The content in Don’s blogs is derived from a wealth of experience in the realms of accounting, finance, investing, and tax. He has used this experience in ensuring conformity for Advicent's products with tax legislation on a Federal and State basis. Don earned his CPA license in 2007 and became a CFA charter holder in 2013.
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Financial planning software has a long-running history that is as extensive as any industry. However, few are aware of the significant impact that international innovations have had on this history and the effects that will be felt in the coming years. Financial planning software has made tremendous strides forward in its ability to make life easier for its users, in part due to this global innovation. Figlo® is one of the international innovators of financial planning software that has contributed (and will continue to contribute) to the bright future of technological innovation.
Figlo: a Netherlands original
In 1996, the Infa Group (“the group”) started what would become the groundwork for the Figlo financial planning tool. As with most startups, the group started small and focused on efficient implementation and technical innovation. Although efficiency and innovation were true for the inner workings of the company, it was also a core design tenet of the software to be created for its user base.
From the beginning, it was the goal of the group to support financial advisors in making more understandable and approachable software for the advice they provide. Designed to simplify the complexity of personal financial management, it was offered to financial advisors in various business markets within the Netherlands from accountants to mortgage originators and primarily to comprehensive financial planners. Ultimately, the application was meant to help advisors connect on a behavioral or emotional level with their consumers.
As software technology advances each year and robo-advisors rise to prominence, there is an increased focus on a behavioral connection that only human advisors can truly make. In light of this, the original goal of the Infa Group to help advisors connect with clients has only grown in strength.
And so the lifeline was born
Most people would consider themselves visual learners. For this reason, the original makers of the Figlo financial planning tool found it important to strengthen the ability of an advisor to make a connection with clients via means of visual imagery. This came in the form a lifeline, which displays goals and account values to clients in a way that makes sense to them – in the prism of their life cycle.
However, personalization is deeper than that. It includes the ability to demonstrate when someone will achieve their wishes, when difficulties might occur, and what would happen if the unthinkable would happen. It includes the ability to upload pictures from your computer or the internet to the goals, accounts, and people in the financial plan to make them real. This is just one of many innovations that Figlo introduced that keys on the importance of the behavioral connection and understanding that is critical in forming a lasting and successful client-advisor relationship.
Figlo goes international
While the compelling story of establishing an emotional connection between the advisor/firm and the client started in the Netherlands, it makes just as much sense in all markets. Even if the types of accounts and rules are different and the focus of a financial plan varies, the underlying need to feel financially secure is the same across the world.
With that, the Figlo financial planning tool and its invaluable advisor- and client-facing applications embarked on an international journey in 2010. Since then, this journey has included telling the Figlo story in the Eastern European, Asian, and South African local markets. Although cultures and languages differ greatly across the globe, the story has been successful due to the one thing that all advisors need to do – make an emotional connection with clients.
Coming to America
Noticing this success, Advicent brought Figlo into the fold in 2014. Similar to other marketplaces, the story of personalization and making a behavioral connection with clients has resonated with advisors in the United States.
Figlo continues to be improved, updated, and leveraged by thousands of advisors across the globe. Its legacy and innovation are just getting started in America, but has had a lasting positive impact on the global financial planning industry. While technology continues to advance, building relationship-based personalization continues to be essential to successful financial planning. Others have sought to improve the connection that advisors and clients make based on this success, but putting the life of a client front and center will always be the most likely way that advisors can make a connection.
Read the rest of “The Advicent story” series:
[Part 1]: The Advicent story: a tradition of innovation and success
[Part 2]: The Profiles story: the legacy that defined our industry
[Part 3]: The NaviPlan story: innovating financial planning for the future
[Part 4]: The Advisor Briefcase story: changing client communication
[Part 5]: The Figlo story: an international journey
[Part 6]: The Narrator story: telling your story
Click here to learn about Figlo and the other industry leading financial technology solutions offered by Advicent to educate clients and provide a better client experience, or call (855) 885-7526 to speak with an Advicent representative.