Advisor Andre LaPlante says, “Nitrogen trading is 10x more efficient than anything else available.”
This avid Nitrogen Trading user credits the intuitive software for helping him be the best advisor he can be – all while giving him time back to enjoy his personal life.Download PDF
The leap to independence
For Andre LaPlante, co-founder of Portsmouth, NH-based Capital Design Private Wealth, the path he took to running an independent advisory firm wasn’t always easy. While working at a large captive broker-dealer with his now co-founder, the limitations and archaic processes he dealt with were impacting the way he serviced his clients.
“It was important to us that we had full discretion over our clients’ accounts, and as we looked into options, we decided that the best thing for our clients and ourselves was to go the independent route and start a firm from scratch – so that’s what we did,” said Andre.
Andre and his partner went to the drawing board and knew immediately that in order to serve their clients how they wanted to, they’d have to be more efficient with their time. Gone were the days of archaic, loosely-defined processes and excess paperwork – they needed to build a tech stack that would elevate the client experience while eliminating advisor burnout so they could continue to grow.
“We were looking for a simple tech stack; something planning-forward and streamlined,” said Andre.
It was during a First Trust event that Andre was reminded of Nitrogen. He’d heard about it before from peers in the industry, but while watching a live demo, something totally clicked.
“Of course, I had heard all about Nitrogen; it seemed like every advisor I knew was using it. It wasn’t until I saw someone go through the demo that I realized it was the missing puzzle piece for our practice. I was sold.”
“Using Nitrogen to engage with clients was simple and intuitive,” said Andre. After a short amount of time incorporating Nitrogen into the firm’s day-to-day processes, he decided to give Nitrogen Trading a go. He had already elevated his clients’ experience – now it was time to elevate his experience as an advisor.
Changing the game with trading automation
Before using Nitrogen Trading, the trading processes in place at past firms were bulky and inconsistent, said Andre. “Between multiple advisors across many offices, there was no scalability – it was insane.”
Capital Design Private Wealth is in the 74% of Nitrogen firms who don’t outsource trading. We’ve found that prior to implementing Nitrogen Trading, advisors spend 14 hours per year, per client, doing manual, operational work managing accounts. And like many others, Andre tried cutting down time by using a rebalancing software – but that, he said, was counter-intuitive and even more complex.
Today, Andre and his partner use Nitrogen Trading to manage most of his clients’ total assets (absent only some old, non-qualified accounts). This enables him to set a target in sync with each client’s Risk Number®, quickly make decisions within the Trading Dashboard, and effortlessly execute the trades – all with total visibility of his clients’ assets.
“I’m not going to pretend to be an expert in the mechanics of trading. I use Nitrogen Trading so I can add more value as a financial planner. Hands down, Nitrogen Trading is 10x more efficient than anything else available.”
A fiduciary experience
Using Nitrogen Trading, Andre says, helps him stay in the “relationship business” and focus his value-add on behavioral management. “The fact that we can now marry our value as behavioral finance experts with our capability for managing money is huge. The resulting trust from clients is irreplaceable,” said Andre.
“Our meetings don’t focus on performance anymore — our clients don’t even ask. I haven’t had a single performance conversation in six months, but what I do talk to my clients about is their Risk Number and 95% Historical Range™. Even if I reach out to remind them we’re on track, they pick up the phone and say, ‘Why are you calling me, is something wrong?’ That’s a level of trust we all strive for with our clients.”
Trust and transparency with clients are paramount, especially for compliance documentation – which is why Andre is particularly fond of how easy Nitrogen Trading makes his job as Chief Compliance Officer. Andre leverages Nitrogen Trading’s block trading to pool orders for the same security from multiple accounts. This enables him to execute them at an average share price to keep things fair across all of his clients’ accounts — nobody’s price is better or worse than anyone else’s.
“From a regulator standpoint, Nitrogen Trading documents the entire process. There are no holes. What would a regulator even have to ask us about? It makes me feel good as the CCO.”
Prospecting made easy
Another area of business that Andre has streamlined is client prospecting.
“I love how easy the risk questionnaire is for prospects to understand. Especially while working with a married couple, I’m able to identify what risk means to them and there’s a huge added value,” said Andre.
“It’s so easy – once the account hits the custodian, especially with no commissions, there’s no hesitation. We trade the account and we’re good to go. My clients just get it.”
Happy advisor, happy clients
As someone with so many titles attached to his name, one would think Andre has very little free time to enjoy what he loves – but it’s quite the opposite.
Andre said, “My goal when deciding to start a firm was to orient my business around seasonality. I’ve always wanted to concentrate my client reviews in certain parts of the year to free myself up and enjoy the skiing season. You guys have done that for me!”
Now Andre can hit the slopes with his family and know that his clients are resting easy when it comes to their investments. “Let’s face it, asset management will be free before we know it. But the trust we have with our clients, and the ability to stop them from making emotional decisions, can never be subsidized.”
“Now using Nitrogen Trading, I’m pinching myself because of how efficient I am. Some days, I wonder why I even need to come into the office!”