Last Updated on April 6, 2023 by John Prendergast
There’s no such thing as flawless technology. Software providers who tell you otherwise are selling you a bill of goods. Data aggregation, though vastly improved from what it once was, is definitely not perfect. Our team at Blueleaf has been working on fixing that.
When we first launched our platform, data aggregators were charging exorbitant fees and using complex customer interfaces that most advisors wanted no part of. It was clear that the technology was necessary, but not quite ready for mass consumption.
Since then, we’ve built a better data aggregation solution. In this article, we’ll review how we’ve addressed account aggregation problems and why Blueleaf is the best option if you’re looking for a holistic wealth management solution.
Connectivity and reliability has been challenging, it’s changing
It used to be that essentially all aggregation providers used the same unstable technology to connect to clients’ retail accounts – data scraping. Essentially the computer navigates a bank website like a human, using web pages, and “scrapes” the data from those pages.
The problem is that if anything on those web pages changes or if there is something new like an offer that the bank makes or terms and conditions that need to be accepted, the technology breaks. That means there is a lot of burden on the aggregators to constantly update their systems across thousands of institutions and a high burden on clients to “maintain” their connection by updating information at both their institution and the aggregator. Terrible.
The good news is that despite the fact that banks and other financial institutions have been reluctant to do more to facilitate a better way, things are changing. Consumers are beginning to vote with their feet and leave financial institutions that hold their data hostage. That combined with the fact that the largest aggregators have growing power and influence, the institutions are being forced to open up.
The largest of these institutions are now making available better options for connecting via more direct technologies. Our partner Plaid has been the most effective driver of these changes.
Blueleaf Improved Advisor and Client User Experience
The next account aggregation problem we identified was user experience. One competitor had software so complex that even our engineers had problems with it. How was a financial advisor going to embrace that? Wealth management needed something new.
Client portals were an emerging concept ten years ago. But they were often just repositories for static reports on managed assets stored in a shared files system. Our idea was to develop a portal that was interactive and displayed both managed and held-away accounts updated continuously. All your information was made available for both you and your clients to view on demand.
We knew from the beginning that improved data aggregation was meaningless without a great delivery system, so we built one. If you haven’t seen the Blueleaf advisor dashboard and client mobile app or portal recently, call or email our coaches to set up a demo.
Blueleaf Handles Client Service Issues so You Don’t Have To
If you’ve got a great user experience and a fair price, data aggregation should be perfect, right? Not quite. Technology is always evolving, so there’s always more to address. Unfortunately, without the right service approach, you can wind up with frustrated clients.
Blueleaf is solving that problem too. Our data connections rarely break and onboarding new accounts is typically a quick and painless experience, yet there are exceptions. When clients struggle with these issues, you don’t have to be on call as an unofficial member of the “geek squad.” They contact us directly.
This service model, coupled with new pricing and a better user interface, eliminates most of the headaches that advisors associate with data aggregation.
Blueleaf Doesn’t Hold Your Data Hostage
Aggregated data does not belong to the software provider. As head coach at Blueleaf, I have heard a lot of horror stories about advisors having problems trying to get historical data when they changed performance reporting systems. That doesn’t happen here.
We do not hold your data hostage. You can feed it via our API to another system, export it to a CSV file, or package it all up and take it with you if you leave us. Make sure you save the files if you do that, though. Of the few advisors who’ve left Blueleaf, many come back to us again.
An Experience Your Clients Will Love.
Clients will love the service you deliver with Blueleaf’s superior client experience.