What to Expect: Orion’s November 2019 Software Update Highlights

On November 23rd, the Orion technology platform will receive its final software update of the year. 

But before we get into the big ticket items, it’s time to drop some other news: This will be the final quarterly update of its kind, as we’re moving to an agile development process. 

What does this mean to you? Only good things. But don’t worry— we’ll explain the details below, in addition to everything you can expect in the upcoming weeks, like:

  • Game-changing updates to your new favorite planning tool Advizr, headlined by the ability to view investment performance data alongside planning data in one cohesive environment
  • Huge advancements to Eclipse™, including the addition of FIX algorithms (algos), a new depletion method, partial location optimization capabilities, and more intuitive preference settings
  • Greater autonomy and efficiency when updating data en masse with easy-to-use templates, in-depth error messaging, and the option to make on-screen changes in Custom Imports 2.0 
  • Big-time integrations with Experian, Schwab, Supernova, factorE, LifeYield, Glia, Totum and Benjamin—sure to operationalize your processes and differentiate your offerings from other advisors 
  • Unprecedented visibility into critical report payout information for any period of time through a new billing dashboard

Be on the lookout for our full release notes and everything not covered in this post!

Get Your Favorite Technology Faster with Our New Product Release Format

What We’re Changing

For quite a long time, we’ve been releasing our new products and enhancements on a quarterly basis. You’re probably accustomed to our traditional release process: a highlights blog followed by the full release notes and a release webinar. And while we do enjoy unveiling all the presents at once—just like on Christmas Day—we realize there is a more efficient, faster way to get you the technology updates you’re greatly anticipating.

That’s why we’re moving to a more agile product development process. At a high level, agile development allows product and development teams to create technology in “sprints.” Sprints essentially break down a large project into much more digestible pieces, enabling the teams to focus completely on the task at-hand. Some of the benefits of sprints include:

  • Increased collaboration and knowledge sharing
  • Ongoing user feedback and flexibility to iterate intra-sprint
  • More proactive bug detection and resolution
  • Faster and more reliable delivery of technology

What You’ll Notice

We’ll be releasing brand-new products and enhancements once per month. You’ll still receive all the highlights and details you crave; you’ll just get them more frequently and in more absorbable amounts.

We’re still working out the new release notes process, but you’ll probably see one combined release highlights and full notes blog, as opposed to two separate ones—for each release. We’ll continue to notify you about our releases via Orion Connect and our bi-weekly email communication. And instead of a quarterly release webinar, we’ll be hosting a new series titled “Ask Me Anything…About This Release,” where you’ll register to chat with our product experts about what’s coming your way. 

We’re super excited about revamping our release process to enhance the quality of our products and get them to you more quickly. There’s lots to look forward to, so stay tuned!

Make Planning a Staple of Your Business, Across Your Business 

What We Built

For our financial planners out there, how are you currently accessing a holistic view of your clients’ financial goals and investment performance details? If you’re jumping between two portals, that’s not acceptable.

Directly within the Advizr Portal, you’ll now be able to view your client’s financial plans alongside the performance of their accounts in Orion—all from one central location. From the Personal Finances section in Advizr, you’ll see the following tabs:

Summary: Offers key metrics and information, including: 

  • Current Market Value 
  • YTD Return
  • YTD Unrealized Gain/Loss
  • Allocation
  • Transaction Summary
  • Portfolio Value vs. Net Amount Invested

Performance tab: Provides a Performance Summary including Contributions, Distributions, and the Year to Date (YTD) Return, as well as a Performance vs. Benchmark widget that displays how the client’s account(s) have performed vs. their designated benchmark.

Positions tab: Includes data for each of the client’s positions such as Units, Price, Market Value, Cost Basis, Unrealized Gains/Loss, and the percentage of the account the position represents, as well as the ability to view each position’s lot details.

Transactions tab: Displays the client’s account transactions such as Buys, Sells, and Dividends.

If all of the investment accounts in the financial plan are imported from Orion, Advizr will provide an All Investments view, which aggregates all of the accounts and provides the above Summary, Performance, and Positions tabs.

But that’s not all—in fact, this is just one of many enhancements we’ve made to Advizr. You’ll have to read the full release notes to get the whole scoop on the others, but here’s a sneak peak:

  • Document vault integration to automatically bring Orion Statements, Custodial Statements, and Custodial Tax Documents from the Orion Client Portal to the Advizr Client Portal
  • New Monte Carlo sub-report in Report Builder to illustrate the probability of success that a retirement goal is funded
  • Monte Carlo, Retirement Assets, and Net Worth presentation tiles to show clients the value of their respective plans
  • Notifications within Orion Connect to alert you when there are important updates, like when a new document has been uploaded by a client or when a new client has registered a plan
  • Updates to the My Settings and Firm Settings tabs to allow more flexibility at the firm and advisor level

Why It Matters

You know our stance: advice-driven planning is critically important to your value proposition and your client experience. But if our planning toolkit isn’t properly integrated with the rest of the Orion tech you use everyday, then we’re creating an unnecessary barrier. It’s our mission to make planning so seamless within our system that you and your clients don’t remember life without it. 

How to Learn More

To learn how to start utilizing these major enhancements, sign up for our upcoming webinar on December 5th.  

And if you’re not using Advizr yet, don’t worry—you haven’t missed the deadline. As a reminder, while there is no additional fee for Advizr, we are getting advisors started in batches to ensure a best-in-class experience. Please also note that you must complete our Advizr Ascent training modules before being fully onboarded.

Make the Most of Tax-Efficient Trading — Efficiently

What We Built

Tax implications matter a great deal. So does the time it takes to reduce your clients’ respective tax bills. Our recent Eclipse™ updates are geared toward helping you save your time and your clients money—simultaneously. Here’s how we’re doing it:

FIX Algorithmic Trading (Algos)

Have you ever tried to execute a large block order affecting multiple clients? If so, you probably recall the critically important set of instructions you trusted a trade desk to execute—praying there was no human error in the process. Not ideal.

FIX algos takes human error out of the equation by using computer software that follows defined trade instructions—generating trades at a frequency and level of reliability and execution incapable by a human trade desk. Intended for large orders, FIX algos can be set based on the block created.

FIX algos allows advisors to:

  • Reduce the risk of manual human error when following trade instructions
  • Ensure trade orders are instantly received to avoid potential price changes
  • Execute trades at the same price across all affected clients
  • & more!

Some common strategies involved in FIX algos include Volume-Weighted Average Price, Time-Weighted Average Price, and Percentage of Volume. Check out our recent blog on FIX algos to learn more about these strategies and which custodians support FIX algos. 

New Depletion Method

Eclipse™ offers a best-tax method to trading that follows a set of principles, one of which is to sell assets with long-term gains before those with short-term gains. However, we’ve noticed that it doesn’t always make sense to follow this exact order of depletion.

Consider this: one lot has a short-term gain of $100 and another lot has a long-term gain of $10,000. Depending on a client’s tax bracket, it might make sense to first sell the lot with a short-term gain because the actual taxes paid will be substantially lower. Now, Eclipse™ will accommodate this new depletion method as a preference option. 

Partial Location Optimization

When done right, asset location optimization can save clients significant amounts of money on their respective tax bills. When not done right? Well, that’s a missed opportunity.

Previously, if an asset was not located in the most tax-optimal account type, you could only exit that position manually—or when the node was overweight. 

Now, Eclipse™ will seek to actively exit positions held in improper account types (and move them to the optimal accounts) , even when a node is in tolerance.

Updated Preferences

Anytime there’s a tremendous amount of customization in software, there’s generally a lot of preferences. Eclipse™ is no different, but we’re making our preferences easier to understand than ever before. Here’s how:

  • We updated the names of our preferences to make them more intuitive.
  • We added tool tips to provide the explanation you need to make informed decisions.
  • We included a new Orion Support article to help you better understand these changes.

Why It Matters

Your clients rely on you to grow their portfolios. And we’re on a continuous, active mission to give you the technology to make that happen—and save you time doing so. 

How to Learn More

To start taking advantage of Eclipse™’s newest improvements, trading@orionadvisor.com is your email. And if you’re not using Eclipse™ at this point? There’s no better time than now to start. 

Achieve Greater Efficiency for Large Data Updates with Custom Imports 2.0 

What We Built

Previously, if you wanted to update records en masse, you needed to download a template, enter the data “correctly” in Excel, re-upload the file to Orion, and hope that you got it all right. 

With Custom Imports 2.0, we’ve made what was already good, better. You can still choose to download a template from Orion and upload it just like usual. But now, once you’ve uploaded the file, it populates into a staging environment where you will be able to see errors in the fields and troubleshoot them. You can fix the errors in-line, without the hassle. You’ll get precise error prompting that lets you know where the issues lie so you can locate and fix them quickly. So, if you forgot to add transaction data, you’ll get a message saying so and pointing to the problem. And once you do fix them, you can validate the changes, and the error field will go away—letting you know you’re good to go. 

Plus, now you can avoid having to download an Excel template by working directly in the staging environment. Here, you can start adding information from scratch into the template you choose, with dropdown choices on most of the rows that include smart searches across data within Orion Connect. This includes things like updating household data.

Why It Matters

These changes give the you the ability to interact with your data in a more expansive way than ever before, saving you tons of time in the process.  

There are currently six custom imports in the new update, with plenty more rolling out in the coming days and weeks. If you use an import that is not yet available in the new tool, you can still link to the old tool. 

Even better, if you do need support with the new system, there is an embedded training overlay within the custom imports solution that can walk you through how to best use the function. 

How to Learn More

Check out the Custom Imports app to get accustomed to the new functionality. There are also useful support articles in Orion Support. For any questions, please email reconservice@orionadvisor.com.

Build an Unbeatable Tech Environment with Our Newest Integrations

What We Built

We’re of the opinion that standing still means we’re not doing our best to help you achieve your goals—which is why we’re always moving. And sometimes, that means getting other industry leaders involved via integrations. And that’s exactly what we’ve done over the last 90 days. Our new integrations with Experian, Salesforce, Riskalyze, Supernova, factorE, and Benjamin give you the ability to be both more efficient and more effective. 

  • Experian: In 2018, there were 1,244 data breaches exposing nearly 447M records*. Don’t let your clients be the next statistic. With Orion and Experian, you can offer adults in the same household dark-web monitoring services, monthly Experian credit scores, and timely notifications triggered by potential fraudulent acts made against them.
  • Schwab: Advisors who custody with Schwab Advisor Services (™) will soon have the ability to submit change of address and service requests to Schwab directly from Orion, reducing both the need to toggle between the two and redundant manual data entry.
  • Riskalyze: Streamline proposal creation in Riskalyze by sending household data directly from the New Account Center in Orion to Riskalyze. Once the proposal is completed within Riskalyze, a PDF version of the proposal can be sent back to Orion.
  • Supernova: For those who can benefit from securities based lending, Supernova makes it easier than ever by authenticating and pulling in data from Orion to complete the application for a SBLOC. Everything is digital, so clients can pledge their securities as collateral and have a line of credit to pay for, say, their daughter’s wedding, with just a few clicks. 
  • factorE: Deemed a portfolio risk discovery tool, factorE uses Orion portfolio data to assess the risk held by a portfolio, and can apply that allocation for a factor-based scenario analysis. You can show your clients, based on the risk in the portfolio, how they would have fared in past events, such as the *gulp* great recession of 2008. 
  • LifeYield: Communicating about portfolio tax ramifications can be uncomfortable when doing so too late in the game. With LifeYield, advisors can bring that conversation to the forefront with a Taxficient Score, plus suggestions on how to make the portfolio more tax efficient. 
  • Glia: Communication between the advisory level and the rep level is of paramount importance, especially when training on a platform as robust as Orion. Glia allows advisors to see exactly what reps are doing in real time and explain solutions right from their own computer screen, without any confusion. And we all know how confusion can be costly. 
  • Totum Risk: Totum is a portfolio risk analysis platform you may be familiar with. Our integration takes the results from their extensive 11-question risk questionnaire and displays three different scores into Orion Connect: Risk Capacity, Risk Preference and Portfolio Risk Score, so you always know where you stand on the risk spectrum. 
  • Benjamin: Advisors can solicit the help of a digital assistant, named Benjamin, to do things like schedule client meetings through your CRM and run Orion reports ahead of those meetings so you don’t have to. You’ll be prepared for every client meeting without the hassle of doing things manually. 

Why It Matters

Our open API architecture is designed for you—so you continue to have access to the most cutting-edge, time-saving, and flexible tools that make meaningful differences to internal processes and client outcomes. We’re just getting started!

How to Learn More

To learn more about our next-gen integrations, please email integrations@orionadvisor.com. 

Make Billing Transparent Again with Orion’s New Payout Dashboard

What We Built

Have you ever received a paycheck and thought, “Huh, that’s not what I was expecting”? Not a great feeling—we’ve been there too. That’s precisely why we created a brand-new Payout Dashboard app.

The Payout Dashboard app brings more transparency and efficiency to the calculations for custom payout rates. Previously, although you could create payout schedules for relevant stakeholders associated with a client account—for example, the rep receives 80% of the fees, while the RIA receives 20% of the fees—there was not a way to track this over time. With the Payout Dashboard, stakeholders receive unprecedented visibility into their payouts for any period of time, while firm admins can safely and efficiently track, edit, and report payout information. 

Why It Matters

For many firms, the bulk of billing tasks are still performed in Excel. Our new Payout Dashboard automates a process that’s typically manual and tedious, making billing more enjoyable and less error prone. 

With full transparency into how payouts are calculated and distributed, as well as access to real-time payment data, it’s easier than ever for reps, advisory firms, and admins to account for potential discrepancies, adjust fees, and maintain a complete overall financial picture. 

How to Learn More

To learn more about the Payout Dashboard, don’t hesitate to reach out to billing@orionadvisor.com. 

All of the highlights covered in today’s article—plus many more enhancements and upgrades—will be coming to you soon!

Click here to sign up for our next product release webinar on November 26th to learn more about everything that’s coming your way.



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