XY Planning Network co-founders Alan Moore and Michael Kitces discussed future development plans during a morning keynote at their annual conference on stage and an afternoon media talk with reporters on Tuesday.
The roadmap includes technological improvements and enhancements, a virtual assistant offering, and expanded community networking and meeting support initiatives.
The hybrid conference held and virtually streamed in Denver had 800 personal attendees.
“We hope 2022 will be a little less weird – 2021 was an odd year,” said Moore during the morning keynote from the XYPN Live stage, referring to the way the pandemic is the lives of everyday Americans as well influenced by the members’s financial advisor.
Although they did not analyze the number of consultant participants, the duo said the network’s consultant membership had grown to more than 1,550, with 391 of them joining the network last year.
“Let the blue shirt nerd out,” was Moore’s playful introduction to his colleague and co-founder Michael Kitces.
“Oh dates, beautiful, beautiful dates,” Kitces said as he began to speak, giving those present an overview of the network’s annual membership tracking.
“Growth is faster because of niches,” said Kitces, describing how the data collected over the past year continues to support one of the network’s trends. Put simply: Consultants with boutique or niche practices grow significantly faster than those without, especially in the first four years of a consultant’s job.
The fee-paying consultant platform plans a “powerstrip” approach to building a technology ecosystem that will “allow consultants to plug in and centralize their many services and software applications.”
On Tuesday, the network announced that XYPN’s bespoke membership dashboard, launched in 2020, now has single sign-on functionality with four of its key technology partners: RightCapital, SmartRIA, AdvicePay and Wealthbox, other providers will follow.
Specifically, the new approach will ensure the synchronization of data, help trigger workflows and processes and be built as a proprietary XYPN layer on top of existing applications.
“Functionally, it’s the middle layer of technology,” said Moore, adding that it is designed to help financial planning consultants run their businesses and provide advice.
During the afternoon media briefing, the two co-founders also discussed that a key goal of any fundraising the company is currently investigating would be to expand the company’s core technology development team. This expansion would include a team devoted to building the “Powerstrip” hub or ecosystem as well as developments dedicated to expanding specific applications such as: B. the AdvicePay offer of the network.
Offer for virtual assistants plus community
Other upcoming improvements in addition to the technology announcements include a new offering for virtual assistants.
According to the founders, the network will begin with a pilot project of the virtual assistant program in early to mid-2022. Starting with a handful of members, this pilot will provide year-round coverage including customer meeting support, email management, administrative marketing support, investment operations, data entry and more.
“Getting support is vital,” said Moore, citing a survey in which over 50% of members asked the network to provide some sort of virtual support offering.
In addition to the categories of help described above, the founders determined that the offering would provide consultants with additional benefits, including relief from hiring and managing support staff, part-time assistance or vacation cover for consultants, no need for application support training (XYPN would provide basic technology training).
The only note about the morning presentation that was clearly a disappointment to Moore was the health care.
“We do a lot of data collection, everything is driven by member feedback, and 90% of you have expressed an interest in a member health benefit,” he said
“It’s the most survey responses we’ve ever done, and we’re working on it – and while I might like to tell you we locked something today, we’re working on it,” said Moore, referring to a health plan for Members. The network hopes to have an offer to share by the end of 2021.