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Articles published 12/2020


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Andy Rachleff promises a bank "that makes money with the client -- not from them."

Wealthfront's unlikely tapping of Sheila Bair and Tom Curry signals likely push to gain a bank charter, analysts say

The Redwood City robo-advisor's addition of two renowned former chief banking regulators brings legitimacy and guidance that could lead to a margin-fattening bank charter and help solve the robo-advisor's problem of high client acquisition costs.

December 31, 2020 – 4:37 AM

Rick Fleming: 'While these typically were characterized as efforts to “modernize” or “streamline” regulations, they often had the effect of diminishing investor protections.'

The Trump SEC massively failed investors in 2020 under guise of 'streamlining' and 'harmonization,' according to SEC's own scathing report published today

The federal regulator did Wall Street's bidding and lost its compass, according to a damning Securities and Exchange Commission document.

December 30, 2020 – 2:07 AM

Ryan Scott: [It’s] proven to save advisors two hours per client, per year.

Schwab Advisor Services seeks to curtail the RIA bad behavior of speaking apples to oranges by opening its corporate mind and its system's API

The San Francisco custodian granted RIAs access to DNA Behavior on its platform -- for a fee -- to add psychometrics of personality to Big Data to create a Big Picture of the client

December 29, 2020 – 10:57 PM

Ben Cruikshank: 'We’ve built key integrations across the advisor-tech landscape with companies such as Envestnet, Orion and eMoney.'

The RIA and insurance worlds draw closer again as MassMutual buys Flourish, a digital bank with 350 RIA banking clients

The Springfield, Mass. life insurer, founded in 1851, gets the 2017-founded seller of FDIC-insured cash through RIAs in an atmosphere where RIA vendors and big insurers see more and more good in each other.

December 24, 2020 – 6:46 PM

Rajini Kodialam: Think of Connectus as a firm with several arms that each do business under their own names.

Focus Financial launches house-brand RIA and its shares spike past $45 on scale play, but will the 70 partner firms accept the change?

The New York roll-up introduces 'Connectus' as an 'evolution,' but industry observers see a real pivot, hence a gamble that imperils existing bets on autonomy's animal force

December 23, 2020 – 3:38 AM

Adam Schouela: We're looking for those technologies that truly have that potential to displace technologies we're using today.

Fidelity Investments leaps back to the future in an experiment to restore active management to its lofty perch, using technology that is still more science fiction than fact

The Boston giant is renting a special corner of Amazon's cloud to remake Monte Carlo and do hyper-quant investing like an AI Peter Lynch, with no experience as a golf caddy.

December 21, 2020 – 11:45 PM

Larry Roth: Our first acquisition will be a very large, well-established, branded firm.

Kingswood raises $115 million of SPAC cash and its Wall Street profile by cutting in Larry Roth; but can they buy RIAs at the right price in a feverish market?

With the RIA rollup game go-big-or-go-home, making a royal alliance between British founders and Roth boosted the blank-check venture

December 19, 2020 – 2:02 AM

Aidan Yeaw: This is the greatest forcing function in employee benefits since ACA/Obamacare.

Vestwell is in and Ascensus is out in Oregon as mushrooming 'force-function' state retirement plans spark heated bids to recordkeep; RIAs are angling for a cut, too

States may force millions of small employers to sponsor pensions, buoying VC-backed digital recordkeepers. But RIAs like Fisher Investments are trying to convince small businesses to set up their own 401(k) plans to meet new mandates.

December 17, 2020 – 9:34 PM

David Daniel [on left] We’re out of space.

Looking past Covid-19 pandemic, Louisiana RIA buys $1-million building after hitting $1 billion in AUM and hiring the town's mayor

Summit Financial Wealth Advisors was sold to Focus Financial in 2014, growing its assets by $400 million since then but keeping staffing about the same

December 17, 2020 – 3:02 AM

Rebecca Johnson: I came, very early on,  to equate money with sanity. So I was determined to make as much money as I could.

One woman's confession: How I became 'weird' about money and pocketed the cab fare home

To me everything costs too much because love and money got tangled early in life; it made more sense after I became a parent.

December 15, 2020 – 3:31 AM

Jack Edwards: It's not like they work for an oil and gas company and know exactly where to drill.

Schwab-TD Ameritrade merger layoffs leave many ex-staffers shackled with non-compete agreements, hindering job search amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Charles Schwab Corp. has let go 1,000 mostly former TDA people -- many with generous severance pay -- but some low-level staff claim to have been subjected to vetos of new jobs under non-compete agreements tied to cashing in restricted shares

December 11, 2020 – 4:00 AM

The purchase of 55ip is JP Morgan's first, since Jamie Dimon announced a more "aggressive" M&A strategy earlier this year.

Jamie Dimon is late out of the gate, but vows to run twice as hard toward the RIA market, purchasing 55ip and advertising his hunger to buy more

The famed JPMorgan CEO scooped up a Boston-based model portfolio startup that has a very RIA book of business.

December 9, 2020 – 11:15 PM

[Sarah Levy and] Jon Stein: 'The time has come for someone else to lead the company through its next stage of growth.'

Jon Stein ousts himself as Betterment CEO and taps Sarah Levy, who joins an exclusive club of top women executives, with a mission -- an IPO

The co-founder of the New York robo-advisor headhunted the ex-Viacom brass through Harvard professors on the down low to ostensibly scale operations.

December 8, 2020 – 5:27 PM

Karin-Risi: 'I was investing in Vanguard funds in high school.'

Karin Risi, who built $170-billion Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, takes new role and Matt Benchener is taking her spot as head of US retail for the $6.3 trillion manager

Risi now heads planning and still directly reports to CEO Tim Buckley and her 34 year-old understudy, Benchener gets her job at year's end.

December 4, 2020 – 2:56 AM

Mike Durbin keeps executing on Abby Johnson's directive for removing unconstructive internal borders.

Fidelity's Mike Durbin unleashes FMAX as 'Schwabitrade' takes life, but if they build it, will leery advisors buy into it?

The Fidelity Institutional head is betting RIAs will go for the 'killer app,' a one-vendor, one-fee bundle that will free time and mindspace by having the eMoney plan implement itself as a collection of products.

December 3, 2020 – 4:59 AM

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