XYPN16 Sneak Preview: The Next Challenges For Advisory FinTech

6 min read
August 25, 2016

FinTech is a difficult space in which to gain traction if you’re a small software provider. Large firms that negotiate enterprise contracts tend to be extremely demanding -- and it often isn’t feasible for startups to reach larger firms in the first place.

Going to independent advisors can prove just as difficult. The market is extremely scattered and fragmented, and it’s hard to gain a foothold that’s sustainable and scalable.

Startups offering products for the side of the financial advice industry that operates independently and focuses more on comprehensive planning services instead of investment management as a primary driver of business often get stuck in the chicken-and-the-egg scenario.

You need visibility to get on with large firms or to successfully negotiate an enterprise contract that gives you the backing you need to grow. And you need backing to gain the visibility needed to earn the attention of those large firms.

Disrupting the Cycle

The FinTech Competition at XYPN LIVE 2016 will break that problematic cycle by providing a platform for FinTech software providers to gain visibility for their products.

We will bring startup tech companies to a large community of financial advisors who are likely to adopt those solutions. The immediate audience? XYPN LIVE 2016 conference-goers, a tech-savvy crowd hungry for solutions that address their problems and needs, and industry leaders and innovators who are excited to try out new FinTech that can improve their practice.

Finalists in the competition will also find their visibility getting a boost via valuable media coverage, both at the event and after through XY Planning Network’s various platforms and communities, including the Advisor Blog, XYPN Radio, social media channels, and Nerd’s Eye View from Michael Kitces.

Serving Gen X and Gen Y Clients

The overwhelming majority of technology for advisors right now is built entirely around the investment management value proposition. There are countless options for portfolio management, reporting, portals, and so on.

But there’s very little innovation around all of the other aspects of providing financial advice and delivering personal financial planning to clients. And advisors back up the investment management products with their wallets, finding it easier to pay more for portfolio-related software than any other tech tool.

One standout feature of XYPN LIVE 2016’s FinTech Competition is that it aims to support the growth of financial planning-centric solutions and tools for advisors, not just more investment related technology.

We support innovators who want to create more tools that allow advisors to bring better financial planning to Gen X and Gen Y on a monthly retainer business model.

The opportunity is here for both parties: advisors can reach more consumers with the monthly retainer model because it’s more affordable and accessible than a strictly AUM model. The caveat of the approach for the advisor is that they must run an extremely tech-efficient business.

For solo, independent advisors serving “small clients,” technology efficiency is crucial. And that’s where the opportunity for FinTech startups comes in: currently, there is very little software that’s made for independent advisors, particularly around helping advisors serving younger clients that don’t necessarily have assets but do have a diverse set of planning needs.

Better Tech Means Better Financial Planning

XY Planning Network is known as an industry disruptor. We want to continue making positive changes to our industry by making it easier and more feasible for advisors to serve young clients.

That gives more people access to the professional financial advice they deserve (before they amass wealth). It also creates more job opportunities for financial planners when you have a larger market of clients to serve.

We see FinTech innovation as an essential underpinning to expanding the market for financial planning in this space. Better tech makes advisors more efficient and empowers them to actually deliver a better value proposition to their clients through that efficiency and innovation.

The advisor does a better job, gives better advice, and provides a better client experience. At the end of the day, we all win.

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!

XY Planning Network’s national conference, XYPN LIVE 2016, will play host to an exciting new event designed to generate more innovation in the technology space for financial advisors.

We’re hosting our inaugural FinTech Competition to find and showcase new players in the industry who are creating tech solutions to help financial advisors provide better financial planning to Gen X and Gen Y clients.

Traditionally, technology has only been provided by very large companies that focus more on investment management solutions. Some individual advisors innovated for themselves and created software solutions based on the problems they experienced in running RIAs.

They might have sold their software to a few peers and eventually ran a small software company on the side. But it’s hard for small players to gain visibility in the industry without investment from major companies -- and it’s hard to generate investment without visibility.

XY Planning Network wants to help FinTech innovators overcome these and other challenges in order to bring truly unique, groundbreaking, and practical tools to the marketplace. The competition will showcase 6 companies that offer software solutions and tech tools to financial advisors serving Gen X and Gen Y, in an effort to get them in a marketplace where they’re desperately needed.

How the Inaugural FinTech Competition Found Its Finalists

18 companies met the competition criteria from all entries we received. Finalists were chosen for a combination of what we thought was relevant and useful tech for the advisor, and how differentiated the product was from existing solutions,

We tried to qualify a wide range of software solutions in the finalists -- we didn’t just pick 6 financial planning software packages. Part of our goal in choosing finalists was to recognize new types and categories of software for advisors that aren’t being considered in the marketplace today.

That’s part of what makes this competition so exciting. It’s a showcase of new tools that work completely differently than anything else available.

So who are the six companies that will be competing on the FinTech stage at XYPN LIVE 2016?

Meet Our 6 FinTech Competition Finalists


Ambitient offers Team On-Demand, designed to simplify and consolidate various means of communication while offering additional functionality that streamlines the client interaction process. It is a single tool that combines and simplifies phone, video conference, text and email, while tying into an advisor's real time calendar availability.

College Affordability

EFC PLUS from College Affordability is the first comprehensive college funding decision support system. Similar to the solution TurboTax provides for the IRS process, EFC PLUS generates the same customized answers for students and parents in the college funding and financial aid process.

Data Points

Predicting Wealth™ is a behavioral finance platform from Data Points that analyzes client behaviors that have been scientifically proven to impact wealth accumulation over time. The platform gives advisors powerful analytics to strategically help clients improve behaviors to build wealth, and provides clients with personalized, developmental reports.


RightCapital provides cutting edge financial planning solutions designed to enable financial advisors to efficiently and profitably produce customized financial plans. Their software includes specific functions like  budgeting, cash flow analysis, and debt management to help advisors serve next-generation clients.

Snappy Kraken

Snappy Kraken offers referral automation software. They provide advisors with a single source for customizing, deploying, managing and tracking key business processes and referral generation campaigns.

Totum Wealth

Totum helps human financial advisors bring risk clarity to their wealth management practice, delivering fully-customized portfolios via an interactive visual interface. They company is democratizing tools previously available to only the largest institutional investors.

Join Us at XYPN LIVE 2016 for the FinTech Competition!

The FinTech Competition will be hosted at XYPN LIVE 2016 by financial advisor tech guru, Bill Winterberg. Bill is the creator and host of FPPad, and is an undisputed leading source of news, insight, and thought leadership on financial planning technology.

Our competition sponsors will also be in attendance, and we want to give a special thank you and recognition to both Betterment Institutional and TD Ameritrade Institutional for supporting this event. We’re grateful companies like these are as invested as we are in the future of tech innovation in our industry.

You can attend this event yourself when you purchase a pass to XYPN LIVE 2016. The conference takes place from September 18 to 21 in San Diego, California. 

Alan Moore

About the Author

Alan Moore is the CEO and Co-Founder of XY Planning Network—a support ecosystem dedicated to helping fee-for-service advisors start, run, and grow their own financial planning firms and serve the clients they want. His favorite part about his job is dreaming about possibilities for what's next, knowing his stellar team will either tell him no or Get Sh*t Done to make it happen.

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