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FinanceHQ CEO Alex Choi

FinanceHQ Emerges From Stealth Mode

The digital lead generation provider is banking on its proprietary technology to stand out in a crowded field.

FinanceHQ, a New York-based digital lead generation provider, launched out of stealth mode Tuesday.

The firm named Alex Choi as CEO, Amanda Cox as chief operating officer and Amar Parikh as head of product.

Before joining FinanceHQ, Choi worked at Morgan Stanley for 10 years and spent over five years at Betterment, most recently as head of strategy and operations for the RIA-facing business unit, Betterment for Advisors, Cox spent her 30-year career at firms including Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Silicon Valley Bank and ABN AMRO, and Parikh led product teams at tech firms including Apple, Betterment and Expedia.

The firm looks to help advisors grow their business by providing introductions to prospective clients. After a “rigorous” vetting process, FinanceHQ onboards advisors and matches them with those seeking advice. According to Choi, before being added to the platform advisors go through a full background check during which FinanceHQ looks for attributes including any major disclosures, the number of years they’ve been in business as an advisor and any specific designations, among others.

“We take that component very seriously,” Choi said. “We want to make sure that we’re providing access to the absolute best advisors that are out there.”

To solicit leads, Choi said FinanceHQ uses several different channels, including social media, search engine marketing and search engine optimization, among others. They identify individuals with real intent to work with an advisor, he said. The firm then uses a questionnaire to identify who the prospective client is, what they’re looking for and which advisor would be the most appropriate fit. A proprietary algorithm matches the prospect with an advisor before handing them off.

The platform is free for clients, but advisors pay a fee per lead.

As more and more advisors choose to join or run independent firms, standing out from the crowd becomes even more vital. But, in advisor technology, history is littered with failed attempts to create “platforms” built on a process for getting prospects into the marketing funnel and turning them into paying clients.

Though there have been several similar platforms that have come and gone over the years, Choi said FinanceHQ’s proprietary technology helps them stand out.

“We’re using a very methodical and differentiated approach to personalize this funnel and make sure that we’re acquiring individuals with true intent,” he said.

The firm is focused on prospects who express specific concerns about financial planning, rather than general questions, said Choi.

“We’re not going out there and looking for people who say, ‘What does a financial advisor do?’” he said. “We’re looking for someone who is saying, ‘I’m about to have a kid. What’s the best 529 plan? How do I get that set up?’ Or, ‘I’m about to go through a divorce. What’s the best way to divvy up my assets? What’s the best path forward at that point?’”

Rather than being dissuaded by the number of competitors, Choi claims they “enjoy the competition.”

“It’s not a zero-sum game where one platform is going to rule above everyone else and everyone else is gone,” he said. “There are millions of Americans out there who are looking for guidance on their finances. This platform is designed to help those individuals out. At the end of the day, competition is healthy. As we see competition growing, it fuels advances in technology and innovation. And, ultimately, the consumer and the advisor both benefit from that.”

The company was built inside Wilbur Labs, a startup studio based in San Francisco. Choi said he was approached by Wilbur Labs about the company toward the end of last year and started his new position at the beginning of 2023.

Wilbur Labs is focused on launching one to two companies a year, as opposed to an accelerator model, said Noelle Coleman, chief communications officer at Wilbur Labs. After the launch, Wilbur Labs continues to provide capital, resources, guidance and operational support to the companies to help ensure their long-term success. The studio is “industry agnostic” and looks for places in the market “where there’s a real consumer need and a customer problem that needs to be solved.”

“We’re not afraid to play in a crowded space,” said Coleman. “A crowded space just indicates a greater need.”

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