Apex Going Public—In SPACtacular Fashion
What Happened: Apex Clearing will be going public through a merger with blank-check company Northern Star Investment Corp., which will raise around $450 million for the transaction.
Why It Matters: Apex is one of the most forward-thinking digital-first custodians in all of wealthtech, and this news is a big validation that their “open API” approach to technology is the way forward for firms that want to gain traction. After hiring the legendary Tricia Rothschild as president, this is a big milestone for Bill Capuzzi and his team. We can’t wait to see what they do next.
Disclosure: Riskalyze is building data integration with Apex Clearing as we speak, allowing clients of theirs like Altruist and others to integrate data feeds into the Riskalyze platform.
Altruist Hires TD Ameritrade Veteran
What Happened: Startup digital custodian/TAMP Altruist has added Pete Dorsey, the former managing director of institutional sales and advisor management at TD Ameritrade Institutional. Dorsey will serve as the company’s chief strategy and revenue officer.
Why It Matters: Altruist, which cleverly snagged the “custodian” branding space instead of labeling itself as a TAMP, has an exciting strategy built by prolific founder Jason Wenk, and now they’re picking up some exciting talent as well. Dorsey brings big chops from his time at TD and will do a lot to make this platform uber-competitive for emerging RIAs focused on growth.
Envestnet Adds Estate Planning Exchange
What Happened: Envestnet launched a new Trust Services Exchange, designed to connect its advisors with access to trust and estate planning services, including estate attorneys.
Why It Matters: Estate planning software is a burgeoning category in wealthtech, with solutions like Helios, Vanilla, Yourefolio, and others taking a key role in an advisory firm’s tech stack. And as advisors increasingly offer more value-add services and provide advice that reaches into the far corners of a client’s life, estate planning is a natural addition. Putting this at the fingertips of all the advisors doing their day-to-day work in Envestnet’s platform is a powerful endorsement of this trend.
Disclosure: Riskalyze has announced integration with the Envestnet platform.
Orion Announces Acquisition of Hidden Levers
What Happened: Orion Advisor Solutions, led by CEO Eric Clarke, has announced the acquisition of “portfolio crash testing” tool Hidden Levers.
Why It Matters: Congratulations to our friends at Orion for their continued growth. While HiddenLevers and Riskalyze actually have relatively few overlaps, this news poses a bit of a conflict of interest for me, so you’ll have to catch the video version of the Fintech Report Card for more commentary. Rest assured, though—Eric and I, and our teams, are deeply committed to continuing our partnership to serve and delight the hundreds of mutual clients between us.
Schwab’s Technology Plans Take Shape
What Happened: Schwab held an online event to show off a self-service portal for its third-party developer partners, and update vendors about its ongoing integration of TD Ameritrade’s technologies.
Why It Matters: Ever since Schwab acquired TD Ameritrade, the big question on everyone’s mind has been: “What will they do with all of TD’s technology?” For years, TD was known for its open architecture, integration-friendly custodial platform. From everything we hear, Schwab intends to adopt the best approaches of both firms, and double down on leveraging the wealthtech ecosystem for growth.
Disclosure: Riskalyze is an integration partner with Schwab Advisor Services and TD Ameritrade Institutional.
Invesco Rebrands its Technology Stack
What Happened: Invesco announced it would rebrand its core software components: RedBlack, Jemstep, Portfolio Pathway, and Intelliflo. Most of those brands will be renamed to incorporate the Intelliflo name.
Why It Matters: Invesco has been on a multi-year software acquisition run, and it makes sense that it would want those acquisitions to form a more cohesive brand so they’re more recognizable and it’s easier to communicate their place in a tech stack to its financial professionals. The Intelliflo brand is very strong in the United Kingdom, and will really be making its entrance into the United States for the first time. One curiosity: the firm retained the RedBlack brand for its rebalancing software; time will tell if that folds in under Intelliflo at some point.
Alto Adds Crypto Fund Managers
What Happened: Alto, an alternative investments IRA platform, added three cryptocurrency fund managers to its list of investment partners.
Why It Matters: Cryptocurrency may still be a Risk 99 (viewed as high risk for those unfamiliar with Riskalyze parlance) for investors and advisors, but there are slow and steady improvements to access it in ways that can make both parties feel more comfortable. Crypto is decidedly in the mainstream now, so advisors are taking note when digital investing platforms provide easy ways to invest in it. Like it or not, the experience may be coming to your practice at some point soon.
Carefull App Announces Formal Launch
What Happened: Carefull is a tech startup that will attempt to protect the finances of elderly people by allowing their loved ones and professional advisors to monitor financial activity.
Why It Matters: Millions of elderly citizens are the victims of fraud each year, and they also happen to be one of the primary demographics for financial advisors. As advisors become more comprehensive financial life planners, it also makes sense for them to take a more active role in monitoring a client’s financial life. I can imagine this also being a great tool for advisors for “generation 2” to offer to keep tabs on their parents and make sure they aren’t being taken advantage of.
Goldman Sachs Looks to Expand Robo for Advisors
What Happened: Goldman Sachs will build out a version of its Marcus Invest digital investing platform so the app is usable by Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management advisors.
Why It Matters: Another robo advisor for advisors? I’m a bit surprised, but I suppose you never count out Goldman Sachs. The trend, predicted by some, of advisors stapling a self-directed investing business onto the side of their firm has never taken off, and I don’t see an inflection point to change that. But time will tell.