Oranj has announced the release of MAX (Manage, Advise, eXperience), an open access, wealth management software platform that provides financial advisors with a solution that can reduce some product and technology fees.
MAX combines Oranj’s client facing engagement and account aggregation tools with the trading and rebalancing functionalities of TradeWarrior, in which Oranj acquired a majority stake earlier this year. In addition, investment management firms such as BlackRock, Direxion, Morningstar Managed Portfolios, ETF Securities, and Frost Investment Advisors will host model portfolios and funds on MAX, enabling advisors to utilize investment solutions within their business on a single platform. Oranj plans to add additional investment options to the platform soon. According to Oranj CEO David Lyon, “MAX is custodian agnostic, it can integrate seamlessly with all major custodians and broker-dealers.” Initially, Shareholders Service Group and Partners Financial Services have agreed to offer MAX to their respective advisor networks.
“MAX is a groundbreaking solution that not only reduces the friction associated with connecting and collaborating with an adviser, but can also slash the costs of both doing business as an adviser and investing as an investor,” said Lyon. By offering advisers free world-class technology and direct access to best-of-breed investment managers, MAX can eliminate some of the product and technology fees that, in many cases, are factored into the cost of investing with an adviser—giving advisers the power to help more Americans avoid the DIY investing approach which often leads to underperformance and emotion-based decisions.”
MAX provides many of the digital features that advisors desire. These include:
One appealing feature of the Investment Marketplace is that it allows the advisor to maintain as much or as little control of the investment process as desired. For example, the advisor can strictly follow the models, or alter them at will. So, if a model is reweighted, the advisor can choose to respond and re-weight immediately, delay the re-weighting, or not re-weigh at all. If a client has a weighing in position that cannot be traded, the advisor can adjust the model weightings to incorporate the held away potion that can’t be traded.
Although the technology is advertised as being free, savvy readers know that there are no free lunches when it comes to advisor technology. In this case, the technology is being underwritten by the investment management firms that provide investment products to the MAX platform, however, fees are competitive with other similar offerings.
While the MAX offering includes most of the core features offered in the paid version of Oranj, some are missing. These include goal tracking, a popular Oranj feature, integrated messaging, advanced business intelligence, the ability to access investment options not part of the core MAX offering, and a dedicated service team. Any of the above “premium” features can be added for an additional, unspecified cost. Features and be added as a package, or a la carte.
While MAX is not unique in bundling technology with an investment platform at an attractive price point, its characteristics make it particularly appealing to a subset of advisors. For example, small to mid-sized firms that might otherwise not have easy access to FIX (electronic trading) have it bundled here. Advisors who are looking for a wide selection of leveraged ETF options for portfolios may gravitate here. Those who prefer this method of paying for technology, again, presumably small to mid-sized advisors, will find much to like here.
With the proliferation of technology/investment platforms that is taking place in the advisor sector, it remains to be seen what features and compensation models will ultimately prevail. Will MAX be able to compete with firms like Riskalyze and Orion that charge for software separately but offer investment platforms with a distinct set of capabilities, or a custodian like Trade PMR that offers both software and investment platform bundled with custody services? Only time will tell.