Nitrogen trading transformed an advisor’s 14-click process into a 3-click workflow, scaling profit margins and revenue
Advisor Nathan Harro personalizes service while saving time, offering lower fees and more highly customized portfolios, while maintaining profitability.Download PDF
When Nathan Harro’s professional career began, he wasn’t thinking about financial advice at all. Far from it, in fact. Nathan started out as a software developer—a position he enjoyed until the financial crisis of 2008 caused an abrupt shift in his trajectory.
As he looked for a new industry to join, Nathan was approached by several financial firms and eventually chose to join Northwestern Mutual in July 2009. As opposed to some of the other firms who recruited him that only wanted him for cold calling, Nathan felt a natural fit with Northwestern Mutual—and so his career began.
Though it might not be apparent at first, his earlier experience in software development served him well as an advisor.
“I wasn’t necessarily a strong coder, but I excelled at managing projects and communication,” Nathan said. “I could take what someone wanted, turn it into a set of requirements, design the platform, and then pass it off to the rest of my team to code. The financial planning method follows a very similar process.”
After acquiring his CFP, Nathan began to plan for the next step in his career, and in September 2018 he joined United Planners, an independent broker-dealer, and founded Centennial Wealth Group.
It was at that time, as he puts it, that “the world opened up to me.”
Joining United Planners gave Nathan an “open architecture” environment that meant he could finally choose his own technology and work with clients in exactly the way he had always wanted.
In tandem with this newfound freedom, Nathan knew he wanted to update the risk tolerance process he’d been using from his previous employers.
“In my previous positions, advisors were bound to use whatever number the client’s answers came out to on their questionnaire. We had no ability to override or help them understand what that number meant for their portfolio, even if it made them less likely to reach their goals,” he said.
Nathan first discovered Nitrogen at the 2018 eMoney Summit, but it was after seeing the Retirement Map during a second encounter with the risk platform that he decided it was the missing piece in his technology stack.
“The Risk Number is an incredibly intuitive way for me and my clients to know we are speaking the same language when discussing the emotional side of risk tolerance,” Nathan said.
Leveraging trading automation
In addition to transforming Nathan’s conversations about risk with his clients, Nitrogen has also transformed his trading process—to the tune of taking what was once a 14-click process with his previous trading system down to 3-click workflow.
“All of my accounts are on Nitrogen Trading now and I feel like it’s all I’ll ever need for managing qualified accounts,” he said. “I customize each account and allocation, but it’s set up so that I have customization at scale.”
“When an account needs to be rebalanced, Nitrogen has automated that whole approval process into one click. The time saved is tremendous.”
An engine for growth
As his adoption of Nitrogen grew, Nathan realized he could use it for even more than trading and risk assessments—he could build an entirely new service model on top of all the solutions available to him.
Nathan had been exploring ways to create a scalable solution for servicing mass affluent investors, and he discovered that Nitrogen gave him everything he needed to build the fully automated service he wanted to deliver. “With Nitrogen, I can get a client’s Risk Number, tap into the model marketplace to create a portfolio based on that Risk Number, deliver a custom IPS, have the client digitally sign that IPS, use Nitrogen Trading to automate their investment process, and then automate my ongoing communications with Nitrogen Check-ins.”
Once a year, Nathan and his automated advice clients can then catch up to make adjustments. He sees his new service model as a way to engage and nurture less affluent clients and build relationships until they reach a point where they’re ready for a complete wealth management engagement.
“At the operating cost that I would have had to charge to make my automated advice model work with other providers, I was looking at charging a minimum of 50 basis points. But with Nitrogen serving as the foundation for every step in the process, I can run the program at essentially no cost to my business, allowing me to offer it to clients at a low fee and still maintain profitability.”
“With Nitrogen supporting me, my profit margins and revenue can both scale predictably.”
See how your advisory firm can offer personalized advice at scale.
Schedule your tour now.