iCapital Adds Crypto Access and Folds in Structured Notes
What Happened: Grayscale Investments, a digital currency asset manager, to offer digital asset investing access. iCapital also announced it will acquire Axio Financial, a structured notes platform.
Why It Matters: It has been fascinating to watch iCapital race to build one of the most expansive alts marketplace businesses in the industry. Bringing Grayscale’s crypto offerings and Axio’s structured notes capabilities on board will definitely add to its momentum.
Forge Goes Public in a Motive-Powered SPAC IPO
What Happened: Forge, a marketplace for private equity securities, has announced it will go public via a merger with Motive Capital’s SPAC, which has been on the hunt for the right fintech player to take to the public markets.
Why It Matters: As more and more interesting companies are trading up the “IPO” for the “SPL” (stay private longer), it becomes really interesting for those companies to find opportunities to give their employees limited liquidity in advance of an IPO. One of those channels is private equity marketplaces, and Forge is building an interesting one. Word on the street is that lending to private company executives based on the value of its equity is next.
Apex Acquires Silver Management Group
What Happened: Apex Fintech Solutions, the parent company of Apex Clearing, announced the acquisition of Silver Management Group, which offers data reconciliation, cost basis and tax reporting solutions.
Why It Matters: Apex has never been one to sit back and wait for others to innovate first. The company likes to call itself the “fintech for fintechs,” and now it is turning its attention to the less sexy but absolutely critical capability of processing and accounting for things like reconciled custodial and cost-basis data. Silver has been one of those leading providers of reconciliation and cost-basis accounting, and this is a great home for it. Congratulations to Blake Henry, Bill Capuzzi and their teams!
Disclosure: Riskalyze is a client of Silver and an integration partner with Apex.
Wilshire Partners Adds Its Manager Research to Startup Fintech App
What Happened: Wilshire, which offers services like asset management, mutual funds, and manager research, announced an integration with Lasso, a new financial planning mobile app from startup GoalBased Investors.
Why It Matters: GoalBased Investors, led by a team of BlackRock veterans, is out to address financial literacy by creating a mobile app that puts financial plans first and makes investor with advisor connections a social experience. Now it’ll have Wilshire research as a part of its offering. Should be interesting!
Asset-Map Is Finding Signal in the Noise
What Happened: Asset-Map released Signals, which looks at a household’s preparedness to withstand six common disruptive financial events. When a client’s plan isn’t built to address one of those events, advisors get proactive alerts to take action and strengthen areas of financial weakness.
Why It Matters: Financial security is all about managing risk—and the unknown is the greatest risk of all. While it’s impossible to entirely plan for disruptive events, Asset-Map has identified common scenarios that many clients could face. An advisor’s job is to help clients plan for what could happen, and the new Signals tool puts those “What If?” scenarios front and center for advisors to help their clients spot.
Disclosure: Asset-Map is a Riskalyze integration partner.
Wealth Access Announces the 'Half a Tril' Milestone
What Happened: Wealth Access announced it now serves over $571 billion in assets on its client dashboard technology. The firm also took the opportunity to categorize itself into a unique fintech category: Customer Data Enrichment and Unification.
Why It Matters: Wealth Access may not have made big headlines along the way, but it’s a pretty incredible announcement that its client base of mostly trust-centric banks is managing over half a trillion dollars on the client dashboard technology it has been known for. This is clearly a company to watch.
Michael Jordan Slam Dunks Steve Lockshin’s Cap Table
What Happened: Fresh off announcing a Series A funding round of more than $11 million, estate planning software provider Vanilla, founded by longtime industry entrepreneur Steve Lockshin, announced that one of its investors was none other than basketball legend Michael Jordan.
Why It Matters: It feels like this was another opportunity for MJ to issue one of his epic two-word press releasees, except this time targeted to the fintech community: “I’ve arrived.” Apparently investing in fintech is what you do after you’ve already played in two major league sports and run an NBA team yourself. Jordan is reportedly a longtime client of Steve Lockshin’s AdvicePeriod, and investing directly in Steve’s vision is likely to be a very good bet.
Yourefolio Adds Direct Connections to Estate Attorneys
What Happened: Estate planning software Yourefolio announced a partnership with the large estate planning firm Inter Vivos to deliver direct connections between financial advisors and their network of attorneys.
Why It Matters: Estate plans are critical elements of a client’s finances, but the fact is that advisors can’t complete one for clients without bringing in a third party of some sort. If you don’t have a solid estate attorney on speed dial, what’s an advisor to do? Yourefolio’s solution is to bring the attorneys to the advisors. In some ways, it’s like an insurance or model marketplace, but with attorneys instead. This is a growing area of innovation, alongside Vanilla, Helios, and Envestnet’s new trust and estates marketplace.