September was a busy month with many notable executive transitions, company innovations and M&A activities making industry headlines. At F2 Strategy we always think about what it all means for advisors and of course, their technology decisions. Without further ado, here are five wealthtech headlines on our minds in October 2023:
Orion is charging forward and now, by tapping Natalie Wolfsen to lead its efforts, it’s pulled two executives from one of its biggest competitors with Charles Goldman departing in early 2021 for Orion’s board. I’ve predicted for some time that Orion is moving toward offering custody services and now that only seems more true. The question remains, will they do it organically or will they buy a newer custodial offering in the marketplace today?
The headline here is “nothing broke.” While many of us were taking in the last moments of summer, Schwab was moving 7,000 advisor firms, 3.6 million accounts and $1.3 trillion in assets to its platform. And from what we hear, it was a remarkably smooth transition. It’s no small feat to move that much business from one massive organization to another and Schwab’s technology teams should get a lot of credit for this impressive effort.
We all recently learned that Joe Duran’s new company will take minority stakes in RIAs and help them become national, scaled platforms. From a wealthtech point of view this is moderately interesting, because traditionally, minority investment is cash only. We hope this will be different, and there'll be cash as well as business model operational efficiency and technology efficiency. It would be good to see them be a capital partner plus insights to help RIAs build better mousetraps.
CAIS Expands Strategies of Leading Alternative Asset Managers Amid Accelerated Demand from Independent Advisors
CAIS will lead the democratization of alternative investments to the mass affluent. It will be hard because of the number of touchpoints, complexities and risk, but it’s a distinctive need. Firms in the independent channels have needed and wanted something to put them on par with their wirehouse competitors and bespoke fancy RIAs for a while, and this will be likely to be very successful because of the demand. This strategy fills in that blank in the marketplace today.
Avantax (formerly Blucora), a tax-focused wealth management firm will be taken private in an all-cash sale to Cetera Holdings. The deal should close by the end of the year. This deal is a masterstroke. From a technology client experience standpoint, bringing taxes and wealth management advice together, we think, represents a
potential for a very sticky relationship with clients as well as all kinds of ways to understand more about them, their finances, their plans, their journey and the transition of their wealth.
That’s all perspective we have room for this month. We’ll be back with more takes on big headlines in November.