Advisor Tech Talk (Week of 6/4/24)

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The 100,000th Certified Financial Planner has been named, and she’s a 31-year-old millennial woman from Bedminster, N.J. named Simone Lee—a second-generation financial planner. 

While wealth management remains concentrated on Baby Boomer, white, male and excessively wealthy clients, the future will inevitably be younger, more diverse, and less concentrated on extreme wealth—assuming that the financial planning industry has a future, of course. 

Wealth management may have to look very different moving forward as the world is starting to recognize a growing crisis: for the most part, we are no longer producing families and children at a rate sufficient to sustain our communities. There may be a wealth management solution to this problem, a new combination of financial and family planning: Financial family planning. 

As fertility rates plummet throughout the globe, in the first world, the crisis is likely caused by a combination of factors. A changing culture has devalued childrearing, home-keeping and family formation. Inflation and lack of access to traditional finance make hitting the cultural and financial milestones of early adult life, like marriage and home ownership, more difficult. Increasing levels of financial literacy and awareness are prompting millennials and Gen Z to delay having children, exacerbating the fertility crisis. 

Clearly, creating ways for financial planning and advice to reach younger generations has the potential to give millennials and Gen Zers the confidence they need to start families. These younger clients need more than help with the tens of trillions of dollars of wealth transition that has the financial services industry salivating, they need help with cashflow planning and achieving the early milestones of life. 

In most cases, this assistance needs to be technology driven, and this technology should also have the ability to help answer young couples’ fertility and reproduction questions. Technology should help young couples feel like they can raise healthy children in an environment of abundance, security and comfort. 

But the technology we have in wealth management is mostly oriented towards retirement or making late-in-life purchases and investments. Advisors, for the most part, are inadequately trained to help answer family planning questions. And family planning services in the U.S. are mostly associated with contraception and abortion—prevention of child rearing and family formation instead of encouragement. 

We need to be able to bring wealth tech solutions to bear on our mounting fertility and reproduction problems—will technology companies arm wealth management providers with the tools they need? 

If there are third- and fourth-generation planners to come in Simone Lee’s family, and no technological response to the world’s fertility issues emerges, there may not be enough clients left to serve to support the wealth management industry. 

Let’s get to some headlines… 


AdvisorNet Financial 

Derrick Girard, founder of MyRepChat, recently joined AdvisorNet Financial in a newly created position as its chief growth officer. 

In addition to founding MyRepChat, Girard’s extensive industry experience includes building his own financial advisory practice, growing an insurance agency, and leading a bank program. His journey from a successful financial advisor to building a basement startup that became an industry standard showcases his versatile skill set from sales to strategic planning. 

Girard will be responsible for helping advisors grow their practices through increased utilization of AdvisorNet’s in-house expertise and resources, as well as growing AdvisorNet’s core revenue line in a sustainable and strategic manner through its insurance agency, its RIA known as AdvisorNet Wealth Partners (AWP), its asset management platform Portfolio Partners, and the recruitment of new advisors to the firm. 

Alltius 

Alltius announced the launch of its new Gen AI suite tailored for financial services sales and customer support. 

Alltius’ Gen AI platform, which is built on decades of research from Carnegie Mellon University and the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania, helps organizations transform their customer and employee experiences with accurate and skillful AI assistants for sales, support, product discovery and self-service. With the new product suite, financial institutions can rely on a Gen AI platform with enhanced security measures, financial domain expertise while adhering to strict info-sec requirements. 

Leading financial institutions like Assurance IQ have partnered with Alltius to improve their contact center experience. Assurance IQ used Alltius’ Sales Assistants to ramp up new agents within 2 months as opposed to 6 months earlier. “One of the best [platforms] we have seen in the market. Also, they are one of the best teams we have worked with among our vendors after trying this ourselves for 2 years,” said Nick Howard, CTO, Assurance IQ. 

Ascend 

Ascend announced its strategic partnership with Mylo, an insurtech leader connecting individuals and business owners with top-rated insurance products from over a hundred carriers across multiple coverage lines. 

An Orange Partner of Vertafore, Ascend aims to partner with AMS360 agencies like Mylo to further advance the modernization of the industry’s financial infrastructure integrations that complement Vertafore’s suite of products, improving processes, simplifying workflows and driving new business. 

The collaboration between Mylo and Ascend streamlines operations, reduces manual efforts, and ensures a customized client experience. The unique combination of Ascend’s financial automation platform and Mylo’s guided insurance buying experience marks an exciting milestone in the insurance industry that will drive growth, customer satisfaction, and profitability. 

BetaNXT 

BetaNXT announced that, as part of the company’s planned leadership transition, Robert Santella will become Chief Executive Officer effective July 1, 2024. He will take over from Stephen C. Daffron, who will remain involved with the firm as Executive Chairman. BetaNXT is backed by Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. (“Clearlake”) and Motive Partners. 

Mr. Santella, who possesses more than 30 years of experience in the Trading Technologies and WealthTech spaces, has been CEO of IPC Systems, a provider of secure, compliant communications and multi-cloud connectivity solutions for the financial markets since April 2018. 

Prior to IPC, Mr. Santella served in several positions at SunGard Financial Systems, beginning as Chief Operating Officer of the Broker-Dealer Group and later becoming President of Global Trading. He continued to serve as President of Global Trading at FIS after the latter acquired SunGard in 2015. Earlier in his career, Mr. Santella was COO and President of Fox River Execution and SAM Investments. Mr. Santella earned a B.S. in Economics, Accounting, and Finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Broadridge 

Broadridge Financial Solutions announced that it has acquired AdvisorTarget, a market leader in providing asset management and wealth management firms with data products to help power digital marketing, sales and engagement programs targeting financial advisors. Adding AdvisorTarget’s unique advisor insight to Broadridge’s existing data and analytics suite will enable asset managers to better target advisors and drive their growth strategies. 

Broadridge fuels market intelligence for asset managers providing insights on retail and institutional fund distribution globally using data derived from its proprietary business processes. Using unique quantitative and qualitative datasets as well as insights and advisory solutions delivered by a team of industry experts, Broadridge delivers asset managers the critical insight necessary to operate strategically, allocate resources effectively, and accelerate growth. 

AdvisorTarget collects advisor behavioral intent data and helps asset managers identify new advisor relationships where purchase intent aligns with product strengths. 

iCapital 

Pantheon and iCapital have announced a global partnership to distribute Pantheon open-ended products in the wealth management channel. 

With a 40-year track record for innovation and value creation in private markets, Pantheon invests across the full lifecycle of investments through secondary, direct co-investment and primary fund commitments, with specialist capabilities and expertise spanning private equity, real assets and private credit. Since launching its first listed private markets fund in 1987, Pantheon has been at the forefront of opening access to private markets to a wider range of investors, and it now offers a range of evergreen solutions with a combined $7bn in assets under management2. 

Providing a complete suite of technology and structuring capabilities, iCapital will help deliver enhanced access to Pantheon’s evergreen offerings globally, including the firm’s first open-ended, semi-liquid private equity offering available outside of the US, targeting markets with growing demand across Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. 

J.P. Morgan 

J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing continues to roll out enhancements to help clients make informed decisions, build a diversified portfolio and keep a pulse on their performance. With the latest capability, investors can buy a fraction of a stock or exchange-traded fund for as little as $5. 

Clients can access J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing on the Chase Mobile app or on chase.com and now trade over 800 stocks and ETFs, based on a dollar amount, with no commissions. The online platform offers a seamless banking and investing experience. Clients can trade, access research, and manage investments, bank accounts, credit cards, auto loans and mortgages conveniently from one place. They can also easily transfer money between their bank accounts and J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing accounts. 

J.D. Power named J.P. Morgan Wealth Management the #1 Digital Experience for Wealth Management Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction. 

OneVest 

OneVest announced the launch of its Model Portfolio Marketplace, featuring a suite of model portfolios constructed using BlackRock’s iShares exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This marks BlackRock as the first asset manager to offer model portfolios in OneVest’s Model Marketplace, which provides a seamless technology delivery along with a curated selection of institutionally managed investment solutions to financial institutions. 

As one of the world’s leading providers of investment, advisory and risk management solutions, BlackRock and its suite of iShares Strategic Allocation ETF Models provide OneVest customers with an all-in-one, multi-asset, globally diversified, and low-cost investing experience. 

OneVest’s new Model Marketplace is unique in the industry, as it is integrated into OneVest’s configurable wealth management platform. This enables personalization of experiences across investor segments and enterprise channels, while supported by powerful Unified Managed Account technology capabilities on the back-end. 

Pontera 

Empire State Realty Trust announced that it signed a new, long term lease with Pontera Solutions, Inc. for a 40,679 square foot space at the Empire State Building. Pontera – a fintech company that specializes in software for financial advisors to manage retirement accounts –- will relocate from their current 10,539 square foot space at ESRT’s 111 W. 33rd Street. 

The Empire State Building is a fully modernized landmark that offers newly built office space equipped with ESRT’s premier indoor environmental quality and sustainability measures. The building houses more than 65,000 square feet of amenities which include a tenant-only fitness center, conference center, seven in-building dining options, and the soon-to-open Empire Lounge that will include a 400+ person all-hands space, basketball/pickleball court, and two golf simulators. ESRT recently announced new retail leases at the Empire State Building with Ghirardelli and Samurice. 

Wealth.com 

Wealth.com has joined forces with Facet, the consumer subscription fintech company that is building the future of financial planning. This collaboration not only equips Facet’s planners with next-gen estate planning tools, but also delivers added value to its members by providing a simple and seamless way to keep their estate plans up-to-date. Facet members continue to benefit from a holistic financial planning experience, empowering them to take charge of vital aspects like asset distribution, guardianship and healthcare decisions. 

In a landscape where more than one in three Americans believe their assets don’t justify an estate plan, Facet has partnered with wealth.com to demonstrate that financial status shouldn’t prevent their members from securing a legacy for themselves and their loved ones. The timeliness of this partnership is highlighted by recent data collected by Facet’s Annual Wellness Report, indicating that 67 percent of its surveyed respondents do not have estate planning documents. When considering those with documents older than five years, this concern escalates to 78 percent of respondents that either lack any estate planning or possess potentially outdated documents. This potentially places their health, wealth and families at risk, underscoring the vital need for estate planning services as part of a holistic approach to financial well-being. 

9Spokes 

9Spokes, a white-labeled data platform, has announced a strategic partnership with Akoya, a leader in the growing U.S. open banking ecosystem. This alliance is set to significantly widen the range of financial insights available to clients and their small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) customers via the 9Spokes’ platform, thereby bolstering their decision-making and financial management capabilities. 

Through this partnership, 9Spokes has connected to Akoya’s data access network to enable a direct, secure, and efficient method for accessing consumer permissioned financial data. 9Spokes’ clients and their SMB customers can now tap into enriched financial insights from over 800+ leading banks across the world. This direct connectivity through Akoya’s secure APIs facilitates a comprehensive view of a business’ financial data, crucial for deepening analysis and advancing strategic planning. 

The partnership is expected to provide 9Spokes’ users with a wider array of financial insights and analytics, enhancing operational efficiencies, reducing costs, and improving overall business performance using accurate, real-time financial data. 

11thEstate 

11thEstate has announced the successful closing of a $2 million seed round. The round was led by top-tier fintech fund Social Leverage, known for backing successful fintech giants such as Robinhood, Alpaca, and Stocktwits. 

11thEstate was founded by Stan Vick, a 20-year investment veteran, after he lost a $1.5 million investment in a biotech stock caught up in an alleged securities fraud. 

Since its launch, 11th Estate has helped investors claim over $100 million across major cases like Apple, Google, and FTX. It has partnered with TradingView, empowering the world’s largest trading social network to help its 550 million users in investment recovery. 11thEstate’s AI-driven engine scans the global markets for any available investor compensation, matches it online with the users’ portfolio, submits all the necessary paperwork, and delivers the payout directly to the client’s account.