The Future of Financial Advice with Jess Liberi, Head of Product at eMoney Advisor

Ryan Zauk
Ryan Zauk
Dec 4, 2020 · 4 min read

Listen on Soundcloud | Spotify | Apple

It’s been ‘trendy’ in FinTech over the last decade to claim financial advisors are on the way out.

Yes, robo-advisors, Robinhood, and self-directed brokerages have been red-hot, but what they offer in fee compression, they often lose in tailored advice, comfort, and sound planning. When thinking about the future of wealth management, I often go back to a real-life example:

An extended family member of mine is a brilliant individual with an advanced degree (non-finance). However, she doesn’t know the first thing about finance. Zero…and no desire to learn. I’ve walked her through Betterment, Acorns, Mint, you name it, but she just couldn’t get comfortable.

The learning curve was too steep and the app interfaces, though simple, were stressful without someone there to help. I had eschewed advisors, but eventually realized they were exactly what she needed. I feel safe knowing she has someone making software-driven, human-guided, sound financial decisions — she may not be getting Renaissance returns, but she’s dollar-cost averaging to indexes, diversifying, rolling over, etc., and always has someone to call. For most Americans, I believe a good financial advisor is invaluable, and having a person you’ve known for a while to call in a year like 2020 cannot be replicated.

Alright — hopping off my soapbox.

In today’s episode, I sit down with Jess Liberi, head of product at eMoney. eMoney is a software company that empowers financial advisors with the tools to create robust financial plans, set savings, investing, and spending goals, conduct cash flow analysis, and much more. eMoney is used by over 70,000 financial professionals across a wide variety of practices in the US, reaching the financial future of ~5 million US households.

Jess provides great insights into the current state of financial advice and the changes all players in the industry has been going through. Jess and I cover a lot of ground in this episode, highlighted by

  • The impact COVID had on both advisors and everyday American
  • How sound financial planning is needed now more than ever
  • The future of financial advice and advisors (both from a fee and product standpoint)
  • eMoney’s “Project Incentive” coming in early 2021

…and much more.

Highlights below:

  • 7:50 — A brief look at the evolution of the financial advisor
  • 9:01 — eMoney’s “competitive advantage” and what differentiates them
  • 10:05 — Some incredible initiatives eMoney has taken on to help 2,000+ students get externships and push advising toward planning-centricity
  • 12:41 —What behavior changes, or lack thereof, they saw during COVID
  • 18:45 — What’s keeping advisors up at night, how they need to adapt products and fee structure, and surprising statistics about the engagement of people over the age of 60
  • 22:50 — eMoney’s “Project Incentive”

For more insights from FinTech leaders, follow:

Wharton FinTech

Twitter | Medium | LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Ryan Zauk

Twitter | LinkedIn

— —

Jess Liberi is the Head of Product at eMoney. After graduating from the University of Virginia, Jess joined SEI as an analyst and spent the next 10 years working across a number of departments. Jess was hired as a product manager at eMoney in 2014 and now is their head of product. She has 15+ years of experience ranging from sales and relationship management, to product, service and solution management and development.

eMoney is a software company that empowers financial advisors with the tools to create robust financial plans, set savings investing and spending goals, decide asset allocation, analyze tradeoff decisions, conduct cash flow analysis, and much more. eMoney is used by over 70,000 financial professionals across a wide variety of practices in the US, reaching the financial future of almost 5 million US households.

Previous Episodes You May Enjoy:

Financial Literacy, Mocking Oprah, and Life Lessons with Neale S Godfrey

Entrepreneurship, Standup Comedy, & Investing — Eric Satz, Founder/CEO of AltoIRA

From Money20/20 USA: Podcast with Tim Chen, Co-Founder and CEO of NerdWallet

Plaid’s John Pitts on the Current Regulatory Landscape, COVID FinTech Adoption, and More

Redesigning the Asset Management Experience — Brian Barnes, Founder & CEO of M1 Finance

Modernizing Life Insurance with Melbourne O’Banion, CEO and Co-Founder of Bestow

Investing for 2 Billion Muslims with Kareem Tabbaa, Chief Product Officer at Wahed

— —

Ryan Zauk is an MBA Candidate at The Wharton School, where he runs the Wharton FinTech Podcast. After graduation, Ryan will join Morgan Stanley’s Menlo Park Office focused on technology. He has a passion for music, media, and all things FinTech.

You can reach him at rzauk@wharton.upenn.edu or on Twitter.