Portland, Ore.-based tru Independence has added more than $1 billion in client assets to its growing platform of registered investment advisors in 2022, with the launch of a new partner firm this month.
Invenio Wealth Partners, a Coral Gables-Fla.-based RIA with $250 million in client assets, also represents tru’s second partnership in Florida and expands the platform’s presence in the Southeast.
Invenio was founded by President and CEO Joe Fernandez, who left Fieldpoint Private earlier this year to start his own practice. Prior to Fieldpoint, Fernandez spent 10 months as interim president and CEO at The Miami Foundation following more than 23 years with BNY Mellon Wealth Management.
The Invenio leadership team includes Chief Investment Officer Christina Hudson and Managing Director Johanna Arbelaez-Pérez, both of whom also came from Fieldpoint by way of BNY Mellon, and Chief Compliance Officer Stacy Sizemore, who has a background at Smith Barney and Citigroup.
The new firm is focused on offering holistic wealth management services, including personalized solutions around succession, education funding, estate and trust planning and executive financial services to clients at all income levels.
“tru’s comprehensive tech stack, dedicated IT team and in-house compliance solution represented huge value-adds for our team,” said Fernandez. “Our partnership with tru will allow us to maintain our independence while enjoying the backing of a $9 billion platform and its network of elite advisors.”
Invenio is among 28 firms that have chosen to launch their own fully independent practices on the platform, while three have opted to join on a 1099 basis and none have elected full W-2 employment—but all options are on the table at tru.
“Our model is set up to allow the advisor to choose how they want to go independent,” said tru President and COO Amit Dogra, who ran practice management for both Hightower Advisors and Sanctuary Wealth “in previous lives.”
“If you think about it, it's the most important decision the advisor makes,” he said, explaining that the firm's model makes it easy to reconsider and change the nature of the partnership with minimal disruption.
Fernandez cited tru’s “robust technology infrastructure” as a primary attraction, but Dogra said that infrastructure will be evolving over the coming months and years as the platform works with existing technology partners to create a fully integrated tech experience.
While many advisors come to tru from the wirehouse sector looking to build “best-in-breed” tech stacks, Dogra said he has found piecemeal solutions are ultimately less attractive to independent advisors than a fully integrated system accessible from a single sign-on screen.
Dogra said tru has shown the new technology to existing and incoming advisors and, given the option, “We have yet to have an advisor go for the best-in-breed, they’re much more on the embedded technology side and they like the new fintech that we’ve developed.”
While the majority of tru's partner firms have joined the platform from the wirehouse sector, Dogra said that he is seeing more entrepreneurs coming from independent broker/dealers.
"We've seen that to be a growing trend and a huge pipeline of opportunity for us this year,” he said. "Many of these broker/dealers have bolt-on RIAs, but let's be honest, the broker/dealer tail really wags the dog and they don't really have the flexibility to control their destiny. ...Advisors who have complexity and want to grow aggressively and organically recognize that they have outgrown where they're at and they want a new solution."
Earlier this month, tru signed a partnership with Channel Wealth, a $650 million RIA in Santa Barbara, Calif. launched by Justin Anderson, who left Sageview Financial. Dogra said that he expects to onboard at least four new teams in the first quarter of 2023 and that it has potential to be the platform's best year since its founding in 2014.
“I don't see it slowing,” he said of M&A activity in the RIA space. “I think it's actually going to get more competitive. I also would say that there's probably some premature prognostication around the fourth quarter. ... I think when it's all said and done that this quarter will be bigger than last year. And I'm willing to make a gentleman's bet with anybody who's already making the call that it's gonna be worse than last year.”