The longtime Envestnet exec is apparently leaving to join an entrepreneurial venture just a year after surprising observers by taking the post at the BNY Mellon subsidiary

February 1, 2017 — 11:27 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

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Brooke's Note: When we wrote about Bob Oros leaving Fidelity to join a Kon-Tiki style venture from the aircraft carrier deck of his career in Boston, Cecile Munoz said that we could expect to see a whole series of such millennial-minded moves in early 2017. See: Fidelity begins search for new RIA national sales manager as Bob Oros goes millennial, vacating a prized position. Experience plus opportunity for the big bang of destiny trumps big salary plus big security in this equation associated with people who are 36 and younger. The RIA business is suddenly thirsting for experts in the prime of their careers ready to take risks. Hardwick seems to be just the kind of GenXer Munoz was talking about.

Lori Hardwick is out, or will soon be, from her job as chief operating officer of Pershing LLC.

The 47-year-old executive "has decided to resign from her position" reports a brief, slightly cryptic missive sent to Pershing clients by email and forwarded to RIABiz. See: Completing matriarchal coup, Pershing raids Envestnet's top drawer to grab Lori Hardwick, whom many thought unpoachable 

Hardwick is apparently accepting a position in a smaller organization where she can make a more personal imprint, according to the Pershing memo.

"Lori's entrepreneurial spirit has always been her driving force and she has decided to pursue this passion. We thank Lori for her contributions to the firm and wish her the best in her future endeavors," the statement reads.

The news struck like lightning bolt among Pershing clientele, including hundreds of broker-dealers and RIAs who administer several hundred billions of dollars in assets.

"Lori was a tremendous advocate for our space and her departure was completely unexpected," says one executive who asked not to be named. "Lori introduced fresh thinking to Pershing and my firm has been a recipient of that in some of the new exciting things we are building with them right now -- our robo platform, new advisory platform, etc."  See: Mark Tibergien reveals big Pershing robo future as his firm partners with Vanare, SigFig and Jemstep -- and follows TD Ameritrade's open API lead.

'Perfect blend'

Hardwick was hired away from Chicago-based Envestnet Inc. by Pershing in February 2016 to universal praise -- including Mark Tibergien, CEO of custodian Pershing Advisor Solutions.

“Lori is the perfect blend of entrepreneurship, operating experience, drive and perspective," he said back in 2016.  "We have incredibly high regard for what she and the other leaders built at Envestnet. Their push to create a technology ecosystem and stoke the growth of the advisory business globally is a great background for Lori to draw from in helping us design and execute future plans.” See: Envestnet to zero in on RIAs and family offices.

Hardwick's hire to Pershing was notable both for what it said about Envestnet, where she held the title of group president, and for Pershing's efforts to shuck its stigma of having a crusty, male-dominated culture. Hardwick was hired just days after Pershing LLC promoted Lisa Dolly to CEO at the Jersey City, N.J.-based clearing company. Why Pershing's CEO pick, Lisa Dolly, looks uninspired, and why that look may be deceiving 

An email sent to Tibergien has not yet received a response. Hardwick responded but says she is not yet authorized to comment.

Successor

Pershing hints that it is searching for a new COO.

"The entire management team at Pershing remains committed to providing value for you and your clients, and we are dedicated to supporting your firm and helping you grow your business," the memo reads. "We will keep you abreast of developments regarding Lori's successor."

The client who asked not to be named remains positive about Pershing but apprehensive about the potential for Hardwick's departure to cause short-term disruption.

"I am sure Pershing will be fine in the long run but we will miss her for sure. Hopefully our upcoming product releases with Pershing will not be impacted."

Before she joined Envestnet, Hardwick served as regional vice president at Nuveen Investments of Chicago and was responsible for founding Nuveen Investment Advisor Services, where she developed and managed a program and team specifically targeted to RIAs. Prior to Nuveen, Hardwick worked in institutional sales with Chicago’s Griffin Kubik Stephens & Thompson. See: The case for Chicago as an epicenter of the RIA world

Hardwick was named one of the ’50 Most Influential Women in Private Wealth’ by Private Asset Management magazine in 2015 and one of the ’50 Top Women in Wealth’ by AdvisorOne in 2011.


Mentioned in this article:

Pershing Advisor Solutions
Asset Custodian
Top Executive: Mark Tibergien

Envestnet Inc.
TAMP
Top Executive: Jud Bergman



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Stephen Winks said:

February 2, 2017 — 5:33 PM UTC

The need for innovation has never been greater. An imaginative use of prudent process and advanced technology to drive down cost and greatly elevate the advisors value proposition places immense stree on the conventional brokerage business model. The most profound innovation can not be executed within the conventional brokerage format--thus room for the emergence of a new advisory services business model too disruptive for brokerage. Look for advisory services cost to the consumer to decline by 50% or more without cuts in advisor compensation while investment counsel is greatly enhanced. . SCW

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