Tyrone Ross joins Reality Shares’ board and is named CEO of their alternative investments platform
What Happened: Reality Shares, a thematic ETF provider, added industry and financial consultant Tyrone Ross to its board of directors, and then named him as CEO of their up-and-coming alternative investments platform.
Why It Matters: Tyrone has been a leading advocate for cryptocurrency and improving financial literacy for youth and people of all backgrounds in America. His only drawback is a long history of bad takes on food, from the inadequacy of tacos to using ketchup as a steak condiment. Otherwise, his sterling reputation led all of financial Twitter to give this hire two big thumbs-up!
Lead Pilot announces new features
What Happened: Twenty Over Ten added four new features to its Lead Pilot marketing automation platform, including Facebook pixel integration, automated email drip campaigns, weekly market summaries and gated content.
Why It Matters: In the midst of a continuing pandemic, the importance of digital communication is only increasing. The Lead Pilot platform gives advisors a much-needed customizable platform for content distribution. It will be interesting to watch how rapidly it grows, as it seems that its launch has been perfectly timed for advisors’ appetite in online marketing.
Disclosure: I’m a board member for Snappy Kraken, a Twenty Over Ten competitor.
TD patent lawsuit
What Happened: TD Ameritrade has been hit with a patent infringement lawsuit for how it handles client-server communication in its mobile apps.
Why It Matters: The originator of the patent lawsuit appears to be a “patent troll”—a company that exists only to scoop up intellectual property and sue other companies who get close to it. Yet another big reason that enterprises often shy away from building their own proprietary software—it’s important they’re aware of the possible ramifications of owning the development of their tech stack, versus choosing best-in-class solutions that provide a barrier from this kind of issue.
RIA in a Box Mobile app
What Happened: RIA in a Box launched a mobile app for Android and iOS that allows advisors to review compliance task lists and access compliance education materials.
Why It Matters: The mobile revolution continues—but I always think it’s interesting to consider which tasks are better on a mobile phone than on a computer. I’m not convinced compliance to-do lists are that thing, but given RIA in a Box’s rapidly ramping levels of innovation, I wonder if this mobile app isn’t a harbinger for more. Stay tuned …
Disclosure: Riskalyze partnered with RIA in a Box to provide part of the software for its new offering for RIA startups.
Crypto app under the gun
What Happened: Abra, a company that developed a cryptocurrency-investing app, was fined by the SEC for failing to register and for not using a registered national exchange.
Why It Matters: I’m generally a believer in allowing innovation room to run before it gets regulated, but I think we’re at the point in the crypto revolution where the rules are relatively well known and not obscure. It’s not hard to figure out that spending a little bit of your venture money to figure out compliance before you ship might not be a bad idea.
Brookstone and Formula Folios merge
What Happened: Scale is in when it comes to TAMPs. While the Orion and Brinker merger may have grabbed big headlines, Brookstone and FormulaFolios have also turned heads with their $6.5 billion tie-up.
Why It Matters: Brookstone is the brainchild of Dean Zayed, a wily entrepreneur who has built quite the machine for turning insurance reps into wealth management advisors. FormulaFolios was founded by Jason Wenk, who first started an RIA, then started this TAMP, and had stepped back from the day to day to start a new custodian, Altruist. Together, the two firms will have quite the powerful offering for advisors looking to outsource portfolio management solutions. Congrats to them both!
Disclosure: Brookstone is a longtime Riskalyze enterprise client.
Google Voice tech for Schwab accounts
What Happened: Schwab retail clients will be able to ask their Google Voice devices for updates on portfolio performance, pricing and account information (but not execute trade actions).
Why It Matters: It’s always interesting to test new interfaces and approaches to computing. But I’m not sure if the privacy issues make this a good fit. I don’t have my home thermostat on a voice device because my kids would be turning it up all the time—I’m really not sure what I think of my 13-year-old saying “OK, Google, what’s the balance of Dad’s 401(k)?”
eMoney sponsors Financial Literacy Competition
What Happened: Mac Gardner, a Suncoast Credit Union financial planner, created The Fintech Bullpen, which encourages financial planning and computer programming majors to create a free app for financial literacy. eMoney has sponsored the competition, providing the cash for the $3,000 prize.
Why It Matters: Teaching kids about money and how to code, all at the same time? What a fantastic idea. Well played, Mac Gardner and eMoney.