From How Interest Rate Hikes Are Impacting M&A And Alternative Investments, To Our Pathfinder and Exemplar Awards, Here Are The Top 10 WSR Stories Of 2022
Last year brought significant growth to the Wealth Solutions Report audience, as we covered trends and developments affecting the wealth management industry from almost every conceivable angle. Thank you for your support. With that in mind, here are our top 10 stories of 2022, listed in chronological order.
We chose them based on a combination of audience engagement, timeliness, the level of actionable intelligence they provided, as well as the notoriety of the financial firms and professionals featured in these stories. We hope you enjoy this quick look back.
1. M&A Roundtable: Could Rising Interest Rates Drive Higher Valuations For Independent Broker-Dealers?
In January 2022, before the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates at the fastest pace in decades, we wanted to understand how and to what extent these changes impact IBD valuations, especially in comparison with RIA firms that typically receive higher valuations despite similar size. To get what turned out to be impressively prescient answers, we conducted a roundtable with Derek Bruton, Senior Managing Director at Gladstone Group; Brett Mulder, Vice President of ECHELON Partners; and Adam Malamed, President and CEO of Ajax Investment Partners.
2. The Future Of Wealth Management Workflow Automation
In February, we published the results of a WSR Survey on the Future of Workflow Automation. We asked a diverse segment of our readers who are C-suite decision-makers at large independent broker-dealers as well as RIA aggregators whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements about workflow automation. We discovered that workflow automation attracts advisors and clients, cuts costs and increases efficiencies, while machine learning and data capabilities will drive further innovation.
3. Russia’s War In Ukraine Should Have Firms And Advisors Beefing Up Cyber Protections
In March, Advisor Group Chief Information Security Officer Clayton Chandler wrote an opinion piece about the potential cybersecurity impact for U.S. wealth management firms of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He explained how firms can harden their digital defenses by performing an inventory of their business systems, beefing up credential/password protections, performing incident response drills and other best practices.
4. WSR Pathfinder Awards – Top Women Leaders In Wealth Management
Also in March, in celebration of Women’s History Month, WSR recognized the top women leaders in wealth management. We reviewed a wide range of top executives against a robust set of criteria, including their impact on wealth management, charitable activities, years in leadership and recognition within the industry. Our winners were Natalie Wolfsen, CEO of AssetMark; Shannon Spotswood, President of RFG Advisory; and Dr. Sindhu Joseph, Co-Founder and CEO of CogniCor.
5. Ex-Wells Fargo FA Returns From Dead, Ex-LPL Advisor Pretends To Be Taylor Swift Bestie And Other Weird Tales
In May, our own James Miller published one of his most popular Bizarre Industry Bazaar entries to date.
As he put it, “How about an advisor that stole millions in client assets to buy apartments, flashy cars and – yes – school tuition for his girlfriends? What if you quit your job and your former firm told your clients that you died? Or the CEO of a global bank regularly performs as a DJ – and a not very good DJ, at that? And social media influencers are finally banned from giving financial advice – but just in Australia. Plus, Taylor Swift didn’t really support the charity that could make 20% profit in 90 days.”
6. General Partnership Stakes For Institutional And HNW Investors
In August, we interviewed Christopher Zook, the Founder, Chairman and CIO of CAZ Investments, to understand the pros and cons of general partnership (GP) stakes, the types of clients it may suit and how an advisor can get started in GP stakes investing. “We believe GP stakes investments are appropriate for the vast majority of qualified investors, including institutions, endowments and foundations, single and multi-family offices and high net worth investors,” he said.
7. Are Alts Bull Proof? It Depends.
In September, we explored the stock market downturn and whether the next bull market will kill alts or if they have become a permanent fixture for advisors regardless of how equities perform. Experts said that although alts have been integral to the wealth management landscape for some years, which is unlikely to change, advisors and their clients should consider a few innovations to accessing and investing in alts going forward.
8. Recruitment Roundup: Private Advisor Group, WEG And Our New Recruiter Of The Month
Also in September, a popular entry in our Weekly Recruitment Roundup column featured a Q&A profile with our inaugural Recruiter of the Month: Kristen Kimmell, Executive Vice President, Business Development at Advisor Group. The entry also recapped Minnesota-based 360 Financial merging with Fleming Investment Group, Private Advisor Group bringing on AK Financial Group and Wealth Enhancement Group acquiring Sadoff Investment Management.
9. Wealthtech Roundup: GeoWealth, Pontera, Advisor360°, Snappy Kraken And Docupace
In October, our monthly Wealthtech Roundup column featured a Q&A profile with Wealthtech Leader of the Month Colin Falls, President of GeoWealth.
In addition to that company upgrading its turnkey asset management platform (TAMP), the entry covered Pontera appointing startup veteran Nicole Zheng as its first Chief Marketing Officer, Advisor360° enhancing its advisor-client toolkit for the financial planning process, Snappy Kraken integrating data synchronization with three leading customer relationship management (CRM) platforms as well as Docupace expanding its executive and management bench with five key appointments.
10. WSR Announces Inaugural Wealth Exemplar Awards
In December, we launched a new series of invitation-only awards to celebrate the best of the wealth management industry – the WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards. The awards honored outstanding firms across multiple categories, impactful and trend-setting M&A deals and a visionary leading executive who has successfully implemented change in our industry. Among many other worthy winners, Dan Arnold, President & CEO of LPL Financial, was named Person of the Year and we spotlighted his achievements in a special profile.
Chris Latham, Deputy Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org