Wealthtech Roundup: Kwanti, F2, Vestmark, PreciseFP, AdvicePay And More

Christophe Gauthron Of Kwanti Is Our Newest Wealthtech Leader Of The Month. F2 Strategy Acquires SKY Marketing Consultants. Vestmark Partners With Invesco To Reach More RIAs. PreciseFP Integrates With Income Lab On Retirement Plan Creation. AdvicePay Integrates With eMoney Advisor. And Much More!
Wealthtech Leader of the Month Christophe Gauthron, Founder and CEO, Kwanti
Wealthtech Leader of the Month Christophe Gauthron, Founder and CEO, Kwanti

In this edition of the Wealthtech Roundup, we speak with our newest Wealthtech Leader of the Month, Kwanti Founder and CEO Christophe Gauthron, about how portfolio management tools can help advisors win over clients.

Other entries this month include TIFIN AG collaborating with RBC Wealth Management-U.S, Advyzon integrating with Apex Advisor Solutions, Advyzon Investment Management partnering with Nebo Wealth, F2 Strategy acquiring SKY Marketing Consultants, Vestmark partnering with Invesco, Aztec Software acquiring Financial Fitness Group, Nitrogen rolling out enhancements, Orion integrating with DPL Financial Partners, Capitaliz appointing Jared Johnson as President North America, PreciseFP integrating with Income Lab, StratiFi partnering with iQUANT and AdvicePay integrating with eMoney Advisor.

Larry’s Take

Larry Roth, CEO, Wealth Solutions Report
Larry Roth, CEO, Wealth Solutions Report

The latest RIA M&A Deal Report by ECHELON Partners found that 104 wealthtech deals occurred in 2023, up from 96 deals in 2022 but below the 108 deals in 2021. Last year’s deal flow was still much higher than the 48 wealthtech M&A deals in 2020 and the 31 deals in 2019.

When wealthtech firms combine, complementary platforms can gain not only scale but knowhow that can lead to breakthroughs. This in turn can fuel financial advisors’ ability to serve more clients with greater efficiency and safety. Consolidation can only limit competition for so long in this sector, since that opens the door for new rivals to emerge with disruptive innovations.

Today’s roundup includes M&A involving consultancies and financial wellness solutions. Future wealthtech M&A is likely to accelerate useful applications of artificial intelligence. But wealthtech M&A deal participants should always remember that most advisors would prefer providers simply release products that help them save time and money, or better yet make them money.

If you would like to discuss this Larry’s Take further, including how these trends might impact your business, please contact me at larry.roth@rlrstrategicpartners.com.

1. Kwanti CEO Addresses Platform Growth, Advisor Satisfaction And Client Retention

San Francisco-based Kwanti is a recent WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards Wealthtech Firm of the Year winner. The 2024 T3/Inside Information Advisor Software Survey named Kwanti as one of its “Software All-Stars,” highlighting it for investment data / analytics and economic analysis / stress testing.

Kwanti also provides financial advisors and investment managers with prospect conversion, client acquisition and retention, model management and more. Over the past year, the company has released tools for asset screening, model portfolio tracking and tax drag analysis.

Here is our Q&A with Kwanti Founder and CEO Christophe Gauthron.

WSR: How has Kwanti developed its strong reputation for high quality wealthtech solutions in an industry with such intense competition?

Christophe Gauthron, Founder and CEO, Kwanti
Christophe Gauthron, Founder and CEO, Kwanti

Gauthron: Kwanti is 100% employee owned. Free from investors’ demands, we focus entirely on pleasing advisors. We have always and will continue to approach development and innovation with an advisor-first mindset. We don’t need to rush products to market in order to satisfy growth goals or exit strategies.

Our focus is solely on the success of our clients. Rather than pushing sales on them, we listen and let them guide us patiently to well-thought solutions to their challenges. While many software solutions talk about how much they listen to advisor requests, we continually follow through and put the most asked-for items into action.

WSR: How can portfolio analytics and model management tools help advisors with prospect conversion, client satisfaction and client retention?

Gauthron: A successful advisor-client relationship rests on many factors. According to polls, eventually the most important factor for clients is the performance of their investments. Portfolio building and monitoring is the central piece of decision and feedback. Today’s palette of investment choices is wider and more befuddling than ever.

We help advisors choose and explain personal investment choices to their prospects and clients, elegantly showcasing portfolio recommendations to centrally position themselves in client relationships and close business with prospects. In addition, using model management tools frees up time for advisors to focus on providing excellent service and fostering meaningful relationships with their clients.

WSR: What kinds of advisor-facing platform enhancements or product and service launches is Kwanti working on in 2024?

Gauthron: Based on feedback from advisors, we identified several pain points related to prospecting and client onboarding. We’ll be announcing solutions in the first half of this year that will reduce the amount of time spent on back-office tasks related to prospecting, and provide a better engagement process with prospects through an efficient interface. Importantly, these new functions are designed with the elegance and ease-of-use that are Kwanti trademarks.

2. TIFIN AG Expands Collaboration With RBC Wealth Management

Greg Beltzer, Head of Technology, RBC Wealth Management-U.S.
Greg Beltzer, Head of Technology, RBC Wealth Management-U.S.

TIFIN AG and RBC Wealth Management-U.S. (RBC) entered a new phase of collaboration. Now all RBC advisors have access to AI-Powered Insights, which began as a pilot program in August 2023. It uses artificial intelligence to observe client behaviors and patterns, to identify clients whose money may be in motion after a significant financial event.

TIFIN AG spun off from parent company TIFIN in January and appointed a new independent board. In December, another TIFIN company, TIFIN AMP, integrated with BetaNXT to combine TIFIN AMP’s real-time, AI-driven insights with BetaNXT’s connected data capabilities to help asset managers improve fund distribution to financial advisors and wealth management firms.

“RBC Wealth Management-U.S. has been one of the early adopters of TIFIN AG’s AI capabilities to use actionable intelligence to help our 2,100-plus advisors deepen client relationships and grow their practice,” said Greg Beltzer, Head of Technology at RBC Wealth Management-U.S. “The team at TIFIN has been extremely collaborative and innovative in addressing our needs and integrating their advanced models into our CRM and marketing technology stack.”

3. Advyzon Integrates With Apex, AIM Partners With Nebo Wealth

John Mackowiak, Chief Revenue Officer, Advyzon
John Mackowiak, Chief Revenue Officer, Advyzon

Advyzon, a wealthtech and investment management platform for advisors and RIAs, forged a custody and retail investment infrastructure integration with Apex Advisor Solutions, a division of Apex Fintech Solutions offering digital custody and clearing through Apex Clearing Corporation. The integration includes account opening workflows, initial account funding, money movement, custodian fee file submission and Financial Information eXchange (FIX) trading.

Advyzon’s TAMP, Advyzon Investment Management (AIM), also partnered with Nebo Wealth, an open architecture asset management platform, to help RIAs streamline and automate personalized client portfolios. AIM provides automated trading and rebalancing, performance reporting, billing, advisor and client portals, and back-office support for account opening and administration. Nebo Wealth is a subsidiary of the investment manager GMO.

“We’re very excited about our collaboration with Apex and have really enjoyed working with their team throughout the course of building out the integration,” said John Mackowiak, Chief Revenue Officer at Advyzon. “We expect that a lot of what they’re doing is going to be well received within the industry and is cutting edge from an integration perspective.”

4. F2 Strategy Acquires SKY Marketing Consultants

Doug Fritz, CEO and Co-Founder, F2 Strategy
Doug Fritz, CEO and Co-Founder, F2 Strategy

F2 Strategy acquired SKY Marketing Consultants, which provides branding and marketing services for wealth management firms and their advisors. SKY Co-Founder Jeremy Jackson will become F2 Strategy’s Chief Marketing Officer. F2 Strategy CEO and Co-Founder Doug Fritz will lead the teams under the F2 brand. The firm helps complex RIA, wealth, bank/trust and family office firms improve their technical capabilities.

St. Louis-based SKY was founded in 2014 and has grown into a 10-person team. F2 Strategy was founded in 2016 in San Francisco, and is now headquartered in Chicago with additional offices in New York. In June 2023, F2 Strategy acquired Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based consulting and services provider Oakbrook Solutions and received a majority investment from private equity firm Renovus Capital.

“Welcoming the talented team at SKY to F2 Strategy is a key milestone in the expansion of our business,” Fritz said. “From day one, it was clear that our two companies were aligned in our vision for the marketing and technology solutions necessary in today’s wealth management industry.”

5. Vestmark Partners With Invesco To Reach More RIAs

Karl Roessner, CEO, Vestmark
Karl Roessner, CEO, Vestmark

Vestmark partnered with investment management firm Invesco to help RIAs gain more access to custom model portfolios and tax management services. RIAs using new and existing Invesco models can now access the Vestmark VAST portfolio management service, which provides personalization and tax management at scale.

VAST, introduced last year, enables the creation of tailored, tax optimized portfolios that are aligned for each client’s personal situation. Vestmark’s tax transition service also seeks to ensure the tax-efficient transition of legacy positions from other accounts or firms. Vestmark supports more than $1.5 trillion in assets and 5.5 million accounts.

“This partnership marks a significant step toward providing RIAs with innovative portfolio solutions, combining Invesco’s investment experience” with VAST, according to Karl Roessner, Vestmark CEO. “We are confident that this strategic partnership will be a game-changer in the RIA channel.”

6. Financial Fitness Group Acquired By Aztec, To Be Merged With iGrad

Joe Saari, Founder and Chairman, FFG
Joe Saari, Founder and Chairman, FFG

Educational software firm Aztec Software acquired Financial Fitness Group (FFG), which will be merged with Aztec’s iGrad financial literacy platform. Aztec provides educational software for academic upskilling, workforce and job-specific certifications, wealth management and financial literacy. FFG provides interactive financial wellness solutions.

FFG has a longstanding collaboration with Morningstar to provide content to advisors to help educate investors. FFG’s content includes over 200 financial charts and graphics, including its Andex Chart, and 18 FINRA-reviewed financial presentations supported by Morningstar data. iGrad provides AI-based financial wellness solutions to more than 1.2 million learners across 600 colleges and universities, more than 20,000 employers and over 300 financial institutions, as well as other organizations.

“We will continue our long-standing collaboration with Morningstar on the Investing Classroom and Financial Communications Library,” said Joe Saari, Founder and Chairman of FFG, in a statement to WSR. “There will be no immediate changes to the materials we produce using their data. Advisors will have continued access to the trusted financial education and investor education solutions they have come to know and expect.”

7. Nitrogen Introduces ‘Won With Nitrogen’ Metric, Other Platform Updates

Justin Boatman, Chief Product Officer, Nitrogen
Justin Boatman, Chief Product Officer, Nitrogen

Nitrogen rolled out enhancements and updates across its suite of products, including for Command Center, which monitors AUM risk and growth metrics for wealth management firms. One Command Center update introduces “subdomains” for Nitrogen Ultimate users, allowing for the creation of a hierarchical access system within firms.

The Insights Dashboard enhancement provides firm leaders with advisor-specific filtering, to view performance at the overall firm and individual advisor levels, and now has a proprietary “Won With Nitrogen” calculation to show the platform’s impact on asset acquisition. The Reports Builder upgrade for Ignite and Ultimate plan members includes “Brand Colors,” allowing firms to incorporate primary and secondary brand colors into reports.

“Our team has worked tirelessly in the background to create best-in-class products for the benefit of our industry as a whole,” said Justin Boatman, Chief Product Officer at Nitrogen. “We are in the business of equipping firms with the means to make data-driven decisions, optimize performance and ultimately fuel growth.”

8. Orion Expands Integration With DPL On Commission-Free Annuities Marketplace

Brian McLaughlin, President, Orion Advisor Technology
Brian McLaughlin, President, Orion Advisor Technology

Orion Advisor Solutions and DPL Financial Partners (DPL) expanded their integration by providing fee-based financial advisors on the Orion Advisor Technology platform with direct access to DPL’s commission-free annuities marketplace, Product Discovery Tools, and team of licensed insurance consultants.

Advisors will gain access to a lineup of annuities, life insurance, disability and long-term care products, as well as access into DPL’s proprietary tools for finding and comparing annuities by type, benefits and costs. Data feeds from DPL into the Orion Advisor Technology platform allow advisors to manage annuity assets alongside other client investments. DPL’s offering includes products that allow for fiduciary implementation.

“We’re excited to provide thousands of advisors with access to insurance products through Orion’s expanded partnership with DPL,” said Brian McLaughlin, President of Orion Advisor Technology. “In an increasingly competitive advisory environment, advisors have told us that bringing their clients’ insurance under the fiduciary umbrella will help to differentiate their firm and offering.”

9. Capitaliz Appoints Jared Johnson As President, North America

Jared Johnson, President, North America, Capitaliz
Jared Johnson, President, North America, Capitaliz

Capitaliz – a digital platform for business valuation, succession and exit planning that serves business owners, accountants, financial advisors, bankers and business coaches – appointed former Business Enterprise Institute CEO Jared Johnson as President, North America. He will oversee operations, strategy and regional growth. Johnson previously held strategic roles at Convergys, Citibank and AOL.

Capitaliz provides insights and valuation tools to help quantify current business valuation, identify key value drivers and recommend ways to enhance business value. Capitaliz also released findings from its latest Value Potential Index of hundreds of small and midsize businesses. It reports that American businesses are undervalued by 15.1%, due in part to non-existent or poorly structured succession plans.

“Jared’s appointment firmly establishes our company’s foothold in the Americas, marking a significant step in our ongoing investment in the US marketplace and underscores Capitaliz’s commitment to becoming the leading digital solution for exit and succession planning,” said Craig West, Founder and Chairman of Capitaliz.

10. PreciseFP Integrates With Income Lab On Retirement Plan Creation

Richard Thoeny, Executive Vice President – Product Strategy, PreciseFP
Richard Thoeny, Executive Vice President – Product Strategy, PreciseFP

PreciseFP, a client engagement and data gathering platform owned by Docupace, partnered with Income Lab, a retirement distribution planning software for advisors, with the goal of helping advisors save time and streamline the retirement planning process. The integration allows advisors to create a retirement income plan in seconds using data from PreciseFP on clients’ income sources, expenses, assets, liabilities, insurance and other factors.

In July, PreciseFP partnered with LPL Financial to provide access for its more than 21,000 advisors and 1,100 affiliated enterprises to tools designed to streamline and modernize client engagement. The platform shares data through integrations with over 30 wealthtech providers including CRMs such as Wealthbox, Salesforce, Redtail and Advisor Engine; financial planning software such as Asset-Map, Envestnet MoneyGuidePro and eMoney; and other advisor tools including AdvicePay, Pulse360 and FP Alpha.

“Income Lab and PreciseFP are both critical advisor tech tools,” said Richard Thoeny, Executive Vice President – Product Strategy for PreciseFP. “Working together makes the challenging work of sound retirement planning one step easier and I greatly support that.”

11. StratiFi Partners With iQUANT On Investment Modeling

Akhil Lodha, Co-Founder and CEO, StratiFi
Akhil Lodha, Co-Founder and CEO, StratiFi

Risk management platform StratiFi partnered with iQUANT, which provides firms and advisors with investment models for mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, 401(k)s and variable annuities as well as a portfolio optimization tool. As a result of the partnership, mutual customers will have access to nearly 70 custom investment and risk management models at no additional cost.

In February, StratiFi and AdvizorStack formed a strategic partnership to integrate their platforms and collaborate on future enhancements, specifically on risk analytics, compliance oversight and operational efficiencies. In July 2023, StratiFi announced the hiring of Sarah Gribben as Director of Sales and Business Development.

“We’re excited to team with iQUANT,” said Akhil Lodha, CEO of StratiFi. “This latest partnership not only builds on our recent momentum but further illustrates our willingness to continue to deliver added value to our customers.”

12. AdvicePay Integrates With eMoney Advisor

Michael Kitces, Co-Founder, AdvicePay
Michael Kitces, Co-Founder, AdvicePay

AdvicePay, a platform for processing payments and overseeing compliance of fee-for-service financial planning, integrated with eMoney Advisor. Advisors will be able to eliminate tasks such as logging in and creating client profiles in each platform, and will be able to send AdvicePay-generated documents, including planning agreements and invoices, directly to their client’s eMoney vault.

In November, AdvicePay announced that it had completed its one millionth transaction since its launching in 2018. During the past two years, AdvicePay has experienced a 102% increase in advisors added to the platform and a 193% growth in transaction volume. eMoney Advisor serves approximately 106,000 financial professionals and firms use the platform to serve more than 6 million households across the U.S.

“We view the eMoney partnership as a unique opportunity to join forces with another leader in this space,” said AdvicePay Co-Founder Michael Kitces. “Together, we are building an entire fee-for-service planning ecosystem to help advisors capitalize on the growing demand from consumers to be able to simply pay one-time or ongoing subscription fees for the advice relationship they want.”

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

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