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The Advisor's Answer to Popular Personal Finance Management Tools

Consumers love their high-tech PFM apps, but this software platform can help you close the technology gap.

Bill Winterberg, 07/11/2013

Personal financial management applications, or PFM, have exploded since Intuit INTU, the creator of desktop-based Quicken personal finance software, acquired online competitor Mint.com in September 2009 for $170 million. Mint.com now boasts over 10 million users of its online website and mobile apps for iOS and Android.

PFM competitors including Personal Capital, LearnVest, Wave, and more have appeared over the last several years, giving consumers the ability to aggregate banking, credit, loan, and investment accounts and view them with modern, user-friendly websites and mobile apps.

Although PFM tools are helpful for tracking spending and budgeting, consumers may realize that they might benefit from a personal relationship with a professional financial advisor for more complicated needs.

Many advisors use portfolio management software solutions to deliver account information and performance reports to clients, often through the use of an online client portal, but these tools lack the aggregation of client banking and credit accounts present in PFM apps, and many of the interfaces are not designed with mobile phone access in mind. Also, clients who continue to use PFM apps will receive automated product suggestions that may conflict with the financial objectives outlined by their advisors.

One solution for clients to consolidate their portfolio and personal finance information comes from Conshohocken, Pa.-based eMoney Advisor, LLC. For over a decade, the firm has been providing a suite of programs specifically for financial advisors that rival their PFM counterparts, while reinforcing the service relationship between clients and advisors.

eMoney Advisor
Founded in 2000 by former financial advisor Edmond J. Walters, eMoney Advisor provides Web-based wealth management and needs analysis software to financial advisors. The primary product is eMoney 360, which is offered in a standard and Pro version and is used by more than 25,000 advisors, planners, and assistants. eMoney also offers Advisor Marketing, a collection of videos, presentations, and marketing resources financial advisors can use to attract prospects and market their business.

eMoney 360's most impressive feature is its portfolio of data connections to financial institutions. According to eMoney director of business development Kyle Wharton, over $600 billion in assets are aggregated by eMoney Advisor, with 90% of those data connections developed internally. For the remaining financial institution connections, eMoney combines account aggregation functionality from Fiserv's FISV CashEdge and ByAllAccounts.

The extensive data connections allow both advisors and clients to view a complete accounting of financial, insurance, real estate, and other holdings that is updated nightly. Assets as well as liabilities (remember that eMoney retrieves credit card transactions) can be viewed on both a consolidated and an individual account basis, cash flow trends are displayed in the spending screen, and more than 200 report types are available to review with respect to investment assets.

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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