Imagine being to make a movie about the financial impact of significant events in a client’s life. Imagine, too, doing this on your own — no actors, stage set hands or extras needed — and showing the client the filming subsequent to a fact-finding on their financial situation.
Imagine no more, for the technology exists. Software debuted at the annual meeting of the Million Dollar Round Table in June lets advisors create an animated, visual simulation of an individual’s financial life. The product of CiFiCo LLC (an abbreviation of Cinematic Financial Concepts), the software aims to simplify the presentation of financial information and, thereby, ease the understanding of a client’s financial situation —and of measures needed to enhance it.
“After inputting a client’s financial data, the advisor simply clicks ‘play’ and produces a visualization of the information,” says Rick Indelicato, a financial advisor and co-inventor of the CiFiCo software. “The product goes a step beyond conventional illustration software that generates static pie and bar charts.
“We call CiFiCo software single visual language for finance, one in which an advisor can express any financial concept,” he adds. “Anyone who watches the resulting movie would have an instant understanding of the concept.”
To that end, the software leverage several graphical elements to represent financial data. Among them: icons that represent wealth eroding factors or WEFs; “defense membranes” through which WEFs are eliminated or reduced; and “asset tanks” or divisible spheres of liquid money/value that can mimic an account.
The software also features “cost membranes” through which asset tanks pass and are divided; an “income river” of liquid money/value used to feed asset tanks and represent income; plus a “timeline” representing the lifespan of an entity.
The interaction of these visual elements can be used, for example, to represent how life insurance can preserve estate assets. Or they might show the effect on an individual’s 401(k) or 529 college savings plan as a result of a civil lawsuit or ill-conceived wealth transfer planning.
“Whereas a static picture is worth a thousand words, a CiFiCo movie is worth a million,” says Indelicato. “That's what we deliver.”
Perhaps. Indelicato and the investors (all unnamed) who are financing the product’s development and launch are betting the software will establish a niche in a crowded field of apps targeted to life insurance and financial service professionals.
Whereas popular apps like eMoney 360 Pro aggregate client account data and documents to produce planning options, The CiFiCo software dispenses with aggregation, focusing solely on plan conceptualization. The reason: to eliminate the risk of client data falling into the wrong hands.
The software also shuns philosophies or concepts that some apps use to guide plan recommendations. Advisors, Indelicato insists, are free to leverage their own plan techniques and strategies when developing a movie.
The hosted software-as-a-service is additionally device-agnostic: It’s accessible through a desktop, laptop or tablet (including the iPad and Android-based products).
Before the product’s unveiling in June, CiFiCo road-tested the software with 5,000-plus volunteers, including advisors, educators and members of the general public (among them teenagers who, Indelicato claims, produced financial plans rivaling a professional’s).
He adds that nearly all of the participants said they would want their advisor to have the software. More than 8 in 10 (81 percent) of advisors said they would use the product. And three-quarters of advisors said they would pay a subscription fee of $75 per month to use the software.
Is it worth the price?
“If the software can help a client understand what the advisor is saying by bringing a financial plan to life, then I don’t see why someone couldn’t double his or her sales,” he says.