October 6, 2016 7:49 pm

Build it or Buy it? Today’s Technology Landscape

CEO Joe Mrak recently sat down with Financial Advisor Magazine to share his thoughts on the evolving technology landscape; excerpts from the conversation are here, along with some of the perspective shared by a panel of industry experts at our recent client conference.


At our recent Client Conference, an outstanding panel of industry experts including Tim Welsh from Nexus Strategies, Chip Kispert from Beacon Strategies, and Ed Swenson from Dynasty opined on the state of technology in the independent advisor space today. It’s a topic near and dear to our hearts, obviously – we think there are great challenges in the marketplace that can ONLY be solved by effectively leveraging technology.

Here’s a snippet of that conversation:

[L-R: Chip Kispert, Tim Welsh, Ed Swenson]

Folio’s CEO, Joe Mrak, has his own perspective honed from a career spent seeing what works and what doesn’t. He recently shared a few of his thoughts:

Several years ago, I made a visit to the home office of a new independent broker-dealer client. While there, members of the executive leadership team were excited to show me a new e-signature tool the firm had built in-house.

While the tool itself wasn’t bad, a crucial problem was that it didn’t integrate effectively with the rest of the firm’s technology platforms. Even worse, this e-signature tool was neither a differentiator for advisors and end-clients, nor a competitive advantage for the firm. In fact, a third-party technology vendor could have delivered a similar tool much quicker and at a fraction of the cost.

As third-party tech providers continue to proliferate our space, most IBDs and RIA firms have come to the realization that—save for a few special circumstance—it’s senseless to spend time and money in an effort to construct proprietary technology tools, when an outsourced solution is more effective from both a functionality and cost standpoint.

But with that said, all too often, technology spending continues to be erroneously viewed as a cost center, versus a launchpad to drive profitable growth through savvy investing in the right resources and platforms.

The most successful IBD and RIA firms today have cracked this code, and in most instances winning technology investing strategies that drive greater long-term value and revenue creation can be summarized in four key principles:

  1. Know when it’s time to retire a platform. 
  2. Seek out tech partners who are flexible in being able to deliver “a la carte” solutions.
  3. Beware of the ‘repackagers.’
  4. Ongoing support.

For the rest of Joe’s thinking, see the full article in Financial Advisor.



Seek out tech partners who are flexible in being able to deliver “a la carte” solutions.