As 2021 concludes, new wealthtech, regtech and cybersecurity initiatives continue to dominate the broader fintech wealth management space
As 2021 comes to a close, I would like to echo Larry’s sentiments. The growth and evolution of Wealth Solutions Report could not have been achieved without the interest and participation of all of our readers. Thank you all!
Our Bizarre Industry Bazaar, Newsmakers Roundup compilations, and most recently, our roundup of recruiting, M&A and leadership team changes via Transitions, Transactions & Promotions, have been consistently well-received by the members of our WSR community.
Along the way we’ve received multiple requests from firms, advisors and third-party solutions providers for a dedicated wealthtech / fintech news roundup on an ongoing basis – And as always, we’re happy to oblige our readers!
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the top fintech headlines from the last few months that each speak to a broader trend or theme that wealth management industry participants would be well-advised to notice.
1) 1.6M Robinhood Users on Crypto Wallet Wait List
“Zero-commission brokerage Robinhood Markets has a large base of eager users ready to tap its cryptocurrency wallet, expected to launch early next year, according to news reports.”
As the moniker goes: “Not your keys? Not your coins.” While Robinhood has lowered the entry barriers to getting exposure to cryptocurrency, the biggest knock is that until you have the option to send your crypto to a decentralized wallet, you never actually own your crypto.
Enter the Robinhood cryptocurrency wallet, which will allow users to do exactly that. This is the next step to allow users to stake and transact with their crypto, rather than to just buy and sell.
To read the full article by Alex Padalka of Financial Advisor IQ, please click here.
2) Robinhood hit by data breach exposing emails, names of 7M users
“The online trading platform said that it believes no Social Security numbers, bank account numbers or debit-card numbers were exposed.”
While we are talking about Robinhood, here is the latest hit to their reputation. This year has been quite the ride for Robinhood. They were the center of attention in January as they halted trading on meme stocks, came under heavy scrutiny for “gamifying” the world of investing, went through their IPO, and now have been the subject of a data breach exposing millions of their customers names and emails.
Please click here to go to the NBC News website to view the press release.
3) Ritholtz, WisdomTree Launch Crypto Index for Investment Advisors
“Ritholtz Wealth Management and WisdomTree Investments are launching the RWM WisdomTree Crypto Index to give retail investors easier access to crypto investments via financial advisors, the companies announced Friday.
The Index holds 36% bitcoin, 20% ether and 4% each of 11 “other cryptoassets that provide exposure to the broader crypto ecosystem,” according to a statement.”
There has been a lot of buzz about Bitcoin ETFs recently. Far superior in my mind are funds such as these which provide exposure to multiple crypto assets beyond the marketcap giants Bitcoin and Ether. Holding the underlying asset rather than trading off of futures is also a plus.
To read the full article by Michael Bellusci of CoinDesk, please click here.
4) Practifi Welcomes Tim Highland as Head of Professional Services
“Practifi, a business management platform for high-performing wealth institutions, broker-dealers and RIAs, today announced Tim Highland has joined the company as head of professional services. In this role, Highland will lead Practifi’s professional services team in onboarding clients, implementing new projects and enhancing the client journey.”
Tim Highland is a well-respected figure within the industry, having served with both Skience and Docupace previously. His expertise will surely be an asset to Practifi’s clients as well as the platform itself.
Asked about how he is settling in at Practifi, Tim responded:
“Since joining Practifi in August, we’ve quickly grown our professional services and implementation team to add even more value to our prospects and clients. In the past four months, we’ve streamlined our communications and systems to better enhance the client experience and added seven new team members dedicated to client service and support.”
“Professional services is the beginning of a client’s journey at Practifi and we as a team want to make sure we are providing an excellent experience that leads to client success and long-term partnerships. Our work in professional services will only continue to grow and evolve.”
Please click here to see the press release announcing this addition to the company’s leadership team.
5) Meet the World’s First AI-Powered Wine Robo Advisor – Vinovest Unveils New Mobile App
“Vinovest, a digital platform democratizing access to the previously exclusive world of fine wine investing, today announces the release of its new iOS and Android apps, delivering the first mobile platform for investors to build, track and analyze their own fully-insured wine portfolios. As the world clamors for more choice and access to alternative investments (alts), Vinovest delivers access to an asset class traditionally available to less than 1% of all investors.”
Vinovest, a digital platform for investing in a managed portfolio of fine wines, announced the release of its new iOS and Android apps. This launch marks the first mobile platform for investors to build, track and analyze their own fully-insured wine portfolios.
With demand for alternatives increasing, Vinovest may prove to be ahead of the curve. It’s certainly an asset class I don’t mind partaking in.
To read the press release, please click here.
6) Entreda Launches Credential Theft Monitoring To Scan The Dark Web For Client Firms’ Compromised Login Credentials
“Entreda, an award-winning developer of integrated cybersecurity software and solutions for regulated industries, today announced the launch of Credential Theft Monitoring, a proprietary solution that automatically and continuously scans the dark web for client firms’ compromised logins and passwords, then alerts users and provides remediation plans based on the risk exposure.”
The Dark Web conjures a mental image of a digital underground of villains and thieves. Technology such as this is the key to limiting risks of cybercrime. Also worth noting that Entreda is an autonomous subsidiary of Smarsh, a Portland, OR-headquartered, global regtech firm focused on supporting financial institutions and wealth management firms.
Please click here to view the press release announcing the launch of these new capabilities.
7) CogniCor Launches Wealth Management Knowledge Graph
“The Palo Alto-based AI-enabled digital assistant platform provider for the wealth management and insurance industries, CogniCor, recently launched a first of its kind “knowledge graph” for the wealth management industry to support its range of digital assistants..”
Hot on the heels of CogniCor’s first-ever knowledge graph for insurance companies comes a new knowledge graph giving AI-enabled digital assistants a leg up on context and background gathering to support RIAs and IBDs, thus streamlining learning and integration.
A knowledge graph groups together firm and industry specific topics/terminology/content to strengthen AI algorithms.
To read the full article by Cindy Taylor, please click here to go to the Digital Wealth News website.
8) Snappy Kraken Introduces New Marketing Opportunity Score Assessment for Advisory Firms
“Snappy Kraken, a MarTech leader serving financial services professionals, announced today its new Marketing Opportunity Score Assessment, a personalized and free tool firms can use to determine their marketing weaknesses and opportunities coupled with suggestions of how to remedy those areas.”
Snappy Kraken has introduced a 28 question survey that helps define and quantify the impact marketing has on profits and provide an action plan based on the firm’s status and challenges.
“There are many firms that know they need to do more with their marketing but struggle to start because there are so many possible directions to go,” explains Angel Gonzalez, Snappy Kraken’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Not knowing how to move forward can be paralyzing or lead to poor decisions. The Snappy Kraken Marketing Opportunity Score is exciting because it gives firms a look in the marketing mirror, benchmarked against the marketing activities of the top 25 percent of advisors getting results from online marketing, accompanied by proven tips to refine and build on these areas.”
To read the company’s press release, please click here.
9) Riskalyze Announces Home Office Intel Tool And Overhauls Software
“Riskalyze wrapped up its 2021 Fearless Investing Summit on Friday in Palm Springs, Calif., a three-day event for approximately 800 in-person attendees and almost 2,000 viewing the event remotely. Among the bevy of speakers and training sessions, Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein announced enhancements to speed up data processing within the firm’s software, as well as a business intelligence tool called Command Center.”
Riskalyze’s Command Center is a new business intelligence tool designed for home offices that acts as a “home-base for enterprise firms who are levering Riskalyze technology for their advisors.” Utilizing Regulation Best Interest standards, the tool helps sort and identify clients with mismatched risk objectives.
To read the full article by Samuel Steinberger of WealthManagement, please click here.
10) PGIM to acquire direct indexing firm Green Harvest
“PGIM Investments, the global investment management arm of Prudential Financial, said Tuesday it agreed to acquire Green Harvest Asset Management, a separately managed account platform that serves high-net-worth investors.
Green Harvest Asset Management, an SMA platform that offers custom solution indexing and tax loss harvesting solutions for high-net-worth investors, agreed to be acquired by PGIM Investments under the Prudential umbrella.
Also worth noting: The leading international investment bank focused on financial services, Berkshire Global Advisors, served as financial advisor to Green Harvest for the transaction, with the deal team led by rising wealth management M&A star Bomy Hagopian, Partner at Berkshire. Said Bomy:
“The acquisition of Green Harvest Asset Management with its unique tax loss harvesting capabilities and customized solutions demonstrates PGIM Investment’s commitment to meeting the evolving complex needs of high-net-worth clients. The recent M&A transactions in the direct indexing space illustrate that industry leaders understand the shifting market dynamics and are positioning themselves to compete aggressively in this space.”
To read the full article by Palash Ghosh of Pensions & Investments, please click here.
James Miller, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at ContributingEd@wealthsolutionsreport.com