SS&C Advent Black Diamond On Wealthtech’s Role in M&A Dealmaking

Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

Jen Becher, Vice President Of Black Diamond Client Experience, Discusses Why The Wealthtech Provider Participated In The ECHELON Partners Deals & Dealmakers Summit

SS&C Advent recently served as a sponsor at the ECHELON Partners Deals & Dealmakers Summit, which was held from August 29 to August 30 at the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, California. Black Diamond launched in 2005, was acquired by Advent in 2011, and Advent was acquired by SS&C in 2015.  We spoke with Jen Becher, Vice President of Black Diamond Client Experience, about why the wealthtech provider participated in the annual wealth management M&A conference, how software factors into M&A dealmaking, and what platform enhancements the company has in the pipeline for advisors and their firms.

WSR: Why did SS&C Advent / Black Diamond participate in the ECHELON DDM Summit?

Becher: In short, this is a great opportunity to connect with leadership of several large, successful M&A-focused RIAs and advisor platforms (many of whom are already SS&C clients) in a small setting. It’s also an opportunity to sit in the sessions so we can stay up to speed on M&A trends in the industry and connect with other third party providers (custodians, technology, bankers, etc.) in our ecosystem.

WSR: When it comes to advisory M&A, how does having a strong digital wealth platform help firms when making deals with buyers or sellers?

Jen Becher, Vice President, Black Diamond Client Experience

Becher: Probably no surprise but we believe that anyone interested to sell should focus on modernizing their business including their technology stack. Investments in capabilities like digital investor communication, modern CRM workflows and automated rebalancing / trading make a practice more efficient and ultimately more valuable. Just like selling a house, modern updates will always command a higher price than one being sold “as is.”

For a buyer, especially one that uses acquisition as a core growth strategy, having a single, modern platform does a few things:

Operational efficiency: Having all teams on a shared infrastructure makes centralized day-to-day operations (such as trading, compliance and client meeting prep) more efficient as your support teams only need to learn a single system.

Economies of scale: Our capabilities are typically priced on a usage model where we build in tiered savings with growth. The largest firms can get the best rates on capabilities, which help to drive down marginal costs per advisor and/or client.

Consistent client experience: When building a brand through acquisition, there is a risk that the end clients have varying experiences. Solving the interaction with the end clients should be at the top of the list to solve.

Attract growth oriented M&A targets: Great firms that prioritize organic growth run modern platforms. You don’t want to be in a position where a small “tuck-in” has superior capabilities to run its practice. If you want the leadership of these types of firms to stay, you need to invest in great tools.

WSR: What platform enhancements has SS&C Advent / Black Diamond recently rolled out, or will roll out soon, to help advisors and their firms?

Becher: SS&C serves more than 3,000 wealth oriented firms across our capabilities ranging from small RIAs through some of the nation’s largest independent broker-dealers and banks.  Black Diamond continues to be the leading solution for advisors, but we have also built and purchased several other leading capabilities.

These include Salentica, a modern CRM built on the Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics chassis; Innovest, a trust accounting and beneficiary payments platform for trust companies and banks; RCI for risk and compliance; The Learning Institute, a digital advisor training and continuing education platform; and Rendezvous, a model marketplace and outsourced CIO capabilities through ALPS Advisors.

In order to earn the right to keep this business and win new clients, we need to keep investing and iterating. We are investing across the platform including in all of the products mentioned above. However, two things to highlight that we’re excited about are as follows.

Salentica recently released a new feature called Deals. This is a pipeline and due diligence CRM module targeted at serial acquirers, where acquisition related materials can be centralized and memorialized across multiple users in a tool they already use each day. Think of it as a pipeline management capability for the purchase of a business.

Black Diamond recently released a planning capability by which we can integrate data and content from other leading planning tools (like MoneyGuide Pro & RightCapital) so that a holistic client dialogue about the past, present and future can happen in a single tool. In addition to supporting integrations from leading providers, we released native calculations in the hopes that our clients will use this capability to expand the number of investors who get a comprehensive plan.

Chris Latham, Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at

Related Posts

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Sign Up for Our Newsletters