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An App for Your High Net Worth Clients

Advisors can offer high net worth clients an online personal finance application similar to ones that are wildly popular with investors.

Bill Winterberg, 09/13/2012

Online personal finance applications are proving to be very popular with investors. Millions of investors today use websites and mobile apps such as Mint.com, Personal Capital, and Blueleaf to aggregate and view all of their household accounts and investments in a consolidated, easy-to-use dashboard.

When considering whether to engage the services of a personal financial advisor, investors often discover that many advisors aren't capable of providing the kind of online access to their financial information to which they are accustomed. Many of the tools used by financial advisors don't deliver such capabilities directly to investors.

To compete with the new generation of personal finance applications, advisors want to provide their high net worth clients with comparable solutions. Only a handful of options exist today, including aforementioned Blueleaf as well as eMoney Advisor, but a new entrant to the field specifically targets advisors' high net worth clients. That solution is Wealth Access.

Wealth Access
Wealth Access is an online financial aggregation and reporting service that is, according to its website, "designed to meet the needs of high net worth investors and their advisors."

Based in Nashville, Tenn., David Benskin founded Wealth Access in March 2011 after a 12-year career as a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch. As his advisory business grew, Benskin became frustrated with the number of manual solutions his team created to track and manage the complex finances of his high net worth clients.

Account aggregation programs provided some relief for raw investment data collection, but Benskin still found it difficult to share aggregated data with clients in a simple and elegant way. Though he describes Wealth Access as "Mint.com on steroids," he emphasized that the service's goal is to promote collaboration between clients and advisors rather than act as a substitute for advisors.

"We're not trying to disrupt the financial services industry or replace the job of a financial advisor," said Benskin. "We want Wealth Access to improve advisors' relationships with clients by allowing everyone to work together with accurate, up-to-date information."

Client Dashboard
Benskin created Wealth Access to first be used by clients, followed by advisors. No advisory relationship is required to create an account, so investors can use Wealth Access independently (see pricing details below). Conversely, advisors can subscribe and pay for the service and then invite clients to create their own Wealth Access accounts.

Bill Winterberg, CFP, is a technology and operations consultant to independent financial advisors. His comments on technology have been featured in a variety of financial industry publications. You can view more information about Bill and see his schedule of upcoming speaking engagements at his Web site, FPPad.com. The author is a freelance contributor to MorningstarAdvisor.com. The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect the views of Morningstar.
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