Forrest Tuten, a native of the Low Country of South Carolina, finished his last year of high school at Farragut and went on to earn a B.A. in Behavioral Psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2009.
Now, after a decade of work as a Financial Advisor including serving as President of Brittany Wealth for six years, he has a new gig as Chief Executive Officer of Bitsy Advisor, a start-up providing a tool to enhance the efficiency and productivity of Investment Advisors.
“Like Henry Ford, they need a simple, yet effective assembly line to go as fast as possible,” Tuten explains. With the Bitsy toolkit, he says an Advisor can enroll clients in four minutes.
We had not really given much thought to what is involved in signing-on a new client, so Tuten walked us through the multi-step process. It starts with gathering all relevant personal and financial data, not unlike a visit to a medical office. Then, the relevant accounts must be opened, a time stamp must be created for compliance and auditing, and the Advisor must understand the client’s level of risk taking.
“Most Advisors do it in pieces . . . one meeting at a time,” Tuten explains. “Our system takes everything an Advisor has and aggregates the data. It’s captured once and populated where needed.”
He adds that Bitsy Advisor can save the Advisor on staffing costs in several ways. One is to maximize the time of those individuals by letting them focus on higher value efforts such as client acquisition and service. Another is to potentially reduce the number of individuals actually needed on the payroll.
The B2B (business-to-business) product was tested in two Betas over a six- to eight-month period before it was launched earlier this year. “We proved ourselves in Beta and are now getting it right as we scale,” Tuten says of the tool he describes as a “hybrid SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model.”
Based on his decade of work as a Financial Advisor, he believes the Bitsy product can work for a one-person investment operation as well as one approaching 100 people.
It is offered as a subscription on a monthly or annual basis per user. “You pay a fraction of what an assistant would cost to complete, even if it’s fully customized to a firm’s needs,” Tuten says, adding that the Bitsy product also fully integrates with national firms like TD Ameritrade and major customer relationship management systems like Salesforce, Wealthbox, and Redtail.
For the smaller shops, there are additional options.
“We have default forms that are SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) compliant,” Tuten says. “Some clients want customization, so we can be totally white-labelled.”
Like so many ideas, the latest iteration of Bitsy Advisor evolved from a consumer-focused concept that Tuten developed in early 2018. He says it gained some traction but would have required millions of dollars to really scale.
“I always had a B2B vision,” Tuten adds, and now that product is on the market.