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July 04, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Finpace wants to make financial advisors a hero for their clients

Formerly known as Bitsy Advisor, this Knoxville company now offers a much broader set of software that serves the needs of financial advisors by automating many of the time-consuming and labor intensive processes.

“We want to make financial advisors a hero for their clients,” says Forrest Tuten, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Finpace.

He knows a good deal about the business segment, having spent a decade as a financial advisor, including serving as President of Brittany Wealth for six years, before founding a company named Bitsy Advisor in January 2018. As noted in this July 2020 article, that start-up was focused on helping financial advisors gather clients 30x faster by streamlining the onboarding process.

Tuten’s inspiration for Bitsy Advisor came from Acorns, a micro-investing platform with an easy-to-use onboarding process. It had taken him one to two hours to onboard a customer, and Acorns did it in four minutes. He asked, “Where is that software for financial advisors?” The answer was nowhere, so he had it developed.

“We struggled during COVID,” Tuten says, explaining that he was driven by the needs of his customers, not the product that he had developed. His thoughts inevitably turned to acknowledging that “something I built, people don’t want.”

Today, Tuten has morphed Bitsy Advisor into Finpace with a much broader set of software that serves the needs of financial advisors by automating many of the time-consuming and labor-intensive processes. That’s a significant expansion from simply onboarding clients.

He credits the evolution to a question that two of his board members  – Joe Fielden and Jon Ricketts – asked. “Is there a licensing play here?” That led him to consider what could be repurposed or enhanced.

“I’m not a coder,” Tuten said. In fact, he earned a B.A. in Behavioral Psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2009. “I didn’t know anything about software, but I thought, ‘Bring it on.’ We know how to get things done.”

The result is the suite of features and services provided by Finpace that launched this past January. They include:

  • An existing onboarding system for clients;
  • Analytics and reporting that track performance, monitor metrics, and see trends to improve results quickly;
  • A feature that automates about 30-40 percent of a typical audit list;
  • An ongoing, simple way to engage with clients;
  • Automated outreach that allows advisors to develop templates for emails, set up automated sequences, and schedule follow-up tasks, all in one place; and
  • An electronic signature capability that offers military-grade encryption and authentication.

“Firms still trying to grow are our target,” he says, adding, “We provide an easy online experience.”

The company has already secured clients as nearby as Charlotte and as far away as South Africa. To onboard its new clients and continually serve them, Tuten has established Finpace University which offers a series of online asynchronous courses.

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