2023 | Advisor Tech Talk-Year in Review, Part 1


Well, we could open this week’s Advisor Tech Talk the way we’ve opened most of our columns this year, by declaring “what a week!” 

And we could say what a week, as the usual slow holidays did yield a bit of wealth tech news. But, as we come down to the last week of the year, it’s time to look back and reflect and say “what a year!” 

And what a year it was. Crypto made a big comeback. Wealthtech leaders played musical chairs among some of the most influential companies in the wealth management space. Other firms changed names, brands and even identities. Crackdowns continued in what seem to be ever-tightening federal and state regulatory regimes. 

So, over the next two weeks, we’re going to give you what we think were 10 of the biggest wealthtech stories for 2023. These stories will range from the very specific—stories about people and companies we’re familiar with—to the general, big, influential trends that may steer the future of the industry. 

Don’t worry, we’ll get back to your regularly scheduled timely headlines in January, where we’ll also plumb the news from the end of 2023 to make sure nothing—and no one—important is left out, but for the time being, let’s get started on the first half of our top 10 stories for the year. 

10. TIFIN Goes AI

TIFIN announced the launch of TIFIN.AI. TIFIN.AI is dedicated to conceiving and developing TIFIN’s second cohort of AI-powered fintech companies. J.P. Morgan has joined TIFIN in funding TIFIN.AI. 

The formation of TIFIN.AI builds upon the success of TIFIN Studios, which created five companies between 2018 and 2021. The first iteration of Studios yielded profitable launches and exits including J.P. Morgan’s acquisition of 55ip in 2020, the spin-off of Paralel Technologies, and the foundation of TIFIN’s three subsidiaries Magnifi, TIFIN Wealth, and TIFIN AMP. 

On top of that, Helix by HL, the innovative generative AI assistant revolutionizing private market investing, announced today the successful completion of its Seed+ funding round with a raise of $6 million at a post-money valuation of $26 million. The round was led by FINTOP Capital, a prominent venture capital firm known for its strategic investments in cutting-edge financial technology. 

Helix, originally announced in June 2023, is a joint venture between TIFIN, the leading AI platform for wealth, and Hamilton Lane, a globally renowned private markets investment manager. The private markets-focused platform, powered by Hamilton Lane’s proprietary data and industry expertise, aims to simplify alternative investing and empower wealth advisors with the tools and insights needed to navigate this complex asset class. Helix is designed for future integration within wealth platforms and digital marketplaces used by advisors and investors seeking allocations to the private markets. 

9. The Founders Arena

A new hybrid wealth tech venture capital firm, The Founders Arena, launched this year. The Founders Arena is an exciting and innovative WealthTech accelerator based in Arlington, TX. As a startup accelerator, Founders Arena is dedicated to fostering the growth and success of early-stage WealthTech companies by providing them with resources, mentorship, and opportunities for collaboration. However, Founders Arena goes beyond just being a traditional accelerator, as it also actively involves the local community and the City of Arlington, TX. 

The accelerator is committed to creating meaningful connections with the community through various initiatives, such as mentorship programs, workshops, hackathons, and networking events. Founders Arena aims to create a collaborative ecosystem that brings together entrepreneurs, investors, industry experts, and the local community, fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for innovation and entrepreneurship. With its unique blend of startup acceleration and community involvement, Founders Arena is poised to make a significant impact on the WealthTech industry and contribute to the growth and development of the Arlington, TX, business community. 

8. Riskalyze No More

Riskalyze made a well-telegraphed move to change its name to Nitrogen. The SaaS company first publicly alluded to its intention to rebrand during its 2022 Fearless Investing Summit and, after extensive research and consideration, has chosen this new name to reflect the value wealth management firms are generating with its platform. 

Nitrogen was originally founded as Riskalyze in 2011 to help financial advisors and wealth management firms quantitatively measure investor risk tolerance, risk capacity and portfolio risk. Advisory firms quickly realized that this data could be used to more effectively acquire new clients, increase client satisfaction and retain clients over time. With more than $50 million dollars in research & development (R&D) investments since its inception, Nitrogen has built a platform that snaps into the gap between a wealth management firm’s marketing activities, CRM, and asset platform to create a consistent client experience and accelerate the growth flywheel. It has garnered industry acclaim, delivered more than 5 million Risk Numbers to end clients, and significantly broadened its capabilities for driving firm growth. 

Months later, Nitrogen’s founder, Aaron Klein, announced his retirement, and Nitrogen announced the appointment of Dan Zitting as Chief Executive Officer. Zitting is a seasoned executive, known for his former role as CEO of Galvanize and his extensive experience spanning growth, risk and compliance functions. The appointment completes Nitrogen’s next-generation leadership team and sets the stage for further platform expansion and continued scale.  

Klein transitioned out of operational leadership, but continues to serve on the Nitrogen board of directors, as a champion of Fearless Investing at the 2024 Fearless Investing Summit and as a strategic advisor to Nitrogen’s leadership team. He has also maintained his always active social media presence.  

7. Osaic Rises

Speaking of name changes, Advisor Group, a network of independent broker-dealers and hybrid wealth management firms, rebranded to Osaic and went on an acquisition spree in 2023, culminating in the acquisition of Lincoln National’s $108 billion wealth management arm, Lincoln Wealth. As part of the Osaic re-branding from Advisor Group, all subsidiary firms, like Sagepoint, Royal Alliance and Woodbury Financial will also rebrand to Osaic. 

6. Big Happenings At A Big TAMP

Nitrogen wasn’t the only major wealthtech to go through a leadership change in 2023. AssetMark’s long-time CEO, Natalie Wolfsen, took a role at another wealthtech – Orion –  and was replaced in early September with Michael Kim, who had served as AssetMark’s president since 2023. 

On the heels of the CEO change, AssetMark agreed to pay $18 miillion to settle charges that it did not disclose conflicts of interest on cash sweep programs and revenue-sharing payments. This month, news broke that AssetMark’s majority owner, Chinese conglomerate Huatei Securities, is looking to unload its $1.4 billion stake in the company. Big changes at one of the world’s largest TAMPs. 

Make sure to check out next week’s report for the rest of the Top 10 stories of 2023 in wealthtech…..until then, wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday Season!