The parent company of Orion Advisor Services, NorthStar Financial Services Group LLC, is announcing a brand unification and leadership reshuffle as the firm enters the final stages of implementing its merger with turnkey asset management platform FTJ FundChoice. This set of moves is intended to build better brand recognition and accelerate growth, according to the company.
NorthStar Financial Services Group, LLC will be renamed Orion Advisor Solutions, while the company currently known as Orion Advisor Services will become Orion Advisor Tech, and FTJ FundChoice will become Orion Portfolio Solutions. NorthStar’s other holdings, Omaha, Nebraska-based registered investment advisor CLS Investments and Constellation Trust, will retain their names.
Along with the rebranding comes a new hierarchy. Eric Clarke will assume the role of CEO of the rebranded Orion Advisor Solutions and continue as CEO of the rebranded Orion Advisor Tech. Dean Cook will be president of rebranded Orion Advisor Solutions and will be CEO of rebranded Orion Portfolio Solutions. The changes will take effect this September.
The rebranding and restructuring of roles comes just two days after Orion competitor Envestnet revealed the latest vertical being added to its platform, advisor-facilitated loans for clients. But Clarke dismissed the timing, noting that rebranding conversations had been taking place for a year. The firm wanted to implement the merger before moving onto a rebrand, he said.
Orion is currently evaluating six different TAMP acquisition opportunities, according to both Clarke and Cook. “You'll hear more M&A stories in the upcoming months from Orion,” said Cook. He added that since being acquired, FTJ FundChoice has been included in the design process for building new technology at Orion.
“The growth opportunity for us is not just with the independent advisors, but it's also in the enterprise space,” noted Clarke, who added that the best technology is actually built for independent fiduciary advisors but can be tweaked to work for enterprises. “I'm still a big believer that the best tech out there is built for the independent fiduciaries. It's a more competitive space,” he explained.
With Envestnet’s strategy of controlling an advisor’s total “financial wellness,” from data aggregation to insurance and loan portals, more clearly revealed, Clarke emphasized that Orion is sticking with its data aggregation partners Quovo, owned by Plaid, and Morningstar’s ByAllAccounts.
“It's really important that our advisors understand that we're not in the business of selling their data. We're not in the business of selling aggregated data,” said Clarke. “We're just not in the data business.” In fact, while some observers have been puzzled by Plaid’s acquisition of Quovo, Orion is benefiting from the additional capabilities and resources that Plaid is bringing to the table, said Clarke. Orion does not use Yodlee (a subsidiary of Envestnet) as a data aggregator, he said.
With the rebranding of some of its holdings and the restructuring of its leadership, NorthStar, soon to be Orion Advisor Services, is aiming to build more powerful brand recognition, while improving its corporate strategy and product cohesion.