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Nebo Product Lead Martin Tarlie
Nebo Product Lead Martin Tarlie

GMO Launches Nebo Wealth At T3

The new platform is meant to help advisors achieve portfolio personalization at scale, and bridge an industry gap between financial planning and asset allocation.

Global investment manager GMO launched Nebo, short for Needs-Based Optimization platform, about two year ago. This week, the firm has introduced its new platform, Nebo Wealth, an end-to-end platform that its growing customer base of RIAs have been asking for, according to product lead Martin Tarlie.

When Nebo launched in 2022, the open architecture platform had as its core offering a proprietary multiperiod, shortfall optimizer. Nebo Wealth has that same shortfall optimizer at its core, as well as several new features, including automated trading and rebalancing, performance reporting, billing, advisor and client portals, and back-office support for account opening and administration.

When asked whether the platform and its new features were meant to displace existing portfolio accounting, management and reporting products, Tarlie said, “No.”

“It doesn’t matter what portfolio accounting system your firm is using, we integrate with Orion Eclipse, for example—if you want to use Nebo to do shortfall optimization, go ahead—we are not going to replace Orion, or Black Diamond. It will work with them. Our business strategy is to integrate into the ecosystem as much as possible,” he said.

If anything, Tarlie said the new platform could disrupt the model marketplace space; it can replace the spreadsheets that too many advisors rely on, as well as off-the-shelf models.

He says there are two types of advisors in need of Nebo. The first are those advisors invested in personalization but who are in “spreadsheet hell” tracking client portfolio weights and data, “and we move them over to automating all of that.”

And the second type are those firms where 90% of their clients are in “the moderate model.”

Tarlie said that Nebo’s customer base ranges from small startup firms to large and mature ones that are reliant on sophisticated models. For those large firms, the key problem is bridging the gap between financial planning and asset management.

“Asset management is about a lot more than the securities you choose,” said Tarlie, providing the example of a large RIA firm Nebo had recently engaged with. He noted that this firm, as is often the case, had two advisors per client relationship, one on financial planning and the other on investment management.

“The firm changed their capital market assumptions and that basically blew up their plans, and this firm is planning out for the next 40 years,” he said, adding that this has been a common refrain with RIAs, indicating a fundamental and widespread problem.

“We interact with a lot of firms, and they all have their own identity and want to preserve how they approach their investment identity. Some have very refined views, and that portfolio design element is very important to them. Others are less confident in their views, but Nebo is open architecture and transparent in how you choose to address your assumptions; it is not a black box,” said Tarlie.

Separately, Nebo announced that Adam Scully-Power has joined the firm to run business development and relationship management; he had spent more than 20 years in various roles at Columbia Threadneedle Investments prior to joining Nebo.

TAGS: Industry
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