen potential clients, among other features, according to Randy Cass, CEO and founder of the robo-advisory service.
Cass, who spoke during a panel discussion at the 2016 Exchange Traded Forum in Toronto on Tuesday, provided more details about the upcoming initiative, which is currently undergoing a pilot project with some clients, but will launch more broadly in the third quarter.
The product, which will be known as Nest Wealth Pro, will include an onboarding tool that firms can use to gather an investor's information, such as goals, assets, investment time horizon, before he or she even steps into an advisor's office.
"This is a way for the firm to determine: Is this a customer that we want to pick up the phone with and have a conversation with? Is this a customer we want to email? Is this someone we want to allocate our advisors to at this stage?" explained Cass.
For example, a high net-worth investor could be directed quickly to an advisor who has built his or her practice around working with this type of client.
The tool looks to automate the administrative and commoditized parts of the investment process, which can include onboarding a client in a digital secure and encrypted manner without paper, managing know-your-client profiles, understanding inflows and outflows in their business and where portfolio rebalancing needs to occur, he explained.
Nest Wealth Pro is a response to an industry that is evolving, according to Cass who said that pricing and the user experience will have to change in order to keep up with this movement.
"Some individuals and firms will change their pricing, but all individuals and firms will have to change their user experience to keep up with what is anticipated," he said.
"[This tool provides] all of the things that you would hope could be combined into one package to provide an advisor with an incredibly efficient practice and [investors] with an incredibly user-friendly way of maintaining their information and staying on top of their investments," he added.
Although the robo-advisor is developing the tool, advisors and firms will not be sharing clients with Nest Wealth.
The firm's main automated investment-management system is a direct-to-consumer product in which the investor is self-sufficient while Nest Wealth Pro is purely a technological tool that keeps the advisor as the focal point of a relationship with a client, Cass explained.
Cass called Nest Wealth Pro an "agnostic" tool through which advisors could use their own firm's products, independent products or the exchange-traded funds that Nest Wealth uses within its own portfolios.
Although robo-advisors are known for their low-fee pricing models, Cass said that any advisor or firm that would use Nest Wealth Pro would choose their own fee structure.
"If the advisor believes, and the client is fully aware, that the relationship is worth 1.5 [basis] points or one point or whatever it is, they can fully charge that to their clients and we have no issue with it," he said. "In those relationships, we are a piece of technology that is providing a vastly superior user experience for both the advisor, firm and the individual."
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