Advisor Tech Talk (7/28/21)

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By: Gerelyn Terzo 

The retirement industry is in the spotlight including a blockbuster deal in recordkeeping and administration, while RIAs are combining and investment advisory firms are expanding. Let’s dive in. 

  • Chalice Network: Melbourne, Fla.-based Chalice Network, a digital marketplace platform as a service (PAAS), has added the Financial Planning Association (FPA) as a partner of Chalice Enterprise Solutions. Chalice brings its digital prowess to the table, while the FPA will “integrate its partner network.” In doing so, its members will have access to a digital marketplace. Chalice aims to “bridge the technology gap” in the financial industry where it is seeing a “digital divide,” as described by Chalice Network CEO Keith Gregg. 
  • Empower Retirement: Colorado-based Empower Retirement is acquiring Prudential Financial’s retirement business in a $3.5 billion deal. As part of the deal, Empower gets Prudential’s retirement plan recordkeeping and administration arm. The deal bolster’s Empower’s position in the market, where it currently is second only to Fidelity in the recordkeeping segment. Empower will also inherit 1,800 of Prudential’s employees. When the deal is complete, the number of Empower’s retirement plan members rises to 16.6 million while its recordkeeping assets balloon to $1.4 trillion in more than 70,000 workplace retirement plans. 
  • Envestnet:  Chicago-based Envestnet Retirement Solutions secured the mandate as investment manager for a Sallus Retirement plan. In particular, Envestnet will oversee “fund portfolios in Sallus Retirement’s PEP 401(k) plan, which is a digital “pooled employer 401(k) plan for small business owners and the financial advisors that service them.” Sallus has its roots in servicing American workers who otherwise lack a workplace retirement plan. For its part, Envestnet plans to “optimize investments and lower costs” for the small businesses and their advisors. 
  • Fabric RQ: Denver-based Fabric RQ, which seeks to deliver institutional-quality risk management to retail investors, has begun lassoing in advisors to trial its new app. In particular, advisors will trial Fabric RQ’s risk management app, whose factor-based approach is used by investment banks, asset managers and sophisticated traders. Fabric’s platform is fueled by MSCI’s factor model, and the app will go live in the fall. The firm is inviting advisors to test drive the tools in the interim. 
  • Rebalance: California and Maryland-based wealth management firm Rebalance has hired Sonja Breeding, CFP, as its new VP of investment advice. Breeding boasts two decades of career experience as a wealth manager, data analyst and trading expert. She joins from Homewood Capital Management, where she oversaw the investment management and financial planning of some 300 clients across $110 million in combined AUM. Rebalance is behind Rebalance360 for individual consumers, a platform for financial planning, investment management and advisory services.