Advicent’s NaviPlan offers a robust platform to help advisors accomplish investor goals
Advicent Solutions traces its origins back to the late ’60s, when the company – then known as Financial Profiles – developed some of the first financial planning software. In the 1990s, the company introduced NaviPlan, a product it has continued to evolve into a cloud-based application that helps to service advisors and investors.
“What we shoot for is holistic, omnichannel financial planning,” says Tom Burmeister, Advicent’s director of financial planning. “It supports all types of client conversations, whether it’s retirement, assessments or any hurdle that a client might need to navigate in their financial planning.”
NaviPlan helps advisors identify and plan for whatever financial goals investors might have, including retirement, education, tax and estate planning, and insurance.
“NaviPlan is able to handle those topics with its robust cash-flow engine,” Burmeister says. “We want to be able to keep the advisor and their value proposition top of mind throughout the planning experience.”
One of NaviPlan’s unique features is its client portal, which gives clients the ability to see their financial information instantly. The portal refreshes daily so investors can always see the most up-to-date information. Investors can also make changes to their financial plan and interact with their advisor through the portal.
“If investors would like to get into their year-by-year breakdowns, they can do that, but what we have seen is that folks log in from any device and just check if they are financially OK,” Burmeister says. “They can do that by logging in and seeing anything that is linked to their account, whether from a financial institution or a financial advisor.”
For advisors, NaviPlan helps them ensure they have the appropriate data to create a financial plan with digital fact-finding tools that help them gather information quickly.
“We know that generation x, millennials and even baby boomers are getting more tech-savvy and are used to more digital interactions in many parts of their lives,” Burmeister says. “The fact-finding process allows clients to provide information digitally and then work with the advisor to set up the plan.”
As a goal-based application built on top of a powerful cash-flow and taxation engine, NaviPlan can also support tax-sensitive inflows and outflows that relate to a client’s goals. It goes right down to the holding level on both accounts and annuities, including all types of taxable and non-taxable accounts.
“When it comes to capturing what a client has going on, we have the ability to support all of that data in a manner that is teed up to mimic reality when it comes to tax treatment and timing,” Burmeister says.
The platform also aids in accumulation and retirement distribution strategies by identifying deficits and ways to address them via a precise calculation engine that allows the software to create projections and answer questions for investors.
For Burmeister, what separates NaviPlan from other financial planning software is its flexibility and the quality of its calculations. “Whether it’s timing, taxation, specific account types, incomes or outflows, there is very little NaviPlan can’t do when it comes to modelling a client’s exact situation,” he says.
Another selling point is the fact that NaviPlan pinpoints exact details and allows them to be added to a financial plan. “The holistic nature of the planning capabilities are what we see as a differentiator,” Burmeister says, “and now we are looking to take that to the next generation of technology with our digital tools, client portal and fact-finder capabilities.”
While there has traditionally been some apprehension in the industry around adopting new technologies, Burmeister believes NaviPlan has been able to succeed based on its long-term history. “The more people who are exposed to NaviPlan and the more studies we show, we see that client retention, assets under management, product sales, and client satisfaction and retention are all positively impacted by a solid financial planning tool,” he says.
Burmeister believes holistic financial planning technology is valuable because it gives advisors unparallelled flexibility, accuracy and the ability to enhance the client experience while freeing them up to pursue more clients.
“This type of technology is going to become more important as we see investment management become more commoditized,” he says. “Advisors need to show their value beyond their rate of return, and that’s where holistic planning comes into play. Planning and data-gathering are great ways for advisors to show why they can do better. People are thinking about their situation all the time. Being able to access your own personal advice at any time enforces the value proposition of that advisor.”