How Pinnacle Trust uses technology to its full potential

With 20 years in business, and 20 years as an SEI partner, Pinnacle understands the benefits of innovation as you grow your business. It has helped Pinnacle develop a competitive edge in its region, earn a reputation for first-class client service, and even attract young advisors who want to become part of its vision. The firm was about 10 years ahead of the curve in terms of goals-based investing, for example, because of SEI’s groundbreaking capabilities in that area. Innovation also has helped it make the most of its relatively small size. Because of technology, Pinnacle can leverage outsourcing solutions and provide wealth managers more quality time to understand the needs and goals of its clients.

“To be more productive as advisors, you’ve got to be able to have technology work in your favor,” says Stacey Wall, CEO of Pinnacle. “It’s about giving the client a good experience but doing it in an efficient manner.”

A fruitful head start: Revolutionary wealth 

After using SEI’s legacy Image: Ask the right questions-Cornering the marketsolution TRUST 3000® for decades, Pinnacle asked for the opportunity to become early adopters of SEI’s fully integrated, unified wealth management platform that supports the firm from front office to the back—not simply for the sake of innovation but as a way to position the firm among the best in class for client-service management. Wall could see the potential for the SEI Wealth Platform℠ (the Platform) to revolutionize the industry and didn’t want to be left behind. “If we didn’t get on the new platform when we did, we would have had to wait another five years,” Wall says.

More than four years later, the Platform has revolutionized Pinnacle’s operations, simplifying the work of advisors in the front office while increasing the premium level of service they are able to provide.

Gained clarity with a unified view

Driving efficiency in many areas is the Platform’s dashboard capabilities, which offers the ability to share the same view of a client’s portfolio from anywhere. Advisors can now review portfolios on the road or give client presentations even when they can’t be face-to-face, which saves travel time for both clients and advisors and encourages more frequent contact and client touch points.

"The unified approach allows us to show our clients their goals and track progress towards those goals,” says Wall.“Here’s how you’re allocated and why you’re allocated that way. For example, having the technology allows us to build out goals for younger clients who are 30 or 35 years old, and who really aren’t thinking about retirement, but about how to get the kids through college and buy the next big house.”

A shared view also helps staff review portfolios together from a tax-efficiency standpoint. Advisors can work together on portfolio modeling, making it easier to identify which investments might be better suited to a retirement account as opposed to a taxable investment account. “It’s huge,” Wall says. “It’s making us more efficient by giving us tools that clients appreciate, our advisors appreciate, and that our internal staff appreciates.” In an industry plagued by legacy systems, it is a struggle to attract and retain new talent. Forward-thinking, modern technology like this has made Pinnacle a truly desirable and very popular employer. The easy-to-use, web-based tools allow younger advisors to hit the ground running and focus on growing their books of business, not administrative tasks and learning how to navigate seriously outdated mainframe technology.

“As for our competitive landscape, there really aren’t any companies around here that do it any better than we do. A big part of that has been our relationship with SEI.” Stacy Wall, Pinnacle.

Share best practices among like-minded leaders

Innovation does not always have to do with technology. For a regional firm like Pinnacle, one of the most valuable innovations Wall gets from SEI is the opportunity to meet twice a year with an SEI-hosted executive network, which is a group of 20 different wealth managers from around the country. While the events are moderated by SEI, the discussion is not about the platform or services. Instead, the group discusses industry trends and shares best practices for staying competitive. SEI has provided a platform from which a community has formed and continues to grow. It’s an intangible and invaluable benefit to becoming part of the SEI family. This has little to do with technology but still seems innovative to Wall. “It’s been invaluable to us as a company, the opportunity to meet with my peers,” Wall adds. “We’re free to share ideas and challenges around what’s working and not working. We honestly learn from each other in the process.”