In the days before the dot-com crash of 2001, there was a LOT of free stuff.  So much so that folks began to describe the phenomenon as “free elephants.”

Sure, it was nice to have the technology, or whatever else it was that was being given away…but it begged the question” “Did you really need it?”

Hence the analogy of a free elephant.  Sure it is free, but what do you need an elephant for?

The comparison to the hybrid advisor platforms is apt.  All of them have focused on back-office, and to some extent, middle office functionality.  None are focused on THE crucial variable: Client Acquisition.

There are a lot of tools being given away, but even if you had them, would they work?

The data coming back from the advisor community, and their providers is “no”.

I suspect in the interim there will be a lot of picks and shovels sold to advisors.  This is appropriate as there is an informational arbitrage to be exploited…advisors simply do not know any better.

For them right now, tragically, the FREE elephant is looking quite good.