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Articles published 5/2021


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Noah Kerner: We are not a grow-at-all-costs company.

Acorns is raising $565 million to Robinhood-ize itself; lately, that includes self-direction options and buying fintechs

Combining a SPAC IPO raise of $400 million and a $165-million hedge fund placement, the Irvine, Calif.-based robo-advisor needs a reboot after nearly a decade grew AUM to only about $5 billion

May 29, 2021 – 12:27 AM

Stuart DePina: It's not sexy ... [but] we expect that over the course of the next 18 to 24 months you'll see a lot more.

Bill Crager buys Wall Street patience by detailing how Envestnet can rent out brainpower, deliver 'wellness' and be rewarded with revenues at an astounding 40 basis points higher

The CEO projects his Chicago outsourcer will pump out 10 million advisor action-items to 106,000 advisors, and it just hired a bevy of new executives to become more of a data company in the next five years.

May 27, 2021 – 9:30 PM

Matt Benchener:  Investors who can access high-quality, broadly diversified strategies with top private equity managers can potentially realize significant financial benefits.

Vanguard Group's private equity retail push gets real as it launches buyer-beware products this summer to its brokerage accounts as prelude to selection for 'suitability' through its RIA

The $7.1 trillion Malvern, Pa., manager will first sell HarbourVest private shares with stern warnings before making alts part of Vanguard Personal Advisor Services portfolios

May 26, 2021 – 2:42 AM

Step CEO CJ MacDonald posted this photo on Twitter with 'Tyler' who banks on his Step mobile app -- one of more than 500,000 accounts.

Fidelity claims the sub-Robinhood segment for itself (among majors) by offering 13- to 17-year-old investors a parent-lite, zero-fee trading app to go with a neobank

The Boston giant -- after the success of Step and others -- is going after this largely virgin market with a hard-knocks philosophy of teaching and a seamless transition to a regular brokerage account when the teen turns 18

May 25, 2021 – 1:25 AM

Tim Buckley:  'Establishing a new office in Dallas reflects our continued commitment to hiring top advisor and technology talent.'

Vanguard Group to open CFP-poaching battle front in Schwab-Fido-Pershing backyard, after its human RIA grows AUM 72% to $231 billion

The Malvern, Pa, manager of $7.5 trillion moves aggressively on Dallas metro area where its big rivals employ tens of thousands, showing Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley's faith in the RIA business model

May 21, 2021 – 2:30 AM

Jason Wenk:  'I fully expect us to become the third [largest custodian].'

Jason Wenk raises $50 million from Vanguard Group and others, and Altruist may soon overtake Pershing's No. 3 RIA custodian spot, the Altruist founder asserts

The Los Angeles founder's disruption blitz involves a mobile-first Robinhood feel and a plug-and-play outsourcing one-stop-shop -- a sweet combination, except that it may not lure many big RIAs, analysts say.

May 20, 2021 – 3:22 AM

Andres Garcia-Amaya: We have the largest venture capital firm in the world taking a huge bet on us early.

After a 20-fold leap in demand, Zoe Financial gets $10-million SoftBank-led round of hard VC dollars to stoke flames of digital romance between investing public and RIAs

The New York startup intended to raise $8 million, until SoftBank demanded a bigger slice of the pie and it saw more need to invest in a bigger future.

May 18, 2021 – 3:16 PM

Matthew Belnap: I would never want to call advisors 'lazy' but I do think there’s a strong element of inertia here, and wanting to keep doing things the way they’ve always done it.

RIAs are just not that into ESG investing -- at their peril, a new study says. That makes a leap: This is the one case where the customers -- both RIAs and their clients -- are wrong.

Cerulli is the latest to question RIAs for 'not fully understanding' ESG as an emerging megatrend, which could lead to a potential disconnect with Next Gen investors.

May 18, 2021 – 1:12 AM

Abby Johnson blared no trumpets about her firm hitting $10 trillion.

Fidelity Investments flies past staggering $10T milestone, but Schwab, finally fully loaded with Q1 results from TDA merger, steals some of the Boston giant's thunder

The Boston and Westlake, Tex., companies are both on fire -- even showing surprising strength in the 'Robinhood' sector -- but Schwab's rollup of TD Ameritrade and USAA radically reduced a yawning gap

May 14, 2021 – 11:25 PM

Eric Clarke: Several statements were not correct.

Riskalyze blindsides Orion with full-scale attack on its new risk software unit, but Orion CEO Eric Clarke vows to take action if necessary to protect his brand

The Auburn, Calif., industry leader used a release, video and dedicated website to lash out at Orion's freshly acquired HiddenLevers unit, but a backlash may be brewing.

May 13, 2021 – 3:29 AM

Cynthia Lo Bessette: Any reforms must preserve and protect the availability of money market funds.

Fidelity and Schwab oddly take opposite sides on issue critical to money market funds as an SEC, alarmed by systemic risks, puts NAVs under spotlight

The Boston and Westlake, Tex., providers disagree about whether the once sacred $1 net asset value should now float accross prime money market funds -- and potentially municipal money market funds.

May 10, 2021 – 5:28 PM

Ron Rhoades: Simply put, at the age of 62, I was beginning to feel old.

The story of how Ron Rhoades sold his RIA to (and joined) a local $3.7-billion AUM firm to plan succession and to keep nearly a full professor's schedule

The ageless Kentucky-based advisor and fiduciary advocate is 63, plans to work to 77 and accepts his mortality but he doesn't want to choose between the teaching he loves and advising the clients he cherishes.

May 7, 2021 – 9:56 PM

Rudy Adolf: Reality is – actually the number is about 1,000 firms in the industry based on several research groups are over $1 billion.

Focus Financial struggles to move 'needle' but reframes opportunity from 500 $1-billion RIAs to 1,000 practices

The RIA rollup's decelerating growth rate and limited acquisition capital are among an analyst's concerns

May 7, 2021 – 1:54 AM

Natalie Wolfsen: We are not taking our foot off the gas.

AssetMark's AUM hits $78.9 billion to overtake SEI's in blowout quarter marred only by loss that traces in part to Charles Goldman cashing out pre-IPO grants upon exit

CEO Natalie Wolfsen starts her tenure with the Concord, Calif. firm on winning note albeit with $8.9 million of red ink and a stagnant share price

May 6, 2021 – 1:43 AM

Angela Pecoraro: The applications that we’ll be putting out next year will be all API-based and all very capable to be turned on as an ‘off-the-shelf’ application.

After four-year turnaround effort, Angela Pecoraro finally sells Advicent to rollup ravenous InvestCloud to complete 'writing-on-the-wall' deal

Hired to execute a revamp of old-line NaviPlan and keep the Milwaukee firm's 140,000-advisor installed base, the Advicent CEO played to the LA-based platform's mandatory acquisition of financial planning software to add to its $4 trillion of AUA.

May 5, 2021 – 7:22 PM

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