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Articles published 4/2020


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Wealthfront CEO Andy Rachleff oversaw the insertion of leverage, hence risk into portfolios, which has been unrewarding in this market.

Amid pandemic, Wealthfront's risk parity fund faces rough stretch, reviving questions about the wisdom of a 'millennial' robo using something as 'Wall Street' as leverage and active management

The $20-billion Redwood City, Calif. firm walks fine line between being anti-Wall Street and dabbling in leveraged active investments that COVID-19 markets have hit hard.

April 30, 2020 – 9:57 PM

Schwab IMPACT 2020 won't happen in Boston and will morph to an online version of itself.

Schwab Advisor Services takes EXPLORE, IMPACT and SOLUTIONS 'virtual' in face of COVID-19 pandemic, updates merger, and makes clear the two scheduling details are unrelated

Set to be held in Fidelity's Boston backyard, IMPACT 2020 will move to the ether, making it one of the industry's premier virtual conferences in a sure sign the RIA world has dramatically changed.

April 29, 2020 – 6:41 PM

Jeff Concepcion: 'I don't want to say there's unlimited dry powder ... [but] there's an awful lot ...'

Jeff Concepcion and Howard Milstein combine to take dead aim at COVID-distressed RIA market -- putting youthful executive energies and a billionaire's capital on a bold path

Both the Stratos Wealth CEO and the owner of Emigrant Bank are known to be conservative in RIA circles, but together -- shooting for upper-strata firms with as much as $750 million -- they are showing uncharacteristic opportunism.

April 24, 2020 – 8:37 PM

Jeffrey Young: Mobility is now the premier economic indicator.

US economy and stock markets have hit a post-COVID 'rock bottom,' and smartphone data show a stealthy mini-recovery is developing

Sheltering in place was the commerce killer but after Easter, people got hopping again, according to data from their smartphones

April 23, 2020 – 9:12 PM

Paula DeLaurentis: We understand it's different so we communicate, communicate, communicate.

After much acclaim but not enough profits, Motif shutters and sells itself off for parts with Folio buying the RIA and retail accounts

The $850 million stock-basket company in San Mateo, Calif. had success but -- $126 million invested by Goldman Sachs, Renren and Sallie Krawcheck and others -- not enough to justify business as usual

April 22, 2020 – 6:52 PM

Walt Bettinger: 'This is uncharted territory for us all.'

Charles Schwab spends an extra $27 million on staff amid Covid-19, $37 million spent to keep three M&A deals chugging ahead

The San Francisco broker paid cash in March to workers amid challenges of the pandemic as trading exploded, retail calls spiked 16%

April 18, 2020 – 6:45 PM

Marty Bicknell: 'It might be three to five years but this has the potential to be bigger.

With an eye to cast-aside prospects, Marty Bicknell and Shirl Penney combine to launch 1099 platform with ambitions to surpass Mariner Wealth as soon as 2025

Into a crowded field of IAR servicers, the Mariner Holdings CEO is relying on his peer at Dynasty Financial Partners to deliver its famed one-stop desktop for breakaway brokers who seek simplicity and familiarity

April 17, 2020 – 5:06 PM

Ari Sonneberg: I do not think that the current turmoil in the market will be something that helps this deal.

Schwab's merger with TD Ameritrade was sterling until the Covid-19 pandemic and financial collapse took some of the shine off the deal

Charles Schwab & Co.'s decision to buy TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. in Nov. 2019 looked like a lock, but 'Schwabitrade' has been rocked by wholesale branch closings, plummeting share prices and emergency rate cuts to near zero.

April 14, 2020 – 11:13 PM

Megan Carpenter: 'The rules of the game have changed.'

COVID-19 crushes RIA conference schedule; 100 gatherings are in jeopardy along with the bottom lines of publications and organizations

Pershing INSITE is the latest biggie to cancel and firms are all over the map about when it'll be 'safe' for more than 10 people to gather at any one time.

April 14, 2020 – 5:58 AM

Jeff Concepcion: If things stayed easy, [advisors] would stay another two or three years, but now they're saying, 'I don't want to go through another cycle like this.'

COVID-19 throws a curve ball at RIA M&A market, gut-punching valuations and causing fence-sitters to resolve to get the hell out, but Q1 prices hold their own

M&A rainmakers hedge their bets on how deep COVID-19 will drive cuts to RIA sale prices, although first quarter market has been stable.

April 10, 2020 – 1:50 AM

Aaron Schumm: The participant is no longer three steps removed from their actual money.

Four years into startup, Vestwell makes its big move -- nixing FIS's recordkeeping for the 401(k) super-bot it built with Goldman Sachs' VC money

The Aaron Schum start-up will start again as a turnkey pension program that allows RIAs to better unify 401(k) and non-401(k) practices and be searchable as database

April 9, 2020 – 2:11 AM

Kevin Sneader: Our era will be defined by a fundamental schism: the period before COVID-19 and the new normal that will emerge in the post-viral era.

COVID-19 may quickly expose that McKinsey's 2030 vision report ill-advisedly reprises Mark Hurley's 1999 logic about classic RIAs as easy marks for 'enterprises'

The New York-based consultant sees bigger, more digital companies (Wall Street 2.0 in other words) dominating -- a de facto logical black hole that desk-bound consultants gravitate to.

April 7, 2020 – 8:01 PM

Barrett Ayers: Adhesion may increase its headcount by a further 40% in the coming year, a pace of hiring  that will continue for the 'foreseeable future.'

Vestmark credits a 'tip-off' and an unlikely rocket propellant -- advertising spend -- for Adhesion's 68% asset jump in first-year under its wing

When the Wakefield, Mass., TAMP bought Adhesion in 2018, its execs cited its 'be-like-Envestnet' mindset for growing RIA marketshare

April 7, 2020 – 12:58 AM

Gary Zimmerman: The current crisis is a Goldilocks environment for Max.

Phones at RIA cash managers 'ring off the hook' amid yield crunch and MaxMyInterest pulls rabbit out of hat -- keeping rates on FDIC cash near pre-cut levels

Though StoneCastle, Flourish, and Galileo offer low rates, inflows soar higher because cash is king as Gary Zimmerman promises to keep Max soaring -- but B2C Wealthfront and Betterment banks? Not so much

April 3, 2020 – 11:20 PM

Bill Crager (left with Jud Bergman) finally replaces his dear friend as CEO, but filling the chairman spot had its own complexities.

Behind the scenes, Envestnet's board of directors had much to tussle over before finally subtracting the 'interim' from Bill Crager's CEO title

With Jud Bergman gone at a chairman, a power struggle ensued to fill that spot, and the process dragged when taking the company private came under review

April 2, 2020 – 2:34 AM

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