Mobile App Design and DriveWealth Integration Enable Established Investment Firm to Launch Robo-Advisor with Digital Focus for Millennials
- Financial Services and Investing
- Mobile App Design and Development, Technical Strategy, Plaid and DriveWealth Integrations
- Registered Investment Advisory Services App for Millennial Investors
- Kingston, New Jersey
“Our focus has always been to democratize the financial industry and in doing so provide a higher quality advisory and investing experience to young professionals that are too often ignored. By building our own mobile app, we have been able to control our brand and put our own creativity into our product. Additionally, we could focus on developing integrations with key partners that will allow our operational efficiency to increase in specific areas, such as client onboarding. If we had tried to white-label one of the existing financial products in the marketplace, we would have failed to stand out as an innovative platform.”
Rob Michel—Chief Investment Officer, Glen Eagle Advisors, and Head of Investments, alooola
5/5 CLIENT REVIEW
A dramatically improved onboarding experience—from multiple days to zero—modern UX/UI mobile app design and development, and integrations with Plaid and DriveWealth help RIA disrupt the industry by providing customized digital investment services, education, and guidance to a new generation of investors.
Headquartered in Kingston, New Jersey, with offices in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, Glen Eagle Advisors is a full-service Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) and Broker-Dealer that specializes in financial planning, wealth management, and retirement plans. A multigenerational and WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise founded by CEO Susan Michel in 2002, Glen Eagle provides corporations, family offices, business owners, and families with trusted stewardship and transparent access to their wealth. Their team of advisors serves clients nationally.
Recently, Glen Eagle identified a younger demographic of professionals that was not being served by the traditional wealth management industry. With education being a major value of the firm, they wanted to share their knowledge with a new generation of investors, guiding them to make wise financial decisions and managing their wealth without charging them astronomical fees.
Glen Eagle launched alooola, an education-based wealth management and investment advisory platform that would allow them to meet the unmet wealth management needs of a younger demographic through education and high-quality financial advisory services tailored to them—and bring in a new generation of investors to the firm. Initially partnering with corporations and universities to offer education, they quickly realized these efforts were not scalable, and they would need a technology-driven solution to better serve these clients. In order to scale and improve the user experience, they needed to automate their third-party, mostly manual onboarding process and launch a mobile application with a modern look, feel, and functionality.
Glen Eagle was drawn to Praxent because of the team’s deep knowledge of the financial services industry, including regulations and compliance, as well as specific experience with design, development, and integrations for other big players in their space. They engaged with Praxent to help them save money and time by turning their validated proof of concept into a fully automated wealth management platform. Modern mobile app design and development, and integration with key digital institutions like Plaid and DriveWealth, would help them to scale their operations, supercharge their capabilities, and launch their mobile app with confidence.
We noticed that there were seemingly two options available to young investors: financial advisors that focused primarily on high-net-worth individuals and low-cost technology platforms that did not provide access to qualified or experienced financial advisors. With this realization, we decided to create a “hybrid platform” that combines cutting-edge technology with a personalized experience.
Carol Ann Fernandez, Chief Operating Officer, Glen Eagle Advisors, and Head of Financial Planning, alooola
Glen Eagle was seeking to disrupt the investment and wealth management industries by choosing to serve the unique needs of millennial investors and ultimately address what they felt was a growing wealth divide. They sought to reach this population through education by partnering with corporations, universities, and the second generation of their existing clients but soon realized these efforts were not scalable enough to make a real difference—either for their new investors or their firm’s bottom line.
They wanted to build a platform—powered by a mobile app and integrations with digital custodians that would help them own and streamline the process from onboarding to management to growth—that would provide recommendations and education so users could take actionable steps to grow their wealth. However, they did not have the internal design and technical expertise required to build it.
They were seeking a partner who understood their industry, regulations, and parameters when it came to compliance; had specific experience with some of the larger players in financial services; and was cutting edge when it came to design and development as well as integrations, helping them get to market faster and save money.
Refreshing the Business Model alooola sought to build long-term relationships with young professionals, early in their financial journeys when they were facing large financial life events whether that was marriage, buying a house, having a child, switching jobs, paying off debt, etc.
Updating the Technology Stack alooola onboarded over 100 accounts through their public-facing website by using third-party and non-branded sites for the onboarding experience.
Streamlined Account Opening and Funding The onboarding process was less user-friendly than some leading platforms because new accounts could take up to three days to open, with much of the process done manually.
Engaging Mobile Experience alooola prioritized an engaging mobile experience, differentiating itself through valuable education, and advice.
Continuous Innovation By releasing new enhancements to its platform on a recurring basis, alooola will continue its technology strategy of incremental investment, innovation, and ROI. It is critical that its platform be constructed in a flexible manner, enabling it to scale over time.
As we developed the alooola platform we were continuously looking to bring as much innovation as we could to the marketplace while always ensuring that the innovative product we were building would meet our high compliance standards.A limit for us was capacity. To continue giving the high level of service that we provide to each of our clients, we had to ensure that our platform was built with cutting-edge technology. This would allow us to streamline our onboarding process so that we could invest more time and energy into our investment and advisory services.When we first started the alooola platform, we partnered with third-party partners to build a technology bundle. One problem was that each of these technology solutions was branded differently which would occasionally lead to inefficiencies from an operational standpoint and confusion from the client’s perspective. As our growth accelerated, we realized that we needed to control our technology package and be able to put our own brand on it.
Rob Michel—Chief Investment Officer, Glen Eagle Advisors, and Head of Investments, alooola
How we helped
Praxent’s design and native app development expertise, as well as its deep understanding of the financial services industry and knowledge of off-the-shelf integrations like Plaid and DriveWealth, supported Glen Eagle in its launch of alooola.
Praxent proposed a technical strategy that helped Glen Eagle understand how they could best fulfill their goal of delivering a quality mobile app product without going over their budget constraints.
In addition, thanks to the integration of DriveWealth to enable continuous adjustment ‘robo-advisor’ trading and self-directed trading as well as manage KYC compliance during customer account creation, Praxent devised a strategy to get alooola to market quicker. An integration with Plaid will enable users to connect to their primary bank accounts and allow instant transfers to their alooola accounts.
Praxent’s approach included product development services:
- UX Strategy
- ClickModel® Prototype
- UI Design
- Style Guide
- Evaluate API capabilities of the five custodians Glen Eagle currently works with
- Establish an account and retrieve account information via API calls
- Plaid and Drivewealth integrations
- Mobile App development
- CI/CD pipelines, App Store set up
- React Native (hybrid) mobile apps
- QA Analysis & Testing
Glen Eagle expects to launch its mobile app for alooola in Q2 of 2022. In the meantime, they are thrilled with the capabilities their new platform provides. They feel more in control of the alooola brand and like that they have ownership of the entire experience and process.
With the new app and integrations, they feel confident they can accomplish their goal of becoming the first investor app to focus on empowering young professionals to understand their total financial picture and take action to grow their wealth.
Praxent worked on the design, development and integration of a mobile app that helps alooola meet their client’s expectations by delivering an engaging mobile experience.
App Onboarding Flow
To compete more favorably with other leading robo-advisors, alooola wants to offer a zero-delay account creation, followed by a user-friendly questionnaire during onboarding, to tailor the platform, advice, and investment strategy to the user.
Instant Account Funding
An integration with Plaid enables users to connect to their primary bank accounts and enable instant transfers to their alooola account.
After an initial engagement to assess digital custodians, alooola engaged DriveWealth, which required different workflows to be designed and developed.
Praxent created a detailed style guide to ensure the UI felt unified and consistent moving forward.
Mobile App Sitemap
Praxent created a sitemap to plan for usability. It provides a full overview, which allowed alooola stakeholders to simplify, trim unnecessary content, and keep what is important.
Plaid and DriveWealth Integration Strategy
More than just an attractive interface, Praxent created the integration strategy, evaluating fintech vendors based on the client’s requirements. Praxent built out integration with Plaid to connect a user’s bank account, enabling them to fund their trading account. Then an integration with DriveWealth to enable users to open an investment account.
As a firm, we are constantly trying to visualize what the financial industry looks like in the future versus today. We realize that we can bring an immense amount of value to the marketplace if we can create a platform that can meet the needs of young professionals whose financial needs are not currently being met. Even though we have been around as a company for decades, this really is an entrepreneurial journey, and every successful entrepreneur knows that you need to surround yourself with the right team. When different people with different strengths come together, that partnership can be empowering to everyone. We identified that Praxent had development and technological skillset while we had the experience, vision, and a desire to do something.
Susan Michel—Founder and CEO, Glen Eagle Advisors
Prototype and Screen Images
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