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3 Competitive Advantages of Integrating APIs with Your Firm’s Home-Grown Technology

Imagine this scenario:

Your firm values custom-built technology – so much so that you’ve poured years (and several tens of thousands of dollars) into developing a proprietary system that fits your advisor and client needs like a glove. But client expectations are also quickly growing, from instant access to information to 24/7 communication with their advisor, real-time portfolio monitoring, and more. 

A dilemma presents itself: You can choose to push your home-grown technology to the side in favor of new, off-the-shelf solutions, or put even more resources into modernizing what you have to stay up-to-date. 

Sound familiar? If your firm is facing the “buy it or build it” dilemma, it can feel like there’s only two paths forward. However, there is a third option – which utilizes third-party APIs integrated with your tech for a fast, cost-effective solution. 

Related: How Technology Can Increase an Advisor’s Valuation

What If You Could Build and Buy? The Case for an API-Integrated Tech Stack

Quick Refresh: What’s an API?
An Application Programming Interface (API) acts as a “messenger” between different software applications. It allows them to communicate and exchange data securely, and enables one application to request specific functions or information from another application. For wealth management firms, APIs can be used to securely integrate features from various fintech companies into their existing technology platform. 

There are a few reasons why an API-integrated solution often outweighs the benefits of either buying or building your technology – each of which center around the individuals who actually need the tech in the first place. 

  • Think of your advisors, who crave efficiency: Juggling multiple, siloed applications with disparate logins and interfaces can be both time-consuming and frustrating. And while leading fintech companies are continuously developing tools for portfolio analysis, client communication, and a whole host of other functionalities, it can be overwhelming to constantly learn how to use those new tools. 

And keeping your advisors tech-happy is key to retention, too. NASDAQ found that 51% of financial advisors are thinking of leaving their current firm for an alternative with better technology. Moreover, “57% of advisors say the lack of integration between their core applications is the most significant pain point with technology.”

  • And your clients have raised the bar, too: An eMoney survey reports that “71 percent of Millennials – and 57 percent of all respondents – would prefer to do most of their financial business at one institution that can bring together the specialists and services they need.” The more cohesive experience you can offer, the better. 

A sustainable, competitive advantage exists when a firm leverages APIs to integrate best-in-class functionalities developed by leading fintech companies into already existing systems. Portfolio analysis tools, risk management software, and client communication platforms are just a few examples of functionalities that can be seamlessly integrated through APIs.

Related: Develop an Effective Client Communication Strategy

3 Benefits of Leveraging APIs in Your Home-Grown Tech

  1. Unlock Hyper-Customization with a Trusted Technology Partner

Your firm can leverage APIs to utilize applications that complement existing workflows, advisor needs, and client demographics. You pick the API and decide where it belongs, working with your partner of choice to get it just right. 

Related: 6 Financial Advisor Tools You Need to Level Up Your Firm

  1. Enjoy Faster Implementation 

Did you know that developing a fintech app takes an estimated 5.5 to 11 months from the initial discovery period to the launch phase (and that’s assuming there are no major delays or issues involved)? Building new functionalities into your system seems doable, but it can also put you months or even years behind other firms.

With an API partnership, you don’t have to wait for your developers to create DIY software – it’s already available for rollout to your team. 

For example, Nitrogen’s various APIs (including our Risk Tolerance Questionnaire) can be integrated into your home-grown systems while matching your existing brand image and messaging. The result? You get to go to market faster. 

  1. Preserve Legacy Investments

You’ve spent valuable time and money developing your technology, and your growing team is familiar and comfortable with that system. Rather than throwing entirely new processes to your advisors and clients, you can retain those legacy systems by giving them a little boost. 

Ultimately, an API integration allows you to leverage those past investments while still creating a more robust platform.

Wondering if you should build or buy? Consider an API integration – By combining the strengths of existing systems with the power of best-in-class APIs, your firm can deliver exceptional tech experiences for both your advisors and their clients.


Meet Nitrogen’s Proprietary APIs – And Then Make Them Your Own

Nitrogen currently offers six different APIs to fit your needs, including the Risk Number®, GPA®, Risk Tolerance Questionnaire, Retirement Maps, Get Client, and Models and Portfolios. Each of these tools can be seamlessly layered into your firm’s systems to retain your customization while adding functionality. 

Want to see Nitrogen’s APIs in action? Click here to learn more or get in touch to schedule a demo of our API tooling and systems. 


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