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Envestnet Tamarac

Envestnet Gets into the Robo Business

Chicago-based Envestnet has acquired Upside, a year-old tech company that has developed an automated, online financial planning and investment platform to be white-labeled by financial planners who want to compete with the likes of Wealthfront, Betterment or Futureadvisor. Envestnet, the advisor support and technology firm, will use the acquisition to provide its clients with a robo-advisor solution of their own.

"Adding Upside to our platform will allow advisors to compete more aggressively to engage current clients online and reach a new class of investors,” said Stuart DePina, group president of Envestnet | Tamarac, in a statement. “While many see robo offerings as serving the mass affluent, advisors know a growing percentage of their high-net-worth clients are demanding to access their financial portfolios and interact with their advisor online."

The deal has already closed; terms were not disclosed. Envestnet will combine Upside’s online advice platform with its investment solutions, portfolio analytics, account servicing and reporting capabilities.

Ritholtz Wealth Management—run by Josh Brown and Barry Ritholtz—announced they were working with Upside, last October. Called Liftoff, the RWM platform takes investors through a handful of risk-tolerance questions, then asks if clients are looking to create a retirement plan, a financial goal plan or are looking just to invest. The securities underlying the plans are a combination of ETFs, with, according to the site, a “regimented rebalancing strategy” built in.

Envestnet is not the only industry player trying to help advisors compete with the robo offerings. CLS Investments and Riskalyze teamed up recently to launch an automated asset management platform to help financial advisors scale their services for lower-end clients. Advisors can plug the new platform, called AutoPilot, right into their websites. The tool will then allow online clients to access the Riskalyze software to determine risk tolerance, sync outside assets, open a new account, and e-sign all necessary documents.

Upside will have access to Envestnet’s technology services and its managed portfolios.

Kimberly and Juney Ham, co-founder and president of Upside, will join Envestnet as senior vice presidents.

TAGS: Technology
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