Highlights From The 2019 T3 Enterprise Conference

InterGen Data's presentation at this year's T3 Enterprise Conference was mentioned on Michael Kitces Nerd's Eye View, "Highlights From The 2019 T3 Enterprise Conference" by Craig Iskowitz, CEO and Founder of Ezra Group. The original article can be found by visiting https://www.kitces.com/blog/t3-enterprise-conference-2019-highlights-integrations.


In the last week of October, executive leadership from numerous independent broker-dealers and large RIAs gathered in South Florida for the 2019 T3 Enterprise Conference (as differentiated from the T3 Advisor Conference that is predominantly attended by individual/independent advisors). Hosted by Joel Bruckenstein and his team from T3 Consulting Services, the two-day conference mixed networking, panel sessions, and vendor presentations, focused more on enterprise-level solutions.

In this guest post, Craig Iskowitz – CEO and founder of Ezra Group, a financial technology consulting firm – shares his signature Twitter-driven recap of the conference, which featured new enterprise-level AdvisorTech offerings, interviews with industry leaders around emerging financial planning trends, and discussions on the challenges (and opportunities) that firms face in a rapidly-changing landscape.

Craig kicks off his recap highlighting Shirl Penney’s observation that fear and inertia are preventing advisors from going independent, but notes that they’re also limiting countless advisory firms who won’t let go of their legacy technology (thus keeping legacy vendors in business). Also casting a long shadow over the proceedings was the Black Friday Crash of (Trading) Commissions, which Penney predicts will lead custodians to start charging for their technology (although Craig points out that there are far more intriguing possibilities for new revenue streams… particularly for smaller RIAs).

Another major theme permeating discussions at this year’s T3 Enterprise conference was the ongoing difficulties with vendor integrations. David Ballard from Ladenburg Thalmann pointed out that firms looking to integrate technology stacks and databases experience too many headaches, and that vendors should take the lead on building those integrations amongst themselves before pushing them out to the end-user.

Other highlights included presentations from:

  • InterGen Data, which combines government census data with other demographic data sets to deliver unique insights into future life events that could have a significant impact on clients and their families;

  • Whealthcare Planning, whose platform gives advisors tools to help with challenges their aging clients are facing, including helping retirees letting go of their independence around decision-making, driving, and domicile;

  • BidMoni, whose FiduciaryShield aims to create a marketplace to connect advisors with service providers when supporting company retirement plans (e.g., record keepers, custodians and TPAs);

  • Morningstar, which introduced Goal Bridge, a financial planning add-on for Advisor Workstation aimed not at selling financial products, but at selling data and analytics instead; and;

  • Mike Ragunas, CIO of Cetera Financial, who presented details around their implementation of AdvicePay for their new subscription-based direct billing platform.

Ultimately, the 2019 T3 Enterprise Conference brought together a wide range of vendors and firm leaders with the goal of exploring ways to bring real value to their clients through improving the onboarding process and overall experience, while finding opportunities to increase integrations in order to improve firm efficiency and client retention. And, with the trend towards consolidation and aggregation of data and accounts, it behooves fintech providers to focus on integrations and making sure that the user experience is fast, painless, and seamless… or they can be sure that someone else will.



Craig Iskowitz is CEO and founder of Ezra Group, a management consulting firm providing advice to the financial services industry on marketing and technology strategy. Ezra Group works with RIA’s, broker-dealers and banks to help them make sound technology decisions, identify growth opportunities and energize their marketing. Craig is also the publisher of the blog Wealth Management Today, which provides in-depth analysis of trends and issues facing the wealth management industry. Craig can be reached at craig@ezragroupllc.com.

“Fear & inertia are what’s keeping financial advisors stuck at wirehouses.” ~ Shirl Penney, CEO, Dynasty Financial Partners

I loved this quote from Shirl so much that I was going to use it as the title for this article. It was going to be, “Fear and Inertia in Ft. Lauderdale at the T3 Enterprise Conference”. Using a play on the title of the 1998 black comedy starring Johnny Depp as Hunter S. Thomson, who wrote the 1971 novel that the movie was based on.

But then I thought better of it and went with a more conventional headline.

What’s interesting is that the fear and inertia are not only holding back advisors from making changes, it’s just as large of an impediment for broker-dealers, banks, asset managers and the other enterprises that we work with. Fear and inertia have limited the potential of many wealth management firms who can’t replace their legacy systems as much as it has kept those legacy technology vendors in business.

“To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” ~ Bertrand Russell, British philosopher and mathematician

The T3 Enterprise Conference 2019 is a much-hyped event every year and Joel Bruckenstein and his team delivered a premium event that contained just the right mix of panel sessions, vendor presentations and networking to make the trip to Florida more than worth the time.

The enterprise conference differs from the Advisor Conference in that the client firms and vendors are skewed towards the enterprise side. You don’t see many small RIAs here and individual advisors are almost non-existent. But that’s the point. It is designed to deliver what enterprise executives need to know in a tightly scheduled, jam-packed few days of activity. It might require dozens of meetings to get even a fraction of the information you can consume in 48 hours of conference.

Welcome to my social media-driven conference summary, which I’ve designed to deliver a quick overview of the whirlwind of activities including interviews, product demos, speakers, and two dozen or so panel sessions. If you made it to the conference, please add a comment below about your favorite speaker or panel. And if you missed it, go ahead and post a comment about which parts of the summary you liked the most.

Financial Planning


This is one of those innovative companies that shows us what it’s like to think outside the box. A lot of the new entrants into the wealthtech space over the past few years are mostly additions to existing categories. The tenth risk profiling tool or fifteenth financial planning software. But InterGen Data has done something different, marrying demographic and health data with financial planning to deliver a differentiated experience for advisors.

The CEO of InterGen Data, Rob Kirk, said that data is the fabric that can weave together disparate technology. His firm combines government census data with other demographic data sets to deliver unique insights into future life events that could have a significant impact on clients and their families. This information would be immensely helpful to anyone trying to plan their future, yet no financial planning applications currently include this data!

Part of the analysis provided by InterGen Data is related to the probability of disease. This is not at all the same as when companies analyze your DNA and calculate the probability of being afflicted. It is purely based on self-reported demographics and family history. But it is still extremely useful for clients who are interested in preparing for life’s contingencies.

They also put out a great showing at last year’s Orion Advisor FUSE Hackathon where they built an integration into Amazon Alexa that enabled a client to not only open a new account entirely by voice, but also query the database on when they would be most likely to get married, buy a house and have kids. Very cool!

To view the article in its entirety, please visit https://www.kitces.com/blog/t3-enterprise-conference-2019-highlights-integrations.