Here’s your Riskalyze Fintech Five for September, a focused take on what we think are the last five best stories in wealth management technology.
Our first story brings back memories of the old Julia Roberts movie, Runaway Bride. It felt like Wealthfront and UBS were halfway through their vows, and we’re not entirely sure who started filing first, but lo and behold, both parties made a dignified statement that they had “mutually” decided to separate before they got married themselves. .
UBS was set to turn Wealthfront into the digital client acquisition engine for their human advisory business, and getting this deal done and priced at the top of the market at $1.4 billion was an absolute coup for Wealthfront.
The strange thing is that buyout agreements are normally binding, so just because UBS might have felt they overpaid, it would normally take something far worse than that to give them leverage to get out of the deal. There is definitely more to this breakup than meets the eye.
At the end of the day, UBS is a giant and will be just fine. We wish the team at Wealthfront the best of luck as they try to find another “human advice” redeemer.
Susan McKenna is no longer an interim CEO. The former head of marketing for eMoney, who has been its acting CEO since March when Ed O’Brien left for Fidelity, is now officially the newest CEO of the planning provider.
In recent years, eMoney has expanded far beyond “just” financial planning tools for advisors, but the wellness app Incentive is just one example of how it’s taking a more consumer-oriented turn.
Susan is leading eMoney into exciting and uncharted waters, and we look forward to supporting their journey forward. Congratulations Susan!
In several personnel moves, Carl Richards, most affectionately known by many as the New York Times Napkin sketcher has joined Elements as its chief evangelist.
Elements has made a big impact on the WealthTech scene, billing itself as financial “monitoring” software rather than financial “planning.”
It is a unique – and unprecedented – pairing. It’s not often that a startup this early in its journey is able to capture one of the most recognizable voices in the financial planning industry.
I have no doubt that Richards’ star power will bring advisors to the Elements platform, and along with the interesting technology, this seems like a fantastic match.
Next, our friends at Orion have announced some massive changes to their organizational structure and the way the company’s units will be run.
The first step is that CEO and founder Eric Clarke will hand over day-to-day management of Orion’s technology business to Brian McLaughlin. Brian is of course the founder of Redtail, which is Orion’s most recent and most notable acquisition, and now Brian is the president of Orion Advisor Services.
Ryan Beach will take over the entire TAMP operation as president of Orion Wealth Management, and Kurt Brown will serve as president of Orion OCIO.
I’ll be hosting Eric Clarke and Brian McLaughlin on stage at the Fearless Investing Summit in a few weeks for a fireside chat about how their deal came together. I can not wait.
And in our latest story, Charles Schwab has teamed up with the CFP Board to offer scholarships to increase diversity in the industry.
As many as 16 scholarships will be awarded, with up to $10,000 per award, for students working toward an undergraduate CFP Board-registered program. The awards will offer $5,000 for students who wish to complete certificate-level programs.
As has been noted many times, the industry remains underrepresented when it comes to what American society looks like as a whole. As of 2021, only 1.8% of CFP professionals are black, 2.7% are Hispanic, and 23% are women—and if we want to connect more people to advisors, we need more advisors who can connect and serve a diversity of customer needs.
We have a long way to go, but we hope that this initiative and others like it will continue to make an impact in the financial advisory profession.