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Want to Provide More Holistic Financial Advice?

Technology points the way.

Nicolas Owens, 10/06/2015

Advisors who focus on investment selection or investment management have gotten a bad rap since the financial crisis and even more recently with the advent of robo-advisors. Advisors can provide better value by focusing on their client’s financial well-being holistically. For more on the value of advice, see Alpha, Beta… and now Gamma, by my colleagues David Blanchett and Paul Kaplan, which posits a possible 23% increase in retirement income from activities outside of investment selection.

Focus on Client Goals and Outcomes
Holistic advice requires the advisor to flesh out the information they use to build a financial plan, and it can lead to new ways of communicating about the client’s goals and outcomes. However, compiling, tracking, and mapping investors’ goals, income sources, investments, and life events are data-intensive, time-consuming tasks. New and evolving technologies provide greater scalability to advisors’ practices. To learn more about holistic financial planning, read our latest article.

Morningstar has the global reach and scale to help advisors keep track of the information they need to form and execute a holistic financial plan. Morningstar has a 20+ year track record of helping investors meet their goals:

> 1997: Deployed the first generation of Wealth Forecasting Engine
> 1998: Developed online goals-based planning tools
> 2000: Launched ClearFuture, which has evolved into our Retirement Manager solution
> 2003: Acquired mPower, which began providing online goals-based investment advice in 1996
> 2006: Acquired Ibbotson Associates and (separately) received a patent on its Annuity Allocation formula for retirement planning
> 2007: Morningstar received a patent for our Human Capital allocation model
> 2014: Acquired HelloWallet and ByAllAccounts, which each provide important capabilities to assembling an end-to-end holistic advice capability

We are constantly reinvesting in our ability to innovate in this arena. We believe that better profiling, better budgeting, and better investment decisions can all add up to better outcomes, using Morningstar methodologies, information, and tools. By investing in our tools and fostering integration with Redtail, TRX, RiskAlyze, and other third-party providers, we aim to address all of advisors’ day-to-day needs and their ability to provide holistic financial advice. By integrating many methodologies and tools into our technology platforms, we hope to offer a much higher level of service to our clients.

We would love to hear how you’re offering your clients greater value and how we can continue to enable holistic advice through our solutions. Please email me at nicolas.owens@morningstar.com.


Nicolas Owens is director of Morningstar's Institutional Equity & Credit Research Services.
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