The NaviPlan story: innovating financial planning for the future

May 11, 2016 by Katelyn Rattray

A close-up of a laptop on a desk with a screenshot of NaviPlan, and a window with a city skyline view behind it

About the author:

Katelyn Rattray

Senior content marketing specialist

Katelyn strives to deliver high-quality educational content to advisors in the financial services industry. She enjoys collaborating with all departments to showcase the thought leadership through the organization and leverage the knowledge and expertise of the Advicent team. Katelyn hopes to empower advisors with tools to boost their marketing efforts through content marketing and technology.

NaviPlan® has long been considered the premier financial planning solution in North America. When it comes to comprehensive cash flow based planning, it has no equal. In financial planning circles, this a widely held and commonly accepted belief. Less widely known, but more eagerly anticipated, is the next version of NaviPlan, releasing later this year; it will be the first ever financial planning tool to provide Narrator® Clients, a completely customizable user interface, portal, and client dashboard.

While Advicent may be a relatively new name, NaviPlan is the face of the franchise and continues to be at the core of strategy and development. It is this focus on learning, innovating, and continuous improvement that has lead NaviPlan from its early days as a cash flow planning engine to its current state as an industry leader, and will ultimately propel NaviPlan into the future as an essential platform for anyone in the advisory space.

The early days (1990 – 2005)

In 1990, NaviPlan came to life on a university campus in Canada. Amidst intellectual curiosity and the desire to push boundaries, Dr. Mark Evans breathed the first gust of air into his graduate school research project. His goal was to build an expert proof on concept that would calculate financial projections. This project brought to market the initial predecessor of NaviPlan – the TIMS financial planning system. Throughout the early ‘90s, TIMS gradually gained traction in the Canadian marketplace.

In 1996, TIMS evolved and was released as NaviPlan Extended and NaviPlan Standard. NaviPlan finally crossed the border into the United States two years later, and it was esteemed for its calculation strength and planning thoroughness.

Throughout the 2000s, NaviPlan continued to add technology features, such as cloud based software, NaviPlan Central, and NaviPlan Offline; as well as planning functionality (Ibbotson asset classification system, Monte Carlo, estate planning, and more). It was this continued innovation that allowed NaviPlan to revolutionize the financial planning industry.

Industry leader (2005 – 2015)

The technical ability of NaviPlan to handle a wide variety of planning needs through white label applications made it the number one planning tool among enterprise organizations. This did not, however, come without challenges, particularly in the burgeoning independent space.

Because of the breadth of NaviPlan, it took on many, sometimes confusing, names – NaviPlan Standard, NaviPlan Extended, NaviPlan Premium, even NaviPro. The focus of NaviPlan on cash flow and sophisticated calculations produced extremely comprehensive financial plans. These plans were often too comprehensive, resulting in pages of data and statistical support. Even as the market leader, NaviPlan faced an identity crisis.

NaviPlan needed to keep up with technology or face being left in the dust. So, NaviPlan did what it does best – innovate. NaviPlan added a LEADs tool providing online referrals, Presentation Modules, and a completely revamped reporting section focusing on flexibility and readability. Since these updates, NaviPlan has been steadily growing in the independent space while still maintaining its position as the number one solution for enterprise firms.

NaviPlan: the platform (2015 and beyond)

Starting last year, NaviPlan embarked on the next generation of its evolution moving from a financial planning tool to a full platform (the fruits from this journey will begin being released to the market later this year).

This future Narrator® Clients powered by NaviPlan release takes the idea of flexibility and readability to the next level by providing an online client portal and an advisor facing dashboard. The client portal will include personal financial management (with account aggregation powered by Quovo) and personal financial planning (linked directly to the proven calculation engine of NaviPlan). This approach fits the budget of a client with their financial plan, creating a complete picture that can be accessed from any device. From an advisor perspective, the new dashboard provides unparalleled access to a client database and analytics that will help advisors make smart decisions based on data directly from their existing book.

The most exciting element for enterprises, however, is that NaviPlan is becoming an API-based platform.  Without getting into technical minutia, this means that organizations can leverage the proven NaviPlan calculation engine with a completely unique client experience that they can create, develop, and own.

Download our free whitepaper to learn about the benefits of utilizing the power of APIs.

The ability to incorporate true financial planning into an existing brand and customer journey will be limited only by the imagination. Think interactivity and integration. Think point of sales tools, self-directed planning, cross-business collaboration, and even more.

NaviPlan continues to push the limits and innovate. As a solution for firms and advisors, it leads the industry in financial planning and, soon, client interactivity as well.