Here is your Riskalyze Fintech Five for February, a focused take on what we think are the recent top five stories in wealth management technology.
1. AdvisorEngine Leaves Junxure Behind
Our first story this month is all about saying goodbye to the old and hello to the new.
You might say that AdvisorEngine has arrived at a critical juncture for one of their acquisitions…and it involves leaving the Junxure behind. Four years after acquiring the company, they finished their overhaul and relaunched the product as AdvisorEngine CRM.
The update includes a complete visual upgrade, a much faster overall experience, and new features you’d expect from a modern CRM like prospecting tools.
CRMs for advisors are a mature market, though, and companies like Redtail and Wealthbox had moved ahead of Junxure in terms of market share the last several years. This relaunch is a long time coming; let’s see if advisors will once again embrace AdvisorEngine CRM and position it to reclaim a spot as one of the top advisor CRMs.
2. A $1.4 Billion Vote of Confidence in Human Advice
UBS has acquired automated advice platform Wealthfront and its $27 billion in assets.
Wealthfront now looks like a client acquisition machine for UBS’s wealth management business. The firm is going to use Wealthfront as a profitable way to develop and build a relationship with early stage investors, in the hopes of converting many of them to UBS financial advice when they reach scale.
It’s a fine strategy, and gives UBS an answer to similar offerings from JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and others. But ultimately, it’s a $1.4 billion dollar vote of confidence in the value of human advice.
And that bodes well for every financial advisor in our profession—from those at the wirehouses and national/regional firms, to those affiliated with independent or insurance BDs, to boutique independents, all the way to the scaling enterprise RIAs.
3. AssetMark Embraces Digital Marketing
AssetMark has launched two new tools to help advisors find and market to prospects.
WealthBuilder Prospecting is designed to shuttle interested leads to its more than 8,500 advisors, while Marketing Advantage brings a content library and automated marketing platform.
These new features are a clear sign that CEO Natalie Wolfsen is investing in helping advisors build on top of classic growth methods like referrals and word of mouth, to embrace digital prospecting to grow their businesses.
Marketing Advantage is built on the FMG Suite platform, which has been busy recently in building out customized solutions for TAMPs, RIA aggregators, and others, with its own automated marketing platform as the foundation.
These tools are a great start, but it’s not enough for advisors to simply put out content for its own sake; marketing communications have to be unique, compelling, and above all relevant to each firm’s target clients.
It’s difficult to offer that at scale but the most successful advisors will be those who take AssetMark’s tools as a launching point, rather than the end point.
4. Envestnet Invests in Automated Advice – Again
Envestnet has taken a stake in Sallie Krawcheck’s Ellevest platform. The female-focused investing service has grown slowly since its inception in 2014, and now manages over $1 billion in assets.
This isn’t the first time that Envestnet has shown an appetite for exploring the automated advice market, it’s already made investments in or acquired Upside in 2015 and Harvest Savings in 2021.
It’s clear that Envestnet, led by CEO Bill Crager, has its eyes everywhere looking for opportunities to expand its reach, extend its influence, and take advantage of emerging technologies that will strengthen its ability to offer cutting-edge solutions to the more than 100,000 advisors on its platform.
Will Envestnet eventually want more and take a bigger stake, or even acquire Ellevest outright? We’ll all be watching to see what’s next.
5. The Massive Expansion of Financial Advice Gets Massive Funding
In case you missed this massive private equity announcement: Facet Wealth raised a monster $100 million dollar Series C round.
This firm is a fascinating play to build a vertically-integrated financial planning-focused firm that goes direct-to-consumer for subscription flat fee advice and planning.
This again illustrates the art of the possible with digital marketing and the ability to grow businesses. The average financial advisor needs neither the budget nor the resulting scale of a Facet Wealth in order to take advantage of this trend.
One of the most exciting parts of watching the Facet story take shape is how they are very rarely competing with existing advisors for clients, and instead, massively expanding access to financial advice for new clients that have never experienced it before. Bravo, Facet Wealth.