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Legg Mason Buys Into Online Advice

Legg Mason announced Thursday that it would acquire 82 percent of Financial Guard, an online financial advice company, for an undisclosed amount.

The Baltimore-based asset management firm plans to use Financial Guard in its alternative distribution strategies business. Legg Mason believes Financial Guard will help financial institutions give clients more choice in terms of investment capability, product and distribution.

The purchase is also intended to help Legg Mason’s distribution partners comply with the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule. Legg Masons intends to offer Financial Guard to independent broker/dealers and regional brokerage firms as a cost-effective way of handling small IRA accounts.

Financial Guard uses an aggregation tool to give a advisors a holistic view of their clients’ finances, and uses an algorithm to recommend solutions that help meet financial goals. The new partnership with Legg Mason expands Financial Guard’s access to financial institutions and their data. Legg Mason will also add to Financial Guard’s current capabilities with investment products from its nine independent investment managers.

In a statement, Legg Mason said Financial Guard is different from other digital advice firms in that it offers portfolio analysis and advice for both passive and active funds.

“Technology innovation is redefining consumer expectations and financial firms need a comprehensive, accessible, secure technology solution to serve their clients in this dynamic environment,” said Terence Johnson, Legg Mason’s global head of distribution. “Together, [Financial Guard and Legg Mason] are well-position to help partner firms and their advisors by providing a simple and scalable platform coupled with compelling investment offerings.”


TAGS: Technology
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