The Financial Planning Technology Landscape: North America 2020 Edition

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12 August 2020

Key research questions

  • How has the focus of technology vendors evolved over the last three years?
  • What have vendors prioritized on recent development roadmaps?
  • How does the global pandemic change the advisors use of financial planning software?


Reviewing a financial plan was already becoming a more digitally interactive engagement pre COVID-19, but the switch to 100% virtual in a matter of months is transformative. As advisors voice their need for easy-to-use software, vendors face the challenge of designing software that provides simplicity without compromising on sophistication.

Celent's bi-annual review of the financial planning technology landscape in North America provides an in depth view into recent developments, growth of advisor-led interactive functionality and future development for the top providers and new entrants.

Envestnet, Orion, Morningstar, Refinitiv, and Tegra118 all acquired planning software since 2019, a proof point of the degree to which financial planning is the anchor of any wealth manager’s technology proposition. Eight market participants responded to this year’s survey; Advicent, Apprise Labs, eMoney Advisor, Envestnet|MoneyGuide, inStream Solutions, Morningstar, Orion Advisor Solutions, and Tegra118. Software features are split into three sections; core planning, asset allocation and portfolio construction, as well as interactive functions for recommendation and proposals. Included in these sections are twelve tables comparing the eight vendors profiled. The comparison tables cover key functionality including; vendor market positioning (by institution and client segment), retirement income and distribution, portfolio construction and proposal generation and recommendations functionality.

So, what lies ahead for vendors? How does the pandemic shift their approached to a modern financial planning software? And where are their research and development dollars going to attract more advisors to their platforms? As uncertainty remains in the U.S., wealth managers are sprinting to complete a digital advisory model. Questions on how vendors are reacting to this sprint are answered.