When Schwab recently announced the launch of Schwab Intelligent Advisory, the firm stated that “Clients will complete a self-guided online planning tool focused on their specific financial situation and goals including both Schwab and non-Schwab accounts, followed by a 1-1 conversation with a credentialed Planning Consultant to review the plan, prioritize goals and discuss investment choices.” Notably absent from the announcement, however, was any discussion regarding the software that would power that self-guided experience.
T3 Technology Hub has received confirmation from Schwab that PIEtech’s MyMoneyGuide Labs will power the experience, but they declined to provide further details at this time. PIEtech, Inc. referred all questions to Schwab. That leaves open some questions about exactly what the experience will look like through Schwab Intelligent Portfolio. Will Schwab present the Labs exactly as PIEtech does, or will they alter the workflow, customize the videos or make other changes to make the experience a uniquely Schwab one? There will mostly likely be some customization before launch.
The Schwab announcement also stated: “In addition to working with clients on their initial financial plan and investment choices, Planning Consultants can provide guidance on a range of wealth management topics including overall goals and saving targets, retirement planning, college savings, long-term care planning and budgeting. Regular check-ins can be scheduled online and will typically occur annually, but clients can engage with Planning Consultants as needed, and they also have access to live service support via phone, chat and email − 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
CLIENT EXPERIENCE / QUALITY PLANS
This is likely where the full MoneyGuidePro experience will come into play. Let’s see if this becomes the reality: Once the client completes the MyMoneyGuide Lab, that data can be fed into MoneyGuidePro. With the initial data, plus aggregated data that the client can enable, the financial planner will have the tools necessary to go further planning. Here again though, some questions remain. Will Schwab be using the standard version of MoneyGuidePro or not? With an Enterprise license, which is presumably what they have, it is possible to do significant customization to the application. For example, you can create custom workflows for financial planners, customize data entry screens, customize reports and much more. So, we won’t know exactly what the end user experience will look like until Schwab agrees to give us a look.
With PIEtech’s reputation for excellence in financial planning software, we suspect that the planning experience will be a good one. PIEtech CEO Bob Curtis certainly thinks so. While he declined to give specifics, he did say “I’m confident that Schwab Intelligent Advisory will produce quality plans, and I’m confident that it will offer a very good client experience.”
MAJOR COUP FOR PIETECH, INC.
Competitively speaking, this deal is a major coup for PIEtech. Aside from the fact that it is a nice enterprise deal, Schwab’s selection of the MyMoneyGuide Labs after an extensive vetting process can be seen as an implicit endorsement of the product. It also provides immediate nationwide distribution of the product, which will likely be backed by a major marketing campaign. At the same time, it broadens the reach of PIEtech’s flagship product MoneyGuidePro, which is already the most popular financial planning application among financial planning professionals according the December 2016 Financial Planning Magazine Technology survey.