John Michel – Inside Retirement Conference Q&A

JOHN MICHEL
Chief Executive Officer, CircleBlack

John Michel, along with a team of experienced financial innovators, founded CircleBlack in 2013 with the goal of delivering modern technology to the financial services industry. Michel’s vision was to create a platform that would strengthen the bond between financial advisors and their clients, while also providing substantial revenue-generating opportunities for advisors with its proprietary technology.

Question 1: What is CircleBlack technology and what does it do?

Answer: CircleBlack is an innovative wealth management platform designed to help financial advisors build long-lasting, trusting relationships with their clients. We do this by offering technology that:

● brings in all of the clients’ assets–managed and held away–in one place
● provides performance reporting that resonate with investors
● allows the advisor to give compliant and fiduciary advice on clients’ 401k plans earning incremental revenue
● provides billing capabilities
● integrates as a single sign-on hub that seamlessly integrates an advisors various other technologies including CRM,Risk andr Financial planning platforms
● delivers relevant and branded content to an advisor’s clients and to qualified prospects

Question 2: What differentiates CircleBlack from other wealth management platforms?

Answer:

What makes CircleBlack unique is that our technology offers advisors the ability to generate revenue. Our technology shows advisors all of the options (not just the holdings) on 401(K)s, without the advisor having to take custody. That changes us from technology you are paying for to technology you are making money with.

There are many platforms that do parts of what we do – such as performance reporting and billing, client technology – but none that do everything that CircleBlack does. We are an integration hub and will work with any other platforms an advisor or firm has. Our thought is that CircleBlack should work for the advisor, not the other way around.

Question 3: How does CircleBlack work as a central hub for advisors? And how do you integrate a firm’s CRM, trading, risk, and planning tools while still allowing everything to communicate within your platform?

Answer:

CircleBlack is a single sign-on hub.  Once an advisor logs in, all of the different programs and systems are open and talking to each other. We pull data so that it reflects both within CircleBlack and all other platforms. We also push out clean aggregated data to these integrated platforms. We understand the importance of and are open to integrating platforms being used with APIs. It’s our job, not the advisor’s, to make sure all of the different systems are continually talking to each other.

Question 4: How does the quality of data and bi-directionality of information exchange between integrated applications enhance the financial planning process?

Answer:

The term garbage in garbage out applies particularly to data that powers financial applications, such as financial planning platforms.  CircleBlack aggregates and reconciles data so that all of the data that it feeds to other systems is clean and ready to use.  Advisors tell us that by using integrated data from CircleBlack they and their administrative staffs save significant time by not having to enter data into the partners application and they avoid the risk of fat finger (mis-typing) errors which increased the quality of plans.  By providing this capability advisors can spend more of their time on value added planning activities versus administrative data input and processing activities.

Question 5: How can an advisor learn more about CircleBlack?

Answer:

The best way to learn more is to schedule a one-on-one demo. We do this because we realize that each financial advisory practice is different and unique, and we like to tailor the demo so that we make the best use of time. To schedule a demo, go to https://meetme.so/circleblack.