Financial Planning Software Usage By Independent Financial Advisors; Results Of A Survey Of 2,019 Independent Advisors Shows MoneyGuide Pro Is No. 1

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 12:46
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Financial Planning Software Usage By Independent Financial Advisors; Results Of A Survey Of 2,019 Independent Advisors Shows MoneyGuide Pro Is No. 1

Which financial planning software is most popular with independent investment advisors serving high-net-worth individuals? MoneyGuide Pro is the clear leader (29.8%) followed by NaviPlan Extended (7.9%), Money Tree Silver (5.8%), and e-Money (5.7%), according to a poll of members of Advisor4Advisors.

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Seventy percent of A4A members are investment advisors with no broker-dealer (BD) affiliation—fee-only financial advisors—while 30% of those surveyed are licensed to sell securities and affiliated with a BD.

 
 
 
MoneyGuide Pro’s success with this hard-to-please segment of the professional financial advice business is laudable.
 
MoneyGuide Pro, in a survey of 1,100 advisors in 2002, was used by 5% of those polled, was one of seven planning apps we asked advisors about, and was one of only two Web-based planning apps available at that time. A decade later, in a poll of 2,019 independent advisors, MoneyGuide Pro has 29.8% market share, despite facing a much larger field of 13 competitors and that eight of the planning apps are now Web-based.  
 
 
Keep in mind, financial advisors come in many varieties. While this survey accurately measures software preferences of RIAs targeting high-net-worth individuals—A4A’s target members—it does not measure the preferences of advisors affiliated with larger enterprises. Brokers, consultants, and insurance agents are not well represented.
 
Financial advisors are segmented into discrete types, such as financial planners, investment advisors, and investment consultants. The fact that the No. 1 software in our survey is MoneyGuide Pro, while NaviPlan Extended and NaviPlan Standard are much less popular indicates this bias. NaviPlan Extended and Standard have tens of thousands of users in the brokerage industry whose preferences are not reflected in our survey.
 
Other observations about data:
 
-- The number of advisors using financial planning software appears to have grown sharply over the past decade. In a 2002 survey of 1,100 advisors responding to a survey sent by email to 35,000 subscribers of Investment Advisor magazine and 750 clients of Advisor Products, 52% of respondents reported using no planning software, Excel, or “other”— some other app not listed in our questionnaire. In the new survey, we did not explicitly ask about Excel but its users would fall under “other.” The recent data show that just 35% of advisors use no planning software, Excel or “other” planning apps.
 
-- The number of advisors relying on Excel appears to have declined over the past decade. A decade ago, 16.8% of advisors said they used Excel. The new survey did not specifically ask about Excel, but those using Excel would presumably have checked off “Other,” which represents just 9.4% of those polled.  
 
-- e-Money, a comprehensive planning program known for its cash-flow analysis, is growing in usage, especially among advisors affiliated with BDs. While 8% of RIAs listed eMoney as their software, 15% of dually-registered advisors use e-Money.
 
-- Morningstar Office’s financial planning module is facing resistance with advisors. While Morningstar Office’s portfolio management app is being used by 9.2% of advisors polled, its integrated planning application is used by just 1.4% of those advisors.
 
-- While 32% of advisors affiliated with pure RIAs (read: fee-only planners) are users of MoneyGuide Pro, just 20% of registered reps use MoneyGuide Pro.
 
-- In addition to MoneyTree’s Silver program being is used by 5.8% of independent advisors, the company’s Golden Years and Easy Money programs are used respectively by an additional 5% and 1.3% of advisors in our poll.  So Money Tree’s total market share is a respectable 12.1%, making it the No. 2 choice among advisors.
 
 

 

 

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