Tax Prep for Advisors: Your Checklist for Delivering Tax Drag Analysis

Tax prep is one of the most valuable services you can offer as a financial advisor. No client wants to pay more in taxes than they have to – but few have the desire or capability of getting in the IRS-ridden weeds, so to speak. 

Moreover, a staggering 80% of investors think their advisors should be focusing on tax minimization, and 90% believe taxes can erode their investment accounts over time. Perhaps without even knowing what to call this phenomenon, your clients are likely worried about tax drag. 

But how can you prepare yourself for those conversations?

In this blog, we’re walking through how you can prepare yourself to deliver on that service by learning about tax drag and implementing Nitrogen’s tax planning solutions into your workflow.

What is Tax Drag?

Here’s what you need to know to get yourself ready for tax prep time with your clients:

  • Funds withdrawn from investment accounts to pay taxes are missed opportunities for potential growth – that money would likely serve clients better by staying invested and compounding over time. That loss is called “tax drag.”
  • Clients are often focused on the bottom line (i.e., returns), and may not even be aware of just how much of an impact tax drag can have on their long-term finances. With complex portfolios, it becomes difficult to explain that concept in a way that resonates. 
  • Providing next-level advice through tax drag analysis and optimization is a great way to show your value and keep clients engaged – it can show them that you’re able to manage their portfolio more tax-efficiently than other advisors. 
  • With Nitrogen’s built-in Tax Drag calculators, you have access to Tax Drag analysis at the security and portfolio level, as well as simple visualizations you can share with your clients.

Related: Win Prospects Faster with Tax Drag

Tax drag data is also shedding light on trends that can help you make informed recommendations. For example, we found that in 2023, the top ten growth ETF offered significantly less tax drag than their mutual fund counterparts (at .39% and 6.69%, respectively)!

Analyzing Portfolios for Tax Drag in Nitrogen: A Simple Checklist

Before you dive into tax prep with your clients, let’s ensure you’re comfortable with the calculators. To determine tax drag at the portfolio level for a new client account, you’ll need to follow a few simple steps:

  • Login to your Nitrogen account. Note that Tax Drag is available for customers on Nitrogen Elite, Ignite, or Ultimate. 
  • Click “Add Account, Funds, Stocks, Other” for the new account. 
  • As you add account information, you’ll be prompted to set the tax status of the account as either taxable or non-taxable. 

If you need to change this setting later, you can do so by going to the account and selecting Menu > Setting > Tax Status. Note that tax drag is available for taxable accounts only.

  • You can now view the tax drag, along with expense ratios and advisory fees, for the portfolio at any time by clicking into the Portfolios screen or the Detailed Portfolio Stats section. 
  • Easily share the tax drag analysis with clients and prospects by sharing the Portfolio Snapshot report or through a custom Nitrogen proposal. You can also show side-by-side comparisons of your proposed portfolio and the existing portfolio’s tax drag. 

Related: Click here to read “Tax Drag: The New Competitive Advantage in Investment Management”

Accounts already created already have tax drag information available for Nitrogen Elite users, accessible in the Portfolios screen, Detailed Portfolio Stats, and Portfolio Snapshot reports. 

3 Ways Tax Drag Analysis Helps You Tackle Tax Prep with Ease

  1. The simple tax drag visualizations provided by Nitrogen make it easy to show your clients why a certain recommendation might be more beneficial than another – without the need for heavy jargon. 
  2. You have access to a standardized and structured way to share seemingly complex tax concepts in just a moment, keeping your clients’ confidence high and meetings on track.
  3. You set yourself apart from competitors and wow prospects, without adding more to your to-do list.

How Nitrogen Crunches the Numbers

At the portfolio level, Nitrogen automatically calculates the tax drag of each security held and averages those amounts under the assumption that the current holdings and respective weights have remained consistent for three years.

We use the following formula, which divides the after-tax return by the pre-tax return, to calculate tax drag for specific securities:

Tax Drag = [1 – ((1+AT) / (1+PT))] x 100, where AT = 3-Year Annualized Distribution After-Tax Return and PT = 3-Year Annualized Return (Pre-Tax)

Note that Tax Drag:

  • Assumes your client pays the maximum federal rate on capital gains and ordinary income rate
  • Reflects the after-tax distribution return without the inclusion of any tax consequences due to selling or liquidating positions
  • Assumes distributions are reinvested on the pay date
  • Does not include state or local tax liabilities

By mastering tax drag concepts, leveraging Nitrogen’s powerful tools, and standardizing tax conversations, you’ll be well on your way to delivering impactful tax drag analysis for your clients. This translates to happier clients, stronger relationships, and a thriving tax season for you.

Get ready for tax prep time with Nitrogen’s suite of advisor and client-facing solutions. Click here to schedule a complimentary demo of Nitrogen today.

The Ultimate Tax Prep Checklist To Send To Your Clients

Taxes can be a daunting task for both the client and the advisor filing on their behalf. To help make the process more manageable and less stressful, we created this Tax Prep Checklist you can send to your clients to make sure they’re well prepared to file and help make your job a bit easier. 

Income Documentation

  • W-2 forms: From all employers over the tax year. Include one for you and your spouse if applicable.
  • 1099 forms: Various types (1099-MISC, 1099-NEC, 1099-G, etc.) for independent contracting work, interest earned, dividends, state tax refunds, and other form of various income.
  • Income from investments: Be sure to include forms that show the sale of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investments (1099-B, 1099-S).
  • Foreign income: If applicable.
  • Rental property income: Gather your records of income and associated expenses from any rental properties you may own. 
  • Alimony received: Collect documentation including amount and ex-spouse’s SSN (if applicable).

Deductions and Credits You May Include

  • Charitable donations: Include any receipts from donations to charities you may have made throughout the year.
  • Medical and dental expenses: Include any receipts for payments not covered by insurance.
  • Education expenses: Include Form 1098-T for tuition, books, and supplies, and student loan interest documentation from Form 1098-E.
  • Mortgage interest: Include Form 1098 from your lender.
  • State and local taxes paid: Gather receipts of payments, including property taxes and state income or sales taxes.
  • Retirement contributions: Include any 401(k) and/or IRA contributions documentation.
  • Energy-efficient home improvements: Gather receipts for qualifying energy improvements.

Records of Taxes Paid

  • State and local income taxes: From the previous year if not already deducted or refunded.
  • Estimated tax payments: Records of estimated federal and state tax payments made during the year.

Previous Year’s Tax Return

  • Last year’s tax return: This can be useful for reference and for information that may carry over to this year’s return.

Miscellaneous

  • Childcare expenses: Include records of payments to childcare providers, daycare expenses etc., including their tax ID numbers.
  • Records of business income and expenses: Be sure to include any applicable income and documentation associated with your company if you’re self-employed or own a business.
  • Educational scholarships or fellowships: If you’ve received any monetary rewards for your education, you may want to include any applicable documentation you have associated with it. 
  • Health Insurance: Include Form 1095-A if you enrolled in an insurance plan through the Marketplace.

Want to share this checklist with your clients? Download a copy of the Ultimate Tax Prep Checklist!

Protecting Client Wealth Against Cyber Threats

As a wealth management advisor, you’re tasked with managing and growing client assets, and along with that comes the responsibility of cybersecurity. Understanding how to protect client wealth and their families from digital dangers is paramount in today’s financial advisory role. 

When it comes to the online security of your client’s assets, you’re the first line of defense against the increasingly sophisticated world of cyber threats, and with the SEC’s new regulations, wealth managers will be held in higher accountability when cyber breaches strike.

Here’s how you can strengthen your defenses and become a trusted advisor in cybersecurity.

Understanding Who The Bad Guys Are And What They’re After

The first step in defense is understanding the offense. Typically, cybercriminals fall under one of two categories – they are either nation-state-backed criminal enterprises residing in countries like Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China, or they are small “cyber gangs” many of which reside in the United States. 

The cyber theft industry is a $54 billion dollar business. Cyber threats can range from identity theft and phishing scams to complex ransomware attacks targeting individuals’ financial assets. Cybercriminals are known to go after bank accounts, custodial and brokerage accounts, tax returns and government benefits, health insurance, credit, and even accounts such as Venmo or Paypal. As a financial advisor, your role extends beyond investment strategies to include advising clients on how to secure their digital wealth across all these platforms. 

The 6 Most Common Ways People Are Breached

Another crucial part of cybersecurity is understanding how cybercriminals go after what they want. Here are the 6 most common avenues used by cybercriminals to execute their breaches:

  1. Similar or short passwords across different accounts: 1 million passwords a week are compromised 
  2. Devices that use default privacy and security settings: many devices automatically record passwords that are input, easily giving access to all passwords once the system is hacked
  3. Smart home technology: typically, once one smart-home device is breached, all others connected to it can be compromised
  4. Malicious software: this is software that is developed with the sole purpose of disrupting and gaining unauthorized access to computer systems
  5. Public WiFi without a VPN: when connected to a public WiFi network, other users on the same network can easily monitor your online activities
  6. Charging stations and rental cars: public charging stations can easily pull information out or push malware into devices 

Implementing a Cybersecurity Framework

  1. Encourage Working On A VPN: Whether it be for your firm or your clients, working on a VPN is a great way to ensure you’re operating securely. 
  2. Educate Your Clients: Knowledge is power. Conduct regular sessions with your clients to educate them about the types of cyber threats and the importance of cybersecurity measures.
  3. Advocate for Strong Digital Hygiene: Encourage the use of complex passwords, the activation of two-factor authentication, and the importance of regular software updates. Consider providing clients with resources or referrals to trusted cybersecurity tools like password management tools. 
  4. Personalized Security Strategies: Tailor cybersecurity advice based on your client’s specific needs, financial situation, and digital presence. What works for one client might not be suitable for another.
  5. Ensure Secure Communication: Use encrypted communication channels when sharing sensitive financial information. Make sure your clients know how to verify that communications coming from you are secure and legitimate.

Partnering with Cybersecurity Experts

While financial advisors are experts in wealth management, partnering with cybersecurity professionals can provide an added layer of security. Introducing security solutions or partnerships, like Digital Privacy and Protection, could offer your clients top-notch protection for their digital assets. These partnerships not only enhance your service offering but also position you as a holistic advisor who cares about every aspect of your client’s wealth.

Building a Culture of Cyber Vigilance

Encourage your clients to adopt a proactive stance towards cybersecurity. Regularly review their digital security measures, update their estate plans to include digital assets, and keep abreast of the latest in cyber threat intelligence. Your guidance can make a significant difference in their overall security posture.

Learning More About Digital Security

The digital age brings with it new challenges, but also new opportunities to excel in the ever-changing wealth management industry. By incorporating cybersecurity into your advisory services, you’re not just managing wealth; you’re protecting futures.

For an in-depth exploration of how you can enhance your cybersecurity efforts and better serve your clients, watch our latest webinar, “The SEC is About to Rock Your World on Cybersecurity.” This session is designed to provide you with the knowledge, strategies, and resources to safeguard your clients’ digital and financial legacies.

Watch Our Webinar Now

Monitor Proposals and Drive Growth with Command Center

In addition to navigating compliance, advisory firms must track their firm growth, client retention, and delivery of compliant proposals across their entire book of business. Managing it all can quickly become tedious and time-consuming, especially in light of the SEC’s recent 2024 exam priorities release. Now, advisors are being held to higher standards on what investment recommendations they’re making and how they’re determining the best interest of their clients. 

With so many moving parts and regulations to abide by, it all can become hard to manage. Firms want to grow their practice, and the right technology is out there to help them do so. But how do they know what solutions are right for their firm? 

Nitrogen Command Center is a one-stop shop for monitoring risk alignment, delivering compliant proposals, and tracking the growth of your AUM. Our proactive dashboards allow you to zoom in and out from an individual account to your entire organization. 

Related: Improve Your Bottom Line With Compliance Technology

Let’s explore what firmwide management and controls you can access through the Command Center, as well as how those insights can fuel growth, and detect misalignment across your book of business.

 

What is Command Center (and What Can it Do For Your Firm?)

We know that knowledge is the key to growth. Each of our tools serves to equip advisors with insights to help make the right decisions and effectively communicate that rationale to both clients and regulators. 

Available to Nitrogen Ignite and Ultimate users, Command Center contains insight dashboards that provide advisors, firm owners, and enterprise executives the data they need to make key investment recommendations and business decisions.



There are three main benefits of Command Center:

1. You can assign qualitative numbers to your growth. 

Command Center allows you to view key metrics of an individual account from a high-level perspective. See how many clients have received their Form CRS, which accounts need attention, and more – before they pose a problem. 

2. You can be proactive about risk alignment. 

Your firm’s reputation and revenue can become compromised when you’re unable to predict risks. But with firmwide risk monitoring, you can see which portfolios are in alignment with risk tolerance and be alerted to those that may need attention – without having to manually scan accounts. That automated data analysis means your days of spot-checking are in the past. 

3. You can easily develop compliant proposals. 

With the power of the Risk Number®, your firm can easily manage the creation, delivery, and alignment of proposals across your entire book of business. It’s never been easier to wow prospects with a proposal built just for them. And when you need an audit trail, you can quickly capture the data you need, without getting into the weeds. Command Center allows you to monitor and document the proposal process, ensuring each proposal is being delivered to clients in a compliant manner.

Related: 5 Compliance Process Improvements to Help Your RIA Scale

Increase Growth with Better Insights

Compliant proposals and data-informed client communication can help your firm win more revenue by freeing up your time to focus on what matters most. Spending fewer hours manually scanning accounts, addressing regulatory concerns, and documenting your processes means your clients stay front and center year-round. 

For one firm, the switch to Nitrogen allowed them to reach an impressive 90% close rate – a win they attribute largely to Nitrogen’s custom portfolios and easy-to-understand risk tolerance deliverables. And they aren’t an anomaly – firms that use Nitrogen have improved prospect close rates from 40% to 94%. 

Whether it’s the advisors within your firm or the clients they’re serving, Command Center’s data analytics deliver personalization and built-in risk management to give everyone the best of both worlds. You can also filter that data by advisor, how long a client has been on board your firm, Risk Number, and more. 

Related: A Client Experience that Builds Loyalty—and Referrals

Plus, you can use Command Center to track your benchmarks against similar-sized firms and compare AUM growth, giving you perspective on what’s working within your organization.

Scale Your Firm with the Full Power of Nitrogen

Command Center is just one important piece of the puzzle. The full Nitrogen platform is built to help firms win new assets, increase client satisfaction, and protect their business. 

Nitrogen’s solutions uncover growth opportunities through:

  • Client engagement
  • Risk tolerance
  • Personalized proposals
  • Portfolio analytics
  • Firm controls and oversight
  • And more

With our proprietary Risk Number Questionnaire, you can bring real, actionable insights to prospective clients before they even walk in your door. This lead-gen tool has been used over five million times and can reduce investor anxiety three times over.

Click here to watch the on-demand webinar, “Mastering the Client Journey: How to Maximize the Return on Your Tech”

Nitrogen Command Center’s firmwide controls can help wealth management firms of all sizes stay compliant, grow their business, and deliver a better client experience. With Nitrogen’s intuitive platform, your firm can find scalable success while meeting regulatory requirements. 

Ready to start? Click here to schedule a free demo and see how Nitrogen Command Center can streamline your firmwide controls and oversight processes.

 

Keep Clients Happy and Grow Your Business with These Game-Changing Tools

While the common perception of the wealth management industry might be associated with sleek offices and polished appearances, you’re likely aware that the industry’s true core lies in the countless, everyday conversations between advisors and the investors they serve. 

But each of those clients also carries different needs, challenges, and goals. As your book of business grows, it can become increasingly time-consuming to tailor your services for each client. In fact, 28% of advisors feel a lack of time with clients is “impacting their ability to deliver comprehensive guidance and communication.”

That’s where Nitrogen’s client engagement solutions become crucial to your firm’s processes. Read on to explore how Check-Ins, Stress Tests, and Scenarios can help save you time and elevate your client engagement along the way. 

Click here to watch the on-demand webinar “Content that Resonates: Maximize Client Engagement through Emotional Intelligence”

Give the People What They Want: Why Client Engagement is Key to Growth

A recent survey from Absolute Engagement found that “While 74% of clients emphasize the importance of confidence in reaching their financial goals, only 53% are confident that they will actually reach those goals.” Moreover, “43% of clients cited the greatest benefit of working with an advisor as gaining a clear vision for the life they wanted in retirement.”

When your firm consistently meets the needs of its clients by boosting confidence and keeping them informed of their progress, you can:

  • Stay on top of shifting client expectations. Client sentiment isn’t static – knowing when a certain client needs extra attention and care can proactively help them feel valued.
  • Keep clients happy and increase your retention rates. Strong relationships help reduce churn and ensure consistent revenue streams, which is increasingly valuable as we navigate the Generational Wealth Transfer.
  • Build your book of business through referrals. Happy clients are more likely to spread the word about your firm, and referrals remain the top reported method by far for acquiring leads!

To do that, it’s key to approach your client engagement with more than just portfolio performance in mind. With Nitrogen, you can keep a pulse on client satisfaction and engagement through behavioral psychology backed by real data. 

Related: Client Engagement Platform and CRMs: Why Advisors Need Both

Meet Nitrogen’s Client Engagement Solutions

Check-Ins

Did you know that nearly half of clients want more frequent communication from their advisors?

Stay connected with your clients through Nitrogen’s personalized Check-Ins, an automated behavioral coaching tool that collects data points on how your clients are feeling about the markets and their financial future. Nitrogen Check-Ins send you early warning signals when your clients need extra attention.

Related: Why and How to Automate Client Engagement

By answering just two simple questions, both you and your clients can see adaptive analytics about their current state of mind. From there, you can use Nitrogen’s provided templates and tools to send personalized messages, demonstrating your commitment to your clients and helping to keep your practice top-of-mind.

Stress Tests

We know that past performance can’t indicate future results – but that doesn’t stop clients from wondering if their portfolio is “normal,” or what will happen if the markets suddenly shift direction. When clients ask what would happen if the 2008 financial crisis made a repeat appearance in 2024, they’re looking to you for reassurance. 

With Stress Tests, you can run individual portfolios through historical events to illustrate those hypotheticals in a way clients understand. By proactively addressing concerns, you also empower clients to make informed decisions while managing their expectations.

Scenarios

Gain deeper insights into your clients’ financial well-being with Scenarios, allowing you to create customized scenarios based on individual client goals and risk tolerance. 

If Stress Tests answer the question of “what would happen,” Scenarios illustrate “why.” With Scenarios, you can combine up to five key factors (proposals, indexes, blended benchmarks, individual stocks, and funds) to visualize risk and reward for your clients.

By visualizing how different financial decisions might impact future outcomes, you can engage clients in a more meaningful and impactful way.

Unlock Sustainable Growth with Client Engagement

The Nitrogen Platform is designed to streamline your workflows, empower your growth strategy, and increase client satisfaction. From custom proposal tools and portfolio reporting functionalities to marketing automation and compliance support, Nitrogen equips you with everything you need to build a thriving practice and deliver exceptional client experiences.

Related: Merit Financial Upgrades Client Experience with the Nitrogen Growth Platform

And with our proprietary Risk Number® and Lead Generation Questionnaire, you can consistently capture attention and gain actionable insights to boost client engagement and retention. Free up valuable time, strengthen client relationships, and achieve sustainable growth with Nitrogen’s suite of engagement tools, including Check-ins, Stress Tests, and Scenarios.

Ready to unlock the power of client engagement and transform your practice? Schedule a free demo of Nitrogen today and experience the difference for yourself.

Nitrogen’s 2024 Growth Survey: 5 Key Trends Shaping Wealth Management

Each year, the Nitrogen Growth Survey explores not only how well advisors are growing their businesses, but also what methods and technology are working, how they’re measuring the effectiveness of growth efforts, and what pain points they are encountering along the way. 

With these key findings, firms can better understand overall trends in the industry and craft intentional strategies based on their particular growth goals.

Click Here to Download the Full 2024 Nitrogen Growth Survey


The 2024 Nitrogen Growth Survey: Defining Advisor Goals, Useful Technology, and Excellent Client Experiences

As the financial industry continues to evolve, so does the Nitrogen Growth Survey, zeroing in on questions, insights, and motivations shaping firms in the here and now. 

In 2024, a total of 1,333 participants answered a total of 64 questions across five main categories:

  • Demographics, which revealed trends across the wealth management industry, including firms, advisors, and clients
  • Business growth, which explored how financial professionals are prioritizing their firm’s growth goals and how they plan to achieve that growth
  • Technology, which assessed what software firms are using most often and for what purposes, as well as how they’re measuring the effectiveness of that technology
  • Marketing, which centered on how firms are finding leads and the cost associated with such efforts
  • Client engagement, which focused on the intersection of client satisfaction, client engagement, and firm growth

Additionally, the 2024 survey included an in-depth analysis of compliance challenges and successes.

 

A Look Inside the 2024 Survey: 5 Key Findings to Know

1. Referrals are still king 

It’s not surprising that referrals are the number one method of gaining leads – research has been supporting that trend for years (see statistics reported by eMoney and InvestmentNews). But let’s take a closer look at that phenomenon:

Sixty percent of advisors identify referrals as their top-performing marketing avenue and 61% of advisors say most of their leads come from referrals. What do communication and engagement look like once those referrals become clients? One in ten advisors only communicate with current clients on an annual basis, and another 10% say they limit communications outside of regular meetings to sporadic instances or when clients call.

Moreover, only 9% of advisors are actually measuring client satisfaction through the use of surveys. These numbers indicate that while firms often find growth through referrals, they may lack the technology and processes required to keep a pulse on their current clients’ overall satisfaction. 

Related: Nitrogen’s Firmwide Solution Helps Generate Referrals and Secure New Business with 72% Advisor Adoption Across Firm


2. Advisors often prioritize new clients over existing clients

This year’s Growth Survey found that 71% of firms have both the desire and capacity to grow their book of business. However, a focus on gaining new clients over retaining existing clients may be hindering potential referral-driven growth.

When asked what strategies they believe are most effective in growing AUM and revenue, advisors were more likely to say “increasing their book of clients” than “prioritizing client retention and uncovering held-away assets.”

Since we know that referrals are the number one method of gaining new business, these results may present an opportunity for some firms to pivot their growth methods by focusing on client engagement and satisfaction over marketing to new leads.

 

3. Many firms are still hesitant to embrace automation in client engagement

Ninety-one percent of advisors believe that the right technology is a game-changer for client satisfaction. Yet, in a surprising twist, nearly a quarter of firms haven’t ventured into automating client communication at all.

However, we also found that Nitrogen customers were more likely to embrace technology in the pursuit of client satisfaction: Our users tend to engage with their clients at least on a quarterly basis and are more likely to touch base with clients on a weekly basis than their non-Nitrogen counterparts. Using automated tools, like Nitrogen Check-Ins, can help streamline client communication and quickly detect early warning signs if a client needs a little care.

Related: Why and How to Automate Client Engagement

 

4. Certain technologies are ranked higher than others

When asked what pieces of technology they believe are most important for overall firm growth, advisors pointed to financial planning software, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and risk tolerance software.

As they look forward to their technology plans for 2024, most advisors are hoping their tech stacks can grow AUM, increase efficiency, and increase client satisfaction.

 

5. Most advisors aren’t using compliance technology on a daily basis

Overall, advisors don’t have positive feelings about compliance. The majority of our survey participants ranked regulatory obligations as the biggest threat to growth, both now and when looking ahead to the next five years.

But while firms are worried about regulation, they aren’t necessarily using technology to ease that burden. Only 17% of advisors are using compliance technology on a daily basis, uncovering a startling gap in the integration of technological solutions designed to streamline and enhance regulatory practices. 

The 2024 Nitrogen Growth Survey is full of new insights, trends, and technologies shaping the wealth management industry. From how firms are prioritizing growth efforts to what challenges advisors are facing in their technologies and beyond, our survey provides key information to financial professionals in every phase of their careers. The data found in our survey also serves to confirm that real advisor needs are at the center of Nitrogen’s continuous software innovation.

Related: 5 Compliance Process Improvements to Help Your RIA Scale

 

Download Nitrogen’s 2024 Growth Survey

The 2024 Nitrogen Growth Survey is packed with insights and statistics that reveal what factors are driving wealth management innovation, practices, and technology across the industry.

Click here to download your free copy of the 2024 Growth Survey and learn more. 

 

Can You Outsmart the Market? Predict Stocks and Win Prizes in Nitrogen’s Market Madness Competition

Here at Nitrogen, we like to work hard, play hard, and never shy away from a little friendly competition. That’s why we’re excited to announce the first annual Market Madness competition, a three-week game inspired by the electrifying spirit of March Madness. Read on to learn more about the Market Madness 2024 competition, including how to enter, what prizes are up for grabs, how winners are selected, and more. 

What is Market Madness 2024?

This three-week online competition is your chance to build brackets and predict which stocks will outperform the rest. Each week, you’ll choose from top-performing stocks, and be eligible for weekly prizes – which range from a flatscreen TV to tickets to an all-expenses paid trip to the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship in Glendale, Arizona.

Market Madness 2024 officially kicks off on March 11, 2024, and ends on March 29, 2024, but players can join at any time and still have a chance to win. Winners are announced at the end of each week, so stay engaged to test your luck!


What are the Prizes?

Nitrogen is proud to offer three weekly prizes in addition to one grand prize:

  • For Week 1, one winner will receive a 75-inch flat-screen TV
  • For Week 2, one winner will receive a new Apple iPad
  • For Week 3, one winner will receive Bose QuietComfort Headphones

The grand prize winner will take home a prize package valued at $3,100 and including:

Winners are chosen based on the performance of their selected stocks during each week. Whichever entrant picks the stocks that have the highest overall performance for that particular week will be the winner. The grand prize winner will be chosen based on overall stock performance across the entire competition period. 

To see which participants are taking the lead, you can check the Market Madness Top 10 Leaderboard, which displays the top-performing players as well as the top-performing stocks of that week.

 

How Do I Participate in Market Madness 2024?

If you’d like to try your hand at Market Madness, you can easily sign up with just your name and email address. Then, you’ll be prompted to choose which stocks in the lineup you believe will perform best each week. To be eligible for the prizes, you’ll need to submit your picks at the beginning of each week (at which time we will send out reminder emails).

You don’t have to be a Nitrogen customer to participate – all financial professionals, regardless of their affiliation with Nitrogen, are welcome to enter. Click here to sign up for Market Madness 2024.

 

What Else Do I Need to Know?

A few other things to keep in mind as we kick off the 2024 event:

  • While the Leaderboard only shows the top ten performing stocks and players, you can track the performance of your selections within Nitrogen. 
  • Stocks must be submitted at the beginning of each week of the competition.
  • Once you enter your stock selections for the week, you cannot make any changes until the following week. 

Want a closer look at the fine print? Find the complete official rules here.

Market Madness is a chance to connect with a community of like-minded financial enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your investment journey, Market Madness provides a fun and engaging platform to test your skills and win prizes.

 

Join in on the Market Madness 

Ready to make your predictions? Sign up for Market Madness today to track stock performances and enter for a chance to win two tickets to the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship game on April 8, 2024.

 

Meet Nitrogen

Nitrogen offers a suite of wealth management solutions that can help your firm with client acquisition, portfolio analysis, risk management, client communication, and more. At the center of our software is our proprietary Risk Number® technology, which quantifies each individual’s unique risk tolerance through a simple but powerful calculation. Click here and learn more.

How Nitrogen’s Lead Gen Tools Save Time, Build Connections, and Fuel Growth

Growth isn’t easy – there’s a reason the phrase “growing pains” exists, and advisory firms are no exception. 

From cold calling to pay-for-lead services, it’s easy to sink money and time into lead generation (“lead gen”) initiatives and experience frustration when the needle fails to move. You may even wonder if lead gen activities outside referrals are worth the trouble.

But thanks to the 2023 Nitrogen Growth Survey, we know that overall, lead generation efforts aren’t in vain. In fact, hyper-growth firms are over twice as likely to rank lead generation as most important to firm growth over their slow-growth counterparts, signaling an important connection between the two.

The key isn’t to stop doing lead gen; it’s to find the right tools and technology to streamline your lead generation processes. With Nitrogen’s advanced lead gen technology and customizable questionnaire, you can embrace lead gen that fuels firm-wide growth (no cold calls necessary).

 

Infuse Your Marketing Strategy with Nitrogen’s Risk Number®

At Nitrogen, we’ve combined both hyper-personalization and standardized processes to create lead-gen experiences that deliver immediate value to both your firm and your clients. 

It all starts with the Lead Generation Questionnaire, an interactive tool you can easily embed into your website, social media posts, or emails to engage audience members. Instead of a static e-brochure, your website visitors can answer just a few questions to discover their personal risk tolerance through a simple, easy-to-understand Risk Number

After an individual completes the questionnaire, you’ll receive an email with key information like their name, assets, risk information, contact information, and more. 

Related: Firm Grows AUM by $210M with Nitrogen at the Center of Prospecting & Client Engagement

Your firm can drive traffic around the clock, beginning each lead gen journey with creative campaigns centered around the powerful question: What’s your Risk Number?

 

Grow Faster with Nitrogen Lead Gen: 3 Key Benefits

1. Deliver a consistent message across the client journey 

The Risk Number doesn’t go away after that initial questionnaire. Rather, it’s an ongoing tool you can use to monitor client progress and keep them informed in a way they truly “get.”

That aspect of our lead gen approach becomes extremely important in closing the communication gap between you and your prospects and clients. Investopedia reports that “77% of investors who are clear on their financial goals experience lower stress.” 

However, they also have a different experience and perspective than you. That same article notes that while “87% of financial planners said they had asked about the client’s plans to care for the client’s loved ones, only 23% of investors remembered them raising the issue.”

When you find a simple way to turn complex plans into digestible conversations – not only for a single meeting, but throughout the entire client journey – you can eliminate confusion and stay on the same page.

 

2. Focus the conversation around client needs

Samantha Russell of FMG Suite recently said, “This new generation does not want a financial advisor. They want a life coach with a side of financial planning and investment advice.” She goes on to note that 85% of millennials want their financial advice with a side of behavioral coaching.

By prioritizing client needs via their risk information, you can effectively convey empathy and care for their unique situation from that initial touchpoint.

 

3. Take back your time 

SmartAsset estimates that the average advisor may be spending two to three hours each day on prospecting. As you likely know, that time could be better spent on client engagement, exploring new growth opportunities, or furthering your investment skills and knowledge.

With our plug-and-play lead generation tools, you can streamline those processes and skip right to the important conversations.


Find Ready-made Resources in the Advisor Marketing Kit

With Nitrogen, your prospecting begins with the Risk Number – but it doesn’t end there. 

As your leads progress along their journey with your firm and evolve into clients, you’ll have a customizable suite of tools to keep them engaged.

Within the Advisor Marketing Kit, you’ll find:

  • Client-facing videos
  • Presentation templates
  • Brochures 
  • Press releases 
  • Social media image generators
  • Best-practice guides
  • Printer-friendly deliverables
  • And more

*Please Note: The Advisor Marketing Kit is currently available only to Nitrogen Elite account members.

Each of the above resources can be customized with your firm’s branding and are already optimized for quick compliance approval. With pre-built templates that can be branded to your organization in just seconds, the Advisor Marketing Kit adds immediate value you start using on day one. 

Related: Explore our free Resources Library of articles, white papers, guides, templates, and more

If traditional lead gen processes have your firm feeling those growing pains, Nitrogen’s Risk Number, Lead Generation Questionnaire, and Advisor Marketing Kit can automate your prospecting and build your book of clients.

10 Podcasts to Inspire, Educate, and Motivate Advisors in 2024

You’ve probably enjoyed listening to podcasts before, but did you know that the genre of advisor-focused podcasts is ever-growing? Some of the biggest names in finance are now sharing their personal stories, challenges, growth trajectories, and actionable tips – and it’s all available for you to listen to and enjoy right from your device. 

But how do you know which shows are worth your time? As of February 2024, there are over three million podcasts to choose from! With so many options available today, we thought it’d be helpful to share the shows we think advisors at any stage of business should know about.

In no particular order, here are the top 10 advisor podcasts to help you feel inspired, empowered, and excited to grow.

 

10 Podcasts to Inspire, Educate, and Motivate Advisors in 2024

 

1. Disruption Blueprint Podcast by RFG Advisory

Geared specifically toward independent financial advisors, the “Disruption Blueprint Podcast” delivers, just as it sounds, the blueprint for building a disruptive and innovative advisory practice. Hosted by RFG Chairman and CEO Bobby White, President Shannon Spotswood, and CIO Rick Wedell, each episode features guest advisors and leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to being industry disruptors. Guest hosts share the hard lessons they’ve learned along the way and actionable tips for conquering industry challenges.

 

2. Money Chronicles by Three Crowns Marketing

If you are inspired by hearing the personal journeys of others in the world of finance, “Money Chronicles” is the perfect podcast for you. Every episode features a guest who opens up about their childhood, philosophies on money while growing up, and how their personal history impacted their career choices today. Enjoy this deep dive into the making of some of your favorite people in wealth management with hosts Torie Happe of Holistiplan and Johnny Sandquist of Three Crowns Marketing.

 

3. Standard Deviations by Dr. Daniel Crosby

The intersection of psychology and money is a fascinating place to be, and it’s no wonder Dr. Daniel Crosby’s “Standard Deviation” is an ultra-popular choice for financial professionals. As a New York Times bestselling author, you may be familiar with Dr. Crosby’s work including Personal Benchmark: Integrating Behavioral Finance and Investment Management and The Behavioral Investor. In this podcast, Dr. Crosby explores “money, mind and meaning, all through a psychological lens.” A special guest joins him each episode to provide three actionable takeaways based on the lessons discussed in the episode, so listeners can walk away putting their learnings into action.

 

4. Financial Advisor Success Podcast by Michael Kitces

With nearly 400 podcast episodes under his belt and an incredibly popular blog (Nerd’s Eye View) enjoyed by thousands of advisors, Michael Kitces is no stranger to creating high-quality, consumable content that educates and inspires readers (or listeners). If you haven’t had a chance to experience Kitces’ unique and highly insightful take on the financial services industry, the “Financial Advisor Success Podcast” should certainly be on your list. Within these episodes, Kitces hosts some of the most successful advisors and consultants in the industry and asks them to share their success stories and insights with listeners.

 

5. goRIA by Chuck Failla (InvestmentNews)

Chuck Failla of InvestmentNews brings a smart, reliable perspective to his “goRIA” podcast, as he encourages and helps advisors who are considering moving to the RIA space. This podcast is just one piece of the larger goRIA content channel, which includes webcasts, livestream discussions with industry experts, research findings, workshops, and more. The goRIA podcast is a great channel  to accesss unbiased research and reporting as newly independent advisors navigate the RIA space (including available platforms, technology, and tools geared toward breakaway advisors).

 

6. Top Advisor Marketing Podcast by Proudmouth

Created by one of the industry’s most established podcast producers and influence accelerators, Proudmouth’s “Top Advisor Marketing Podcast” explores all things marketing. From best practices to new marketing ideas and innovations, host Matt Halloran invites guests every episode to share their biggest marketing tips and success stories. With more than 450 episodes available, the team at Proudmouth continues to produce can’t-miss podcast episodes for advisors looking to grow organically (without spending more time and effort on sales).

 

7. RIA+ by Mark Bruno (Emigrant Partners)

Hosted by prominent industry speaker and Emigrant Partners’ Managing Director Mark Bruno, “RIA+” is a podcast dedicated to the growth-oriented challenges of leaders at large: enterprise RIA firms. In each episode, Bruno and his guests share insights on how some of the industry’s most successful firms are scaling effectively and achieving their growth goals while maintaining a positive company culture.

 

8. Behavior Gap Radio by Carl Richards

Another psychology-based podcast, “Behavior Gap Radio” was created by Carl Richards, who you may know from his Sketch Guy columns in the New York Times. Carl’s sketches are known across the industry for their ability to translate complex financial terms or concepts into easy-to-understand illustrations. On his podcast, Richards sets out to close “the gap between what is important and how we use our time, money, energy, and attention.”

 

9. Invest Like the Best with Patrick O’Shaughnessy (Colossus)

In “Invest Like the Best,” host Patrick O’Shaughnessy invites prominent investors and business leaders to join him in casual conversation. Together, O’Shaughnessy and his guests talk about investing methods, share personal stories, and offer boardroom and stock market insights. If you’re interested in business strategy or entrepreneurship, give the Invest Like the Best podcast a listen.

 

10. The Compound and Friends by Joshua Brown (Ritholtz Wealth Management)

The Compound and Friends” podcast is “your new favorite business and investing podcast.” Hosted by Downtown Josh Brown, Michael Batnick, and friends, the team from Ritholtz Wealth Management focuses on the latest stories and trends of the week. If you’re looking to stay up-to-date on what’s going on right now in the industry, give it a listen – new episodes drop every Friday.

 

Looking to Accelerate Your Growth Goals?

Within these podcasts, you’ll find a treasure trove of actionable advice, inspiring stories, and educational insights meant to help you grow and operate a highly successful advisory firm. As you continue on your journey to scaling effectively and delivering an optimal client experience, we recommend checking out how incorporating the right tech tools, like Nitrogen, can help you achieve your growth goals.

Book a demo now to see Nitrogen in action.

Essential Tools for Remote-First Financial Advisors

In recent years, the wealth management industry has shifted towards a remote-first approach, changing how advisory firms operate and interact with investors. Clients increasingly anticipate the convenience of virtual meetings and digital-first communications. According to a report by the  London Stock Exchange, 81% of investors now prefer making a decision or following through on a recommendation after sourcing information digitally, compared to traditional communication channels. For the financial advisor, leveraging the right tools has become critical in this rapidly changing industry, and adopting remote-friendly tools is the key to successfully engaging and building trust with your clients.

Investing in remote-first tools doesn’t have to be a daunting thought. As you shift with the industry technology, you allow your firm to expand your assets beyond borders. At Nitrogen, adopting the remote-first model has allowed us to assemble a team of exceptional individuals worldwide, enabling us to offer innovative solutions that break the ceiling of what financial advisors and firms can achieve.

 

Client Engagement and Communication Tools

Virtual Meeting Solutions:
When it comes to virtual meetings, financial advisors need tools that prioritize security for sensitive financial discussions. The best solutions offer features like end-to-end encryption, which keeps conversations private, and user access controls, allowing only invited participants to join. It’s important that these platforms comply with industry standards to protect investor data. When considering a virtual meeting platform, be sure to identify how the security features match up with the needs of your firm and your clients to ensure that every virtual meeting is both private and secure.

Virtual Meeting Platforms We Recommend: 


Secure Messaging Apps:

Secure messaging apps are crucial for financial advisors to communicate privately with clients. These apps use encryption, meaning only the sender and receiver can read the messages. This keeps investment information safe and ensures conversations comply with financial regulations. It’s important to choose an app that is known for strong security and meets industry rules. This way, advisors can keep client communications confidential and within legal standards, maintaining trust and integrity in their services.

Secure Messaging Apps We Recommend: 


Client Portal Solutions:

Keeping financial advisors and their clients connected is easier with client portal solutions. These platforms let clients check their portfolios anytime, share documents securely, and talk directly with their advisors. This real-time access and communication make it easier for clients to stay informed and involved in their financial planning. When choosing a portal, look for one that’s easy to use, keeps data safe, and fits with what your clients need. 

Client Portal Solutions We Recommend: 

 

Portfolio Management and Analysis Tools

Comprehensive Portfolio Management Software:
When managing investments remotely, comprehensive portfolio management software is essential. Key features advisors should look for include investment tracking, detailed analysis capabilities, and reliable reporting tools. Good software should allow you to monitor investment performance in real time, provide in-depth insights to make informed decisions, and generate clear client reports. Selecting software that offers these solutions can enhance your firm’s strategy and communication with clients, ensuring efficient portfolio management and client trust. 

Portfolio Management Software We Recommend: 


Market Analysis and Sentiment Tools:

Advanced tools that offer real-time market data, sentiment analysis, and predictive analytics are transforming the way investment strategies are formed. These tools provide a deep dive into market trends, investor sentiments, and future market predictions. Features like “Check-ins” allow for a pulse on current market moods, helping to gauge investor confidence and potential market movements. With access to this level of analysis, advisors can share more informed investment options, tailoring strategies to capitalize on market opportunities or avoid potential risks. Incorporating these tools into your firm’s process can significantly enhance the accuracy and effectiveness of your strategy, keeping you ahead in a fast-paced market environment.

The Market Analysis and Sentiment Tool We Recommend:


Risk Assessment and Compliance Software:

For remote advisors managing diverse portfolios, tools that automate risk evaluation and compliance are essential. These tools streamline the process of assessing investment risks and ensuring that all decisions comply with industry regulations and client risk comfort. By automating these tasks, advisors can quickly identify potential risks and adjust strategies accordingly, all while staying within legal boundaries. This not only saves time but also enhances the accuracy of risk assessment and compliance efforts. Having access to such tools is crucial for maintaining the trust of clients and the integrity of the advisory service, ensuring that advisors can focus on delivering the best investment outcomes for their clients.

The Risk Assessment and Compliance Software We Recommend: 

 

Productivity and Collaboration Tools

Project Management Software:
In the financial advisory industry, project management software is a critical tool for remote teams. It not only organizes tasks but also fosters collaboration among team members, tracking the progress of projects in real time. This ensures seamless communication and coordination, despite advisors working in different locations. By keeping all team members on the same page, project management software enables productivity, attention to detail, and alignment on advisor, firm, and client goals.

Project Management Software We Recommend:


Cloud Storage and Document Management:
Securely handling documents and client data online is a top priority for all firms and clients. Cloud storage and document management solutions allow financial advisors to access client information and important documents from anywhere, anytime, making remote work more efficient. They offer strong security measures to protect sensitive data and ensure only authorized personnel can access it. With features for organizing files, tracking changes, and collaborating on documents, these tools streamline workflow, improve productivity, and aid in security compliance.

Cloud Storage and Document Management Solutions We Recommend: 


Time Management and Scheduling Apps:
Streamlining schedules, automating appointment bookings, and managing time effectively are all made easier with time management and scheduling apps. By automating the scheduling process, these apps help avoid conflicts such as double bookings and ensure no meeting is overlooked. They offer a clear view of an advisor’s schedule, whether daily, weekly, or monthly, aiding in task prioritization and workload management. Adopting these apps can greatly enhance the day-to-day operations of financial advisors who are focused on boosting productivity and delivering top-notch client service.

Time Management and Scheduling Apps We Recommend: 

 

Continuing Education and Professional Development

Online Learning Platforms and Resources:
In today’s digital age, financial advisors have access to many flexible and easily accessible resources to advance their knowledge and skills. Many of these digital platforms offer courses on various topics, including financial regulations, market trends, and professional certifications. This accessibility to continuous education is vital for advisors who need to stay updated with the ever-evolving financial industry. By pursuing ongoing education, advisors can secure and renew professional certifications, remain competent and competitive, and offer the best service to their clients. 

Online Learning Platforms, Resources, and Subscriptions We Recommend: 


Virtual Conferences and Networking Events:

Along with the shift to remote-first technology came an outpouring of virtual events. Now, financial advisors have endless opportunities to connect with industry peers, exchange ideas, and expand their professional networks without leaving their home or office. These online events mimic the experience of in-person conferences, providing access to keynotes, panel discussions, and networking opportunities. Each year, Nitrogen holds the Fearless Investing Summit, offering a virtual pass that gives access to all the main stage keynotes. Engaging in virtual events like the Fearless Investing Summit is an effective way for advisors to stay connected and informed, even when attending in person isn’t possible.

Virtual Conferences and Networking Events We Recommend: 


The shift towards remote-first operations has made technology indispensable for financial advisors aiming to provide top-notch service to their investors. Essential tools for secure communication, efficient portfolio management, and reliable cybersecurity are no longer optional but necessary to stay competitive and compliant. These tools allow advisors to stay updated on market trends and regulations while securing client interactions and data, regardless of the advisor’s location.

Nitrogen Wealth helps financial advisors match their clients with the right investments, grow their managing assets, and stay compliant. We invented the Risk Number®, which utilizes advanced behavioral psychology to empower advisors and firms to transform fearful investors who make bad decisions into fearless investors who make great decisions.

Book a Demo