Wealthtech Roundup: Schwab, Envestnet, Surge Ventures, Black Diamond  And More

Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

Schwab Hosts IMPACT As Orion Integrates, Surge Ventures Launches RegVerse, Snappy Kraken Partners With LPL, RiXtrema Rolls Out RemAI, Elements Plans RIA Launch, Smartleaf Surpasses $50 Billion, Advyzon Partners With RightCapital, Envestnet Partners With First Command And SS&C Launches Black Diamond CRM Module

In this edition of the Wealthtech Roundup, we speak with our newest Wealthtech Leader of the Month, Alison Dooher, Managing Director of Digital Advisor Solutions for Schwab Advisor Services, about the annual Schwab IMPACT conference.

Other entries this month include Orion enhancing its Schwab custodial integration, Surge Ventures launching RegVerse, Snappy Kraken partnering with LPL Financial on access to its complete marketing system, RiXtrema launching RemAI to speed up financial and investment research for advisors, Elements launching an RIA to partner with advisors on serving low-asset clients, Smartleaf exceeding $50 billion in assets, Advyzon and RightCapital enhancing their integration for data flow and scenario analysis, and Envestnet partnering with First Command Financial Services to extend the wealthtech platform to military clients.

1. Schwab Discusses IMPACT Conference, Custody Trends And 2024 Tech To Watch

Alison Dooher, Managing Director of Digital Advisor Solutions, Schwab Advisor Services

Schwab Advisor Services hosted thousands of attendees, many of them financial advisors, at its 2023 Schwab IMPACT conference from Oct. 24 to Oct. 26 in Philadelphia. IMPACT is for independent RIA and independent recordkeeper clients of Charles Schwab & Co., including advisors who formerly custodied with TD Ameritrade Institutional.

And now for our Q&A with Alison Dooher, Managing Director of Digital Advisor Solutions for Schwab Advisor Services.

WSR: What were some of the tech-focused highlights for financial advisors and wealth management firms at the recent Schwab IMPACT 2023 Conference?

Dooher: Schwab Advisor Services announced that Model Market Center, the industry’s first model portfolio marketplace, pioneered by TD Ameritrade, is available on Schwab Advisor Center. The tool, a technology solution that enables advisors to tap into more than 500 asset allocation models from more than 50 leading money managers, marks the latest milestone in Schwab’s efforts to build the industry’s leading custody platform for registered independent advisors.

In addition to company news, there were numerous sessions dedicated to highlighting Schwab’s advisory and wealth management technology – Advisor Services’ tech roadmap and tech stacks; Schwab’s iRebal, Model Market Center, and Move Money capabilities; digital onboarding experience for pledged asset lines; digital workflows to increase efficiency and enhance security, and more.

In 2024, there will be a strong focus on merging the now wider breadth of platform capabilities into a truly easy-to-use ecosystem.

WSR: What major technology trends is Schwab seeing in the RIA custody space, and how is Schwab working to stay on top of those custody trends for firms?

Dooher: The biggest trend we’re observing right now is the proliferation of data and analytics use cases. RIAs have already successfully leveraged data to support improved efficiency and customer service; we’ve seen them tap into data-driven insights to enhance personalization for their clients, inform portfolio management decisions, and anticipate next best steps for their clients. And while there’s more to do in utilizing core data and automation for scale, there are also many emerging trends in the data world that will likely have profound implications for advisors – particularly in the realm of AI and machine learning.

Our approach to staying abreast of these trends – and to ensuring that we offer the most up-to-date support and guidance possible – is rooted in advisor feedback. Part of what drives our decision-making process, when it comes to upgrading our technology offerings, is deeply understanding what our advisors need to be successful. That direct input – how they use technology, where the pain points lie – allows us to invest in the right short- and long-term solutions to support their growth and success.

WSR: Looking to 2024, how can advisors and their firms most effectively and efficiently incorporate best-of-breed technology into their platforms?

Dooher: RIAs should always start with the question, “Will this solution help me maximize time with my clients or create additional value for them?” Technology should be used, first and foremost, to streamline the most onerous aspects of running a firm so that advisors can refocus their time on deepening client relationships or tools that drive an increased value proposition. If a product or solution doesn’t help them meet these goals, it likely isn’t going to drive meaningful ROI. This approach helps advisors sort through the noise and zero in on the technologies that will have the greatest business impact.

In addition, advisors shouldn’t be shy about tapping into the resources their custodians offer them to navigate the sprawling advisor tech ecosystem. Custodians can be powerful partners in helping advisors identify which solutions will help maximize ROI, minimize headaches, and level up their firm’s capabilities.

2. Orion Unveils Schwab Custodial, Trading And Client Portal Upgrades At IMPACT

Natalie Wolfsen, CEO, Orion

Orion Advisor Solutions unveiled enhancements to its Schwab Advisor Services custodial integration, with real-time data and a new Advisor Trading experience that features automated Schwab money market fund investing and upgraded advisor trading workflows. The announcement occurred during the Schwab IMPACT conference.

Advisor Trading enables handling requests, reviews and trade execution without switching back to the advisor’s custodial system, and integrates into Redtail and the Orion Advisor Portal. Orion also implemented a single sign-on integration between the Orion Client Portal and Schwab Alliance, the Schwab Advisor Services portal for advisors’ clients.

“The upcoming launch of Orion’s custodial dashboard is a game-changer for our advisors who custody with Schwab,” said Orion CEO Natalie Wolfsen. “This deeper integration gives advisors access to real-time custodian data, eliminating the need to toggle between the Orion and Schwab platforms. Advisors will be freed up to serve their clients and scale their businesses.”

3. Surge Ventures Launches RegVerse, Unveils AI-Powered Avery Platform

Sid Yenamandra, Co-Founder, Surge Ventures and CEO, RegVerse

Surge Ventures, a venture studio initially targeting the financial services and wealth management space with the goal of bringing multiple software-as-a-service (SaaS) startups to market by addressing emerging compliance risks, launched its first venture, RegVerse.

The offering’s flagship product is Avery, which is designed to enhance regulatory change management and tracking of firmwide compliance protocols for RIAs, broker-dealers, banks, hedge funds, mutual funds and insurance agencies. Avery leverages generative artificial intelligence to act as a “regulatory co-pilot” for compliance teams by automating operational processes and providing 24/7 personalized guidance.

“Navigating intricate regulations presents an ongoing challenge for firms of all sizes,” said Sid Yenamandra, Co-Founder of Surge Ventures and CEO of RegVerse. “Avery’s blend of AI-powered insights and human support empowers firms to effectively track and implement best practices, reducing risks and ensuring stringent compliance with ease.”

4. Snappy Kraken’s Complete Marketing System Now Available To All LPL Advisors

Robert Sofia, CEO, Snappy Kraken

Ormond Beach, Florida-based Snappy Kraken – which provides marketing automation, campaigns and online advertising solutions for financial services firms – partnered with LPL Financial to enable its approximately 22,000 affiliated advisors to use Snappy Kraken’s complete marketing system.

Snappy Kraken services available through LPL’s Vendor Affinity Program include the Freedom360 marketing management system for advisors to strengthen client relationships and book appointments with prospects; content and automation with AI tools; personalized website creation; as well as a six-step strategy for increasing marketing return on investment.

“During the nearly 10-year working relationship with our website division, LPL has been a stellar partner – and we are pleased to extend the breadth of our tools to this group,” said Snappy Kraken CEO Robert Sofia. “This is great news for LPL advisors because Snappy Kraken’s full contribution to growth is unlocked when our websites and marketing automation are used together, such as with our Freedom360 full-service marketing program.”

5. RiXtrema Rolls Out RemAI, Seeking 10x Faster Financial And Investment Research

Daniel Satchkov, President and Co-Founder, RiXtrema

New York-based RiXtrema, which provides AI-based financial analysis and communication tools, is launching RemAI. The product aims for its large language model to make conducting financial and investment research 10 times faster for financial advisors, retirement plan advisors, asset managers and day traders.

The goal is for users to ask questions and receive near-instant answers with explanations, data and charts. RiXtrema will host a live webinar session for RemAI on Nov. 9. Capabilities for the company’s other products – AdvisorAI 2.0 for financial advisors and 401kAI 2.0 for retirement plan advisors – include quick analysis of large portfolios or 401(k) plans, recognition of PDFs, and data privacy for users.

“People talk about ChatGPT and its relation to finance all the time, but ChatGPT is completely useless for finance,” said RiXtrema President and Co-Founder Daniel Satchkov.

6. Elements Prepares RIA Partnership With Advisors To Serve Low-Asset Clients

Reese Harper, CEO, Elements

Elements, a financial assessment software designed to help financial professionals demonstrate their value and win new clients, is launching Elements Money, an RIA through which the company will partner and co-brand with advisors to serve clients who may not meet the minimum assets under management (AUM) requirements. The new offering uses the Elements scorecard and mobile app.

When Elements makes referrals to advisors, they can assess the client’s situation and provide guidance during meetings without conducting extensive work beforehand. It includes a free Basic Membership for individuals who have questions but are not ready for paid advice, and a paid Premium Membership for individuals who want to transition to full-service financial planning.

“Elements has developed this creative model in response to advisors’ feedback,” said Elements CEO Reese Harper. “With this in mind, we’ve created a platform where advisors can offer their prospects or clients a more cost-effective option for guidance while still maintaining a presence in the relationship.”

7. Smartleaf Platform For Automated, Customized Rebalancing Surpasses $50 Billion

Gerard Michael, President, Smartleaf

Smartleaf exceeded $50 billion in total AUM across accounts ranging from custom-tailored $100 million taxable accounts to $5 robo accounts with fractional shares. Founded in 1999, the provider of automated, customized rebalancing systems strives to streamline personalization and tax optimization for advisors and investors.

The platform seeks to minimize the time client-facing advisors spend on rebalancing and trading. Smartleaf users can customize portfolios by selecting choices from pull-down menus, and the platform allows advisors to illustrate tax and risk implications of customization choices. It aims to make direct indexing as user-friendly as exchange-traded fund (ETF) investing.

“This latest milestone is a testament to the trust our clients have placed in us and the unwavering dedication of our team,” said Smartleaf President Gerard Michael. “Our strategic roadmap includes expanding our advisor portal, enhancing functionality, and integrating with more custodians to ensure we consistently deliver the best outcomes for advisors and their clients.”

8. Advyzon And RightCapital Enhance Integration For Data Flow, Scenario Analysis

Dirk Pearson, Chief Product Officer, Advyzon

Advyzon, a cloud-based wealthtech and investment management platform for independent advisors and RIAs, enhanced its integration with the RightCapital financial planning software platform. It connects information to client plans, allows advisors to import client profiles from Advyzon into RightCapital, sends RightCapital reports to Advyzon, allows investment account and life insurance data to sync from Advyzon to RightCapital, and a single sign-on lets users log in from Advyzon to RightCapital without separate credentials.

Other features include adding RightCapital’s Probability of Success widget to Advyzon’s client dashboard and client portal, which displays Monte Carlo simulation results for various client asset level, investment value and retirement plan scenarios. Advyzon serves nearly 1,400 wealth management firms, and thousands of advisors use RightCapital software.

“We’re excited to announce these enhancements to our software integration with RightCapital, furthering our mission of empowering Advyzon’s advisors and end investors with the invaluable tools and data insights needed to confidently navigate their clients’ financial journeys, at scale,” said Dirk Pearson, Chief Product Officer at Advyzon. “This upgraded integration offers seamless access to key plan metrics and documents from within Advyzon, delivering an even more holistic overview of the end investor’s financial picture.”

9. Envestnet Partners With First Command, Extending Platform To Military Clients

Tom Sipp, Executive Vice President, Envestnet Business Lines

Envestnet partnered with First Command Financial Services to provide its network of advisors access to Envestnet’s reporting and portfolio management capabilities, CRM integration, tax-overlay optimization, financial planning tools through Envestnet | MoneyGuide, and data aggregation through Envestnet | Yodlee.

In addition to other services, Fort Worth, Texas-based First Command offers complimentary financial plans to active military service members and their immediate families through more than 170 offices worldwide, many of which are located near U.S. military installations. Its subsidiaries include First Command Brokerage Services, First Command Advisory Services and First Command Bank.

“We’re seeing more and more organizations looking to consolidate and streamline both the technology and solutions their advisors utilize to provide a unified client experience,” said Tom Sipp, Executive Vice President, Envestnet Business Lines. “First Command is doing so by tapping into the entirety of the Envestnet ecosystem as a single and seamless platform that offers greater efficiencies and scale for their business.”

10. SS&C Launches Black Diamond CRM Module As Complement To Salentica Solutions

Steve Leivent, Co-General Manager, SS&C Advent

SS&C Technologies launched the Black Diamond CRM module as an integration into the SS&C Black Diamond Wealth Platform. The Black Diamond CRM module aims to reduce the technology maintenance burden on advisors and their firms, while complementing SS&C’s existing CRM solutions, Salentica Elements and Salentica Engage.

It supports single and multi-custodial workflows; strives to minimize manual data transfers and synchronize contacts, events and tasks between CRM and email solutions such as Outlook and Gmail; and has a workflow manager for streamlining and automating business processes through templates, approvals and checklists.

“Black Diamond CRM incorporates robust CRM capabilities into SS&C’s Black Diamond Wealth Platform and brings the power of the leading enterprise CRM platform to advisory firms of all sizes to fit their business,” said Steve Leivent, Co-General Manager, SS&C Advent. “This latest enhancement complements Black Diamond’s ongoing momentum, which recently brought to market a model marketplace, financial planning and proposal generation functionality.”

Chris Latham, Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at clatham@wealthsolutionsreport.com

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