International Communications Award
Financial Capital Award
FIDx is a technology-empowered network that seamlessly connects wealth management platforms to the insurance ecosystem. Founded by notable industry problem-solvers, FIDx’s industry-changing technology allows advisors to offer annuities and the benefits of insurance within their wealth management platform.
FIDx came to FiComm in January 2019 for assistance in developing a brand, launching as a company, and formulating a sales funnel by connecting with annuity carriers and advisory parties via activating audience-specific marketing capabilities and engaging in proactive media relations.
Prior to working with FiComm, FIDx had no marketing infrastructure or communications framework, and very little web presence.
FiComm worked with FIDx to build their website and social channels, launch at Envestnet Advisor Summit, and develop a steady stream of news via proactive pitching and partnership announcements with leading carriers and insurtech vendors.
FIDx partnered with us to:
Launch FIDx as a brand through a combination of marketing collateral, proactive media outreach, a steady drumbeat of partnership announcements and support at speaking engagements leading to name-recognition throughout the industry.
Develop a voice in the advisor, wealth management and insurance industries through storytelling and the creation of audience-specific marketing collateral to share and engage with these communities, explaining the nuances of FIDx, and working with the Envestnet Insurance Exchange to ensure alignment on messaging and content.
Identify, train and prep new media spokespeople to develop the thought leadership of the FIDx executive team, including Dan MacKinnon, Rich Romano and John Yackel, in order to elevate them as experts in the industry on insurance technology, the need for annuity integrations, and wealth management platforms’ impact on advisor workflow.
Create content to demonstrate the importance of FIDx technology to annuity and wealth management platforms, advisory firms, and potential strategic target partnerships for FIDx, via placements in financial trade publications and FIDx’s communications channels.
Financial advisors using the Envestnet Insurance Exchange will now have access to AIG annuities directly through the platform, according to an announcement made Wednesday. The Exchange, which is powered by FIDx technology, acts as a bridge between insurance carriers and wealth managers, making it easier for the latter to add annuities and other insurance products to their clients’ retirement portfolios.
For instance, a client might have a million dollar investment portfolio,” Rich Romano, the FIDx chief technology officer, told RIJ. “Today, if they have a $250,000 annuity, it is off-platform. In the Exchange, you can see those things side by side. They appear in one document. Now the annuity is inside of the account as its own investment. That’s revolutionary.”
FIDx Opens Annuity Supermarket -The company’s Envestnet Insurance Exchange team has recruited six carriers to offer annuities through the new FIDx exchange. The founding issuers are Allianz Life, Brighthouse Financial, Global Atlantic Financial Group, Jackson National Life Insurance Company, Nationwide and Prudential Financial.
Top takeaways from the Envestnet Advisor Summit? The introduction of its Credit and Insurance exchanges, which are seen as yet another game-changing development for the industry as the company seeks to address not only a huge area of opportunity for advisors who continue to seek ways to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace but a tremendous gap between client expectations of what products they should be receiving from advisors versus what advisors are actually able to provide, especially in the growing fee-based channel.
CTO Rich Romano, joins the FinTech CTO club, discussing the work that goes into creating FIDx and how to keep work/life balance as a CTO. He has been helping to spearhead the development of the annuity exchange project at FIDx over the last two years. In an effort to move the industry forward and fill the gigantic gap between insurance and investment firms, Rich has had to alter his perception of the intersection of insurance and wealth-management that he gained through years of work.
Because the domestic market has been doing well for so long now, advisors and their clients tend to want to stick to domestic investments, but this is a mistake, says Dana D’Auria, director of research at Symmetry Partners, a financial advisory firm based in Glastonbury, Conn.
What matters most is the total return for the entire portfolio, says Philip R. McDonald, director of investments at Symmetry Partners in Glastonbury, Connecticut. "It's not in an investor's best interest to scrutinize the individual line items of their portfolio based on asset classes, funds or securities," he says. A broadly diversified portfolio will always have winners and losers, so your ideal asset allocation should reflect your long term expectations and priorities, "not short term predictions," McDonald says.
Dana D’Auria, director of research at Symmetry Partners, said bonds serve as a stabilizing force in a portfolio, when asset allocation is done right. “The reason people have a 60/40 portfolio, in which 60% is allocated to stocks and 40% is allocated to bonds, is to make sure they can sleep well during major drawdowns,” said D’Auria.
Patrick Sweeny, founding partner of Symmetry Partners, says advisors need to employ due diligence on ETF strategies and the provider or sponsor. Due diligence also comes down to studying its liquidity, bearing a simple thesis in mind: “Do the due diligence on ‘is it liquid enough for them to move clients into this product and get them out of this product when they need to,’” he says.
“Divorce is generally not part of the plan,” says Brian Spinelli, financial adviser at Halbert Hargrove. “For most people it does cause a lifestyle shift,” he says. “A number of clients delay retirement.”
“It takes discipline not to interrupt a client,” said Nick Strain, a certified financial planner in Long Beach, Calif. Instead of jumping in to recommend an action or give his opinion, he prefers to keep quiet and let people direct the conversation.
“Existing privacy clauses relate to clients’ personal information being held by the financial advisor,” said Shane Cummings, director of operations at advisory firm Halbert Hargrove in Long Beach, California.
“We’re targeting double digit growth, revenue wise. A minimum of that. Hopefully more,” John C. Abusaid, president and chief operating officer of Long Beach-based Halbert Hargrove, said. Halbert Hargrove is a fiduciary wealth management and investment advising firm.
Paul Gamble, CEO of 55ip, a technology firm that helps advisers design custom and automated investment strategies, said products like this ETF make it easier for advisers to implement ESG strategies because they remove the burden of researching the funds and help balance social responsibility with investment returns.
Firms like InvestmentPOD, qplum, and 55ip are bringing advisors investment management tools that go above and beyond the first wave of low-cost, consumer-grade robos.
“Prudent diversification is always good advice, but one should not simply rely on historical patterns of correlation between the stock market and fixed income investments,” says Leonid Kogan, chief investment scientist at online wealth management platform 55ip.
Many pre-recession investors didn’t bother to look at their portfolios until after the markets had already taken a hit. They then panicked, sold and missed out on the market rebound in 2009 and beyond, describes Paul Gamble, CEO of investment strategy engine 55ip.
ADVYZON ACHIEVES MAJOR COMPANY MILESTONE: 500 CLIENTS IN FIVE YEARS
One thing that helps prevent surprises is making the onboarding process as repeatable and automated as possible through a CRM system, according to John Mackowiak, chief business development officer at Advyzon. “Most CRM systems offer workflow capability that can minimize the number of moving parts,” he said.
For fintechs like Advyzon that aren’t looking to expand their own service into a new sector, integration works well for all parties involved. “From a vendor perspective, a lot of us have our own strengths,” Pearson says. “That’s where we look to each other to partner together.”
"It's part of a trend that lets RIAs and smaller institutions do what the larger players can," says John Mackowiak, chief business development officer at Chicago-based CRM and performance reporting software firm Advyzon. "As technology has evolved, it has already allowed the smaller firms to offer similar experiences to that of much larger enterprises ... [This] is one example of this trend," he says.
"Ease of use is the biggest savings," he said. "We now have a very intuitive user interface" that ties in cloud-based performance reporting, document storage, client web portal management and customer relationship management features such as taking and archiving notes on client communications.
CLS’ models cover a comprehensive range of risk tolerance levels for those seeking to accumulate wealth or avoid severe market declines. Model market center gives advisors access to a variety of third-party investment models in one place. “By offering these models on model market center, we’re empowering advisors with additional investment choices to better serve their clients’ individual needs, “CLS CEO Ryan Beach said.”
Investors in globally balanced portfolios had a great year in 2017,“ says Rusty Vanneman, chief investment officer at Omaha-based CLS Investments IBD. “We expect investors in global portfolios to continue to do well in the year(s) ahead.”
Emerging markets have lower correlations with the U.S. than developed international markets and thus higher diversification benefits,” says Kostya Etus, portfolio managar at CLS Investments in Omaha Nebraska. “While it’s true that individual emerging markets have unique political, financial and economic risks, they’re also highly uncorrelated with each other.”
Josh Jenkins, a portfolio manager at Omaha-based CLS Investments, agrees that “U.S. stocks have become expensive by historical standards.” He said that doesn’t mean it is time to panic about a major sell-off.”
“Having completed our first year in existence – which was spent engineering our Fintech/Insurtech exchange platform – we engaged FiComm to help us build and execute an integrated communications plan: including marketing, PR, digital services and branding.
Our business can be complex as we have 360 degrees of customers: insurance carriers, investment managers, and technology and service partners.
FiComm understood our marketplace, realized our idea is innovative, helped us drive messaging that talked-to and resonated with the needs of our end customers, and utilized their deep industry connections to execute on a powerful public relations campaign.
We thank FiComm for their expertise and execution and look forward to working with them again.”
Dan MacKinnon, CEO