Advisor Tech Talk: 10/5/21

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By: Gerelyn Terzo 

The financial advisor landscape is not only becoming more tech-friendly on the back-end but also more customized to the needs of clients. 

  • Bank of America: Bank of America has expanded its coverage into cryptocurrencies. To that end, the firm launched its maiden research report called “Digital Assets Primer: Only the first inning.” The research was led by Alkesh Shah, who spearheads the firm’s global cryptocurrency and digital asset strategy. According to Shah, Bank of America’s digital asset research strategy is to “explore the implications across industries including finance, technology, supply chains, social media and gaming.” The team will focus on tokens, smart contracts, stablecoins, CBDCs and NFTs. 
  • Dimensional Fund Advisors: Austin, Texas-based Dimensional Fund Advisors has bolstered the firm’s SMA suite of offerings, giving users greater access to tailored solutions. Dimensional boasts a tech-fueled platform that facilitates the paradigm shift to customized investment options that were previously reserved for the wealthy. Along with the new platform, Dimensional has lowered the SMA minimum threshold from $20-plus million to $500,000, giving advisors the opportunity to offer more options to a wider set of investors. The customized options range from tax management, ESG, and industry and security exclusions, all with greater efficiency in mind. 
  • Docupace: Wealth management platform Docupace has acquired PreciseFP, an automated data management solution. The deal is the latest step in Docupace’s strategic overhaul. PreciseFP will integrate its client-facing technology with Docupace’s features across automation, workflow and operations processing tools. The end result is an “end-to-end wealthtech ecosystem” on which advisors can engage and empower clients and prospects. As a result of the deal, Docupace bolsters its ability to open new accounts and onboard clients faster and in a more seamless way. Docupace chief David Knoch noted that the wealth management industry is still mired in paper-based systems and has not directed sufficient resources in back-end solutions. Knoch explained how the combination of Docupace’s platform and PreciseFP’s capabilities will help to meet client demand for a digital-first experience.  
  • Franklin Templeton: Franklin Templeton has revealed plans to acquire quantitative asset management firm O’Shaughnessy Asset Management (OSAM). As a result of the deal, Franklin Templeton bolsters its capabilities in SMAs and custom solutions via OSAM’s one-two punch of factor-based investment management and custom indexing solutions through the Canvas platform. Canvas comprises nearly one-third of OSAM’s total AUM of $6.4 billion at last check. Franklin Templeton CEO Jenny Johnson noted how “technological advances are reshaping how financial solutions are delivered,” which is why the firm has been increasingly investing in this area. Custom indexing is at the forefront of Franklin Templeton’s plans to reach more clients.  
  • Vanguard: Asset management giant Vanguard has finalized its purchase of Just Invest, which is behind tax-focused wealth management technology. California-based Just Invest specializes in tailored, direct-index offerings via its Kaleidoscope platform for financial advisors. As a result of the acquisition, Vanguard expands into direct or personalized indexing so clients can make slight changes to existing portfolios to meet their standards.