Harness Wealth co-founder and CEO David Snider is hoping his firm will be the digital matchmaker for the wealth management industry thoughout the U.S. With a background in real estate, the entrepreneur turned his attention from properties to intermediating between individuals looking for financial, tax and trust advice—and the professionals with the experience to help them.
The service wants to be the trusted search engine of consumers looking for a financial advisor, tax strategist, or trust and estate lawyer anywhere in the country. Snider and Katie Prentke English, Harness Wealth’s co-founder and chief marketing officer, envision consumers going to the firm’s website, answering a questionnaire about the services they’re interested in obtaining, then being matched with a pared-down, vetted list of professionals with the right qualifications.
While Snider and team have been running the firm on an invitation-only basis for the past six months, starting today the service is available to the broader market. There are over 300 advisors on the platform, said Snider, up from just a few dozen, months ago. Participating advisors agree to a revenue share with Harness Wealth as part of the lead generation service, “modeled after the wealth management custodian advisor programs,” he added.
Trust is paramount for an intermediating platform. The due diligence process for advisors to be listed attempts to build that trust with advisors’ self-reported data and regulatory filings, along with firm-level interviews conducted by Harness Wealth staff. It’s a process that gathers more than 120 attributes, said Snider. Individual advisors are not allowed on the platform—all advisors must be part of a firm. Although there is no cap on the AUM that a firm can have, each needs at least $300 million in assets under management to be listed.
Leading the interviews is Michelle Tran, the Harness Wealth head of business development, who joined the firm after working at firms like BlackRock and Apex Clearing. She “worked closely with financial advisors” in her previous positions, said Snider. “The team is comprised of individuals with wealth management experience, including direct experience with RIAs.”
Part of the due diligence process was built by Maliz Beams, the former CEO of Voya Financial, said Snider. Beams, who also served a brief stint working alongside former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the Trump administration, is a member of Harness Wealth’s advisory council. “Our process continues to evolve to be as holistic as possible and to draw out key distinctions among firms for clients,” said Snider. Firms on the platform are subject to an annual review and client feedback helps Tran, Snider, English and the rest of the Harness Wealth team determine which advisors should remain on the platform. Client feedback is collected by Harness Wealth employees and via an automated feedback process.
For advisors interested in joining the platform, the review will require roughly four to six hours of an advisor’s time over two to three weeks, said Snider. “In-depth profiles are created for each firm once firms are approved,” he noted. “We work with each firm to ensure their unique value, and differentiating attributes are identified in the profiles.”
Harness Wealth is hoping its platform will attract mid-career Gen X households with high earning potential, according to the company’s launch announcement. Company data pointed to the need for a human-tech hybrid solution for financial advice, a need which the firm is hoping to meet.
The firm raised $4 million in seed funds late last year, with capital provided by firms like Bain Capital Ventures, where Snider was an investor.