Connecting is Compounding

Sustainable Growth & Remembering the Greatest Generation

I’m writing this week's Connected Newsletter while I sit next to the coaching staff of the Jamestown Jimmies football team.

They are all strategizing about who will be recruiting which player and how texts and DM’s will respond differently, etc.

It's crazy how much even NAIA-level sports are dealing with the transfer portal.

I’m glad I’m not officially in charge of navigating the changes in College Football regulations even if I’ll have a bunch of opinions about how it all shakes out once we kick off the next season, which happens to be in 78 days.

While we wait for fall, let’s talk about compounding, and a few other items this week:

  1. Connecting is Compounding

  2. Strategies for Sustainable Growth in Wealth Management with Sammy Azzouz

  3. D-Day is 80

  4. Milemarker On the Road ✈️

Let’s go. ▶️

Connecting is Compounding

For as long as I can remember, my involvement in the financial services industry has revolved around bringing things together.

When I first started, I focused on connecting data feeds from various providers - DST, DAZL, SEI, TD Ameritrade, Schwab, Fidelity, ByAllAccounts, Fidelity 401k, etc.

That work eventually grew into connecting brands, companies, and technologies to start bringing their information together.

Foundational Integration

A decade ago, many integration attempts failed, and APIs in our industry were still few and far between. Engineering was often a bunch of folks who could build things but lacked the process that exists to build software interdependent software.

Github (founded in 2008) felt novel, and no code tools like Zapier (founded in 2011) felt hard to reach.

At Orion, we found integration to be our gateway to market growth. I give all the credit to Eric Clarke, Brad Burgess and Ben Bedell for their persistence in finding a scalable way to integrate with the rest of the industry.

With the launch of their Client Portal, Orion introduced an API-based way to leverage code and bring unique software into Orion.

I helped create an event called Fuse to bring together engineering teams from all the major CRMs, Planning Systems, Estate, Analytics, and Proposal Systems.

The event created a movement that led to a wave of improvement in wealth technology.

Connecting the Synapses

The next wave of connection and integration is rapidly underway. While plenty of wealthtech brands that advisors rely upon have slowed their pace of innovation, the dependency on technology is undeniable.

Firms are becoming more proficient, and the organizations that have invested in gaining direct access to their data and harnessing that information to their analytics are finding new levels of insight.

Understanding your business's ebbs and flows helps you better correct course in real time, rather than waiting until key players are seated together in a boardroom.

Your ability to connect compounds.

At Milemarker, we are excited to help firms gain the ability to connect data and load it into their analytics and applications in an automated fashion. Thankfully, our connectivity is compounding.

We can connect data and move it into your warehouse.

We can also connect data from bespoke systems to your primary software (e.g., CRM data loaded into your portfolio accounting system). This allows each new CRM record to be available in your new account workflow - cutting down on data entry and potential NIGOs.

We can connect data that lives in spreadsheets and bring it to life with automation and your custom logic—delivered exclusively to your specific advisors.

Your connected data doesn’t need to stop there. It needs to live in your workflows and support experience.

It is common to talk with firms with some of their highest-paid team members focused on solving connectivity and jumping through the necessary political and technical hoops.

They likely need to write Python scripts and configure data warehouses with custom ETL jobs to manage them. And they need to do it security.

There are lots of firms doing this but very few are making rapid progress in this area because its’s not yet a core competency.

For Milemarker, our expertise and experience has compounded.

After years of diligent progress on top of our careers leading Riskalyze/Nitrogen, SS&C, Skience, and Orion - firms can connect data rapidly and experience movement and compounding progress in days or weeks vs months and years.

Our team is busy preparing to launch our next generation of technology, and we’d love to chat with you and your team if you’d like to start compounding.

How is your technology compounding for you?

Is it becoming more of an asset? Let me know.

On the Pod - Strategies for Sustainable Growth in Wealth Management with Sammy Azzouz

In this episode of The Connected Advisor, Kyle talks with Sammy Azzouz, President and CEO of Heritage Financial Services. In his role, Sammy leads a dynamic organization that provides meticulous wealth management services to clients. He keeps the firm at the cutting edge of the wealth management industry by charting a long-term strategic course and driving the execution of the firm’s strategic initiatives. Sammy is also the author of Beyond the Basics: Maximizing, Allocating, and Protecting Your Capital and the host of Heritage Financial's podcast, Wealthy Behavior.

Sammy talks with Kyle about his journey from law school to wealth management and the importance of providing comprehensive financial services to clients. He emphasizes the value of breaking down silos and having holistic conversations about money. Sammy also shares insights on the industry's future, the role of technology in supporting advisors and enhancing the client experience, and the need for firms to focus on organic growth.

In this episode:

  • [02:20] - The money moment that led Sammy into financial services.

  • [06:18] - Sammy's thoughts about estate and tax planning innovations.

  • [10:05] - Sammy's career path at Heritage Financial Services.

  • [15:21] - How Heritage grows organically.

  • [18:35] - The tech stack that supports advisors and helps them grow.

  • [20:01] - The importance of analytics in business growth.

  • [22:26] - Sammy’s thoughts on the future of wealth management.

  • [27:24] - The role of AI in the future of financial services.

  • [30:13] - Sammy's Milemarker Minute: favorite books, potential career outside financial services, and bucket list travel destination.

Key Takeaways

  • Breaking down silos and providing comprehensive financial services is crucial to staying competitive in the industry.

  • Employee ownership can contribute to a positive company culture and long-term success.

  • Dedicated resources should be allocated to train and develop advisors in business development.

  • The future of the industry may involve increased collaboration among RIAs and custodians to offer integrated solutions to clients.

  • Technology, such as AI and analytics, can enhance the client experience and improve operational efficiency.

Notable Quotes:

“Money is probably the most stressful thing that people deal with. If you can help people with it, you can have a huge impact on their lives."

Sammy Azzouz

"As you grow, you have more resources to reinvest into the client experience and your team. You want to start thinking strategically about those additional services to add value to the client and dig deeper into a pathway you've already set for yourself." 

Sammy Azzouz

"Employee ownership is important. It's important for multiple people to think day in and day out like business owners. Owners are definitely better than renters in a company, and it's something important and helpful in our industry."

Sammy Azzouz

Tune in to learn more about Sammy’s wealth-building strategies and his journey in the financial industry.

D-Day Turns 80

Incredible photo of the memorial celebration by Evan Vucci.

Milemarker on the Road

Catch our team on the road at the following events or cities:

  1. June 7 - Fargo, ND

  2. June 10 - Omaha, NE

  3. June 25-26 - Chicago, IL

  4. June 27 - Baltimore, MD

  5. July 5 - Minneapolis, MN

  6. July 15-18 - Denver, CO

If you’re in any of those cities and want to arrange a meeting time, reply to this email, and we’ll get something on the calendar.

Jud Mackrill