First-of-its-Kind Student Competition to Take Place at the 2018 T3 Advisor Conference Feb. 6-9 in Ft. Lauderdale

Financial advisory firms hoping to meet the next generation of talent will find just what they are looking for at this year’s T3 Advisor Conference. Not only will they find a uniquely-qualified pool of students walking the hallways, attending sessions and hanging out in the T3 Student Lounge, they will get to see what may be the first-of-its-kind-competition unfold.

Four teams comprised of students from Utah Valley University, University of Akron, Western Carolina University and Delaware State University are working with four respected fintech firms – Orion Advisor Services, RIA in a Box, Riskalyze and Robust Wealth – to innovate and improve investment management, compliance and financial planning tools for the future.

The pairing of university student teams with fintech mentor teams is as follows:

  • Orion + Utah Valley = The “Sirius” team
  • Riskalyze + Western Carolina = The “Cats of Wall Street” team
  • Robust Wealth + Delaware State = The “Core 4” team
  • RIA in a Box + University of Akron = The “Zips Out of the Box” team


Each team is comprised of a mix of information technology and financial planning students that have been paired with one of the mentoring tech firms. Each student team will build their project specific to the mentor’s platform. The project must be completed by and presented by the students.

The teams will from 2:00 – 4:00 pm at the T3 conference on February 6, 2018, present what they have done to develop a new technology (or expand on existing) that provides a solution to a financial planning problem or issue advisors are facing today. Students will gather in the T3 Student Lounge from 4:00 – 6:00 pm to visit with T3 conference-goers and potential employers.


Marcel Tsai (TD Ameritrade Institutional), Tina Powell (C-Suite Media), Josh Brown (The Reformed Broker), Ryan Neal (InvestmentNews) and Suleman Din (Financial Planning magazine) will judge the competition.


There will be a scholarship prize and potential intern opportunities for the top teams.

Abacus Wealth Partners is seeding a scholarship pot with $4000. Interested other financial services and fintech firms are invited to connect with J.D. Bruce, president of Abacus, to contribute to the Donor Advised Fund. To contribute, write to

The mentor/coach firms are financing the travel and lodging of their student team.

The judges will comment on the presentations and reveal the winning results on Thursday, February 8, 2018 from 5:30 – 6:15 pm in the main ballroom.

Whether or not the student team wins, this competition will be a “four win” opportunity:

  1. The students win because the project is providing a unique opportunity for the Financial Planning and Management Information Systems (MIS) students to interact – something that is limited in most Colleges of Business to just the core business courses. It is exposing the Financial Planning students to the technology needs of firms while it is exposing the MIS students to a fast growing industry that is in need of people to fill the technical support roles. They are learning about topics that they will be able to use in the future that may have a positive impact on their careers.
  2. The universities win because they get to form a new collaboration between departments and disciplines that didn’t exist before. It allows the universities to grow through new combinations of degree majors and minors. And it helps to build a relationship with the mentor/sponsor that didn’t exist before.
  3. The competition gives the mentor/sponsor firm an opportunity to help the next generation entering the industry while also creating a relationship between the mentor/sponsor firm and the two education disciplines and their departments.
  4. The industry wins because there is more exposure of the great professions and opportunities in the industry.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see history unfold right before your very eyes! Register now and join the conversation:

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