How does Addepar measure up compared to other technology platforms?
Stefan: Addepar is uniquely able to aggregate seemingly disparate data into a single platform. We’ve spent a lot of time building out integrations for data aggregation across multiple custodians and asset classes. The distinguishing factor is that we’re able to aggregate both private and public market data from multiple sources in one place. Then, we make it easy to analyze the data and produce custom reports. Our platform also enables advisors to customize at scale, which is hard to do without compromising quality.
Steve: We consistently hear from advisors that their clients love our reports, because they’re so comprehensive and the information is presented very professionally. Clients like the responsiveness and exceptional flexibility to fit people’s various needs. This is something we’ve worked very hard to achieve because we know how important it is for advisors to deliver high-quality reports at scale. Advisors don’t have the time to manually aggregate data from disparate sources or to format reports by hand. It needs to be a seamless and simple process.
Tell us a little about your background and what brought you to Addepar.
Steve: Before joining Addepar, I wrote three major portfolio accounting systems: Advent, Geneva and SUMA. That experience gave me a lot of ideas for how to build a more flexible and powerful platform that delivers greater value to advisors. I wanted to be part of a team that could help bring those ideas to life, and Addepar has proven to be the perfect place for me. We have an impressive team that has done a great job across many technology domains. I’m excited to contribute my skills and expertise as we grow and enhance the Addepar platform.
Stefan: My background is in operations and technology roles in the financial services sector. While at wealth-management software provider Tamarac, I witnessed the industry going through generational shifts and major technology advances. I think many advisors are now realizing the importance of adopting new technology to position themselves for the future, and Addepar is the best partner to help them make the transition.
How does Addepar’s approach to data differ from the rest of the industry?
Steve: Our clients feel confident in the quality and reliability of the data on our platform. Many other platforms are challenged when handling redundant data. We have an automated process for checking all incoming data across asset classes to avoid inconsistency, redundancy and gaps in accuracy. Addepar is also unique in its ability to track any type of asset that can be owned in a single consolidated view. Our data modeling capabilities allow advisors to instantly analyze and visualize any portfolio—across asset classes and currencies. This is a key differentiator as well.
Stefan: Further, the speed of the platform sets Addepar apart. As a private company, we’re able to make significant investments in improving Addepar’s performance on data aggregation and analysis, to deliver a better experience for the advisor and their end-client. This is an area where we’ve already directed a lot of resources and will continue to do so in the future.
Why is the successful migration of historical client data such a “hot-button” issue?
Stefan: Historical client data is the “bread and butter” for an advisor’s business. It’s critical to be able to show portfolio performance over time and to put that into a historical context when planning for the future. Particularly during periods of volatility, showing clients a longer-term view—looking back as well as forward—is fundamental in reducing client anxiety. When advisors consider moving off a legacy technology platform, they absolutely must think through the data migration implications. It’s a major consideration in selecting a new technology partner.
Steve: Other technology providers charge high fees for bringing over historical client data, which can add significant unanticipated costs to the conversion process. Also, many providers make conversion a copy-and-paste exercise without any data cleanup or quality control. If historical data migration is too difficult, too costly or too risky, this can be a major obstacle preventing an advisor from upgrading to a new platform. With Addepar, there’s no added cost and the process is seamless. We have extensive experience implementing data conversions and a proven process that includes data cleanup to ensure a smooth transition. As a result, when an advisor moves to Addepar, they’re able to maintain continuity in long-standing client relationships at the same time as they’re enabling a more modern client experience.
Today’s clients expect more from advisors. How does Addepar enable advisors to deliver a higher level of client service in less time?
Stefan: As advisors build their business, they’re faced with a dual challenge—serving more clients and also meeting the expectations of each individual client for a higher level of service. Addepar helps them meet this challenge because the platform is built for efficiency, allowing advisors to perform deeper analysis and produce better reports in less time. For example, clients often ask to see their ownership percentages across asset classes. I’ve seen advisors try to do this with other platforms by cobbling together PDFs to show what a client owns. But the picture is rarely complete and is often displayed in a confusing way because it’s pulled from multiple sources. Addepar allows advisors to quickly and easily present data in a way that is clear for both the advisor and their client. It’s also easy for advisors to model and produce reports illustrating how client wealth changes over time, and depicting the portfolio volatility. This means advisors can spend less time on manual data aggregation or manipulation, and more on helping clients develop strategies to achieve long-term growth.
For more information on historical data conversion, you can download part one and part two of our eBook, A Technology Tipping Point in Wealth Management.