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Articles published 7/2021


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In just eight years Robinhood co-founders Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt have steered the start-up to a $30 billion IPO.

Robinhood got its $32-billion IPO after it parlayed a Wall Street rebel image into a way for the Wall Street elite to cash in

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based phenom's founders become billionaires but Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan get their cut of the IPO, and the bulk of the trade spreads go to the Street's giant trading houses like Citadel and others

July 29, 2021 – 6:26 PM

John Rekenthaler: I am concerned about the amount of power the [biggest fund managers] wield, even if they wield that power well.

Suddenly Vanguard, BlackRock, State Street not only have the assets but the power of ESG mandates, which make them a growing threat to shareholder democracy, critics say

A handful of super-charged fund managers control $34 trillion of assets and most of the ESG inflows, giving them 'carte blanche' to shape corporate policies.

July 28, 2021 – 10:35 PM

Ho Ching's firm, Temasek, is leading the giant funding round.

iCapital raises heart-stopping $440 million at $4-billion valuation, after signing big deals to become the alts engine of Envestnet and Allfunds

The 2013-founded, New York City-based alternatives investments company has positive cash flow, high growth and the growing support of more giants and RIAs

July 28, 2021 – 2:25 AM

Walter Bettinger: Our branch network remains integral to our approach, and we successfully re-opened nearly all of our 406 branches, including 80 independent branches during the second quarter.

Charles Schwab & Co. is following an 'omni-channel approach' to fully open 406 branches, while rival Fidelity is taking a more cautious approach to COVID

The Westlake, Texas company, ironically, brought in record Q2 assets with branch office doors locked, but the company is reopening all offices

July 27, 2021 – 2:11 AM

Edmund Murphy III, ex-Fidelity, is using a blank checkbook from Great-West to buy every recordkeeping orphan but it still can barely see Fidelity's taillights across the $1.7-billion void.

Empower climbs to $1.4 trillion on fifth acquisition--Prudential's record-keeping business-- but Fidelity hit the $1.4-trillion mark in 2014 and is pulling away on organic growth alone

Empower's $3.4 billion deal ups total assets to $1.4 trillion, a distant second to Fidelity's $3.2 trillion in administered assets.

July 24, 2021 – 3:09 AM

Tanya Simpson left Schwab's trust unit to head up Hightower's trust company.

Hightower Advisors brings a high-end slice of RIA custody in-house by retrofitting a Texas bank and poaching a Schwabie

The Chicago RIA rollup reports regular wins of UHNW as it hits $100 billion of AUM and holding assets in trust can build on that ultrahigh niche, CEO says

July 22, 2021 – 8:27 AM

Aaron Schumm: We have a very clear path to profitability.

Vestwell raises another $70-million, which it needs as it burns cash to keep up with rapid tripling of its 401(k) recordkeeping startup -- driven both by RIAs and Wall Street

Wells Fargo's co-led the round of the New York City-based innovator, which hints it may follow Morgan Stanley, Voya Financial and BNY Mellon in being an investor that also becomes a customer

July 20, 2021 – 10:37 PM

Dan Seivert: 'Their movements out show how talent is scarce and great firms are paying attractive compensation.'

Dan Seivert's ripping success in RIA M&A deals has odd side effect of having some sidearm staff leave for new vistas

Carolyn Armitage and Mark Bruno left to mutual benefit, while Echelon Partners roars on, feeding the beast of deal-crazed RIA buyers and sellers.

July 20, 2021 – 1:17 AM

Eric Clarke: [The Riskalyze attack] certainly helped accelerate our sales and prospect pipeline, ironically.

The ironic outcome of Riskalyze's negative advertising attack on Orion's risk subsidiary is a boost in fortunes for both, though the flare-up may also have unhelpfully awoken a sleeping Morningstar

The Auburn, Calif., firm still holds an '85% market share,' says Aaron Klein, and he also doesn't regret shining a spotlight on what he disparages as 'unfruitful guesswork'.

July 17, 2021 – 3:05 AM

Bill Capuzzi: 'We continue to lay the groundwork for long-term success.'

Tricia Rothschild is out at Apex in run-up to $4.7 billion IPO as an ex-Goldman exec assumes her day-to-day role and two ringers fill big jobs

The ex-Morningstar exec leaves president role after one year as ex-Google and ex-Nasdaq talents step into new CTO and CMO posts.

July 14, 2021 – 7:04 PM

Tim Buckley:  “Wise investments in technology are an important equalizer, enabling us to democratize valuable investment capabilities and products.

After RIA pilot test soars, Vanguard Group buys Just Invest, to counter disruption bids by rivals in the direct indexing game

The Malvern, Pa., manager of $7.9 trillion lifted Just Invest to quick $1 billion of AUM -- much of it in accelerating 2021 -- then buys the Oakland, Calif., direct indexing startup

July 13, 2021 – 5:27 PM

Michael Carvin: 'We’ve been experiencing growth in all aspects of the business. A larger raise was prudent.'

SmartAsset raises $110 million after LPL and Schwab dominoes fall, revenues zoom to $100 million and Zoe escalates RIA referrals arms race

Suddenly valued at $1 billion, the New York City referral outsourcer raised painless cash, the better to recruit 150 more staffers after LPL referral deal and Schwab Advisor Services drop in-house lead recipients.

July 13, 2021 – 1:46 PM

Jessica Hopper: All FINRA member firms, regardless of their size or business model, must comply with the rules. [It] is not optional and cannot be sacrificed for the sake of innovation or a willingness .to ‘break things’ and fix them later

Checking pre-IPO boxes, Robinhood makes quick work of FINRA with $70-million settlement but minefield of less sympathetic investigators and litigants lies ahead

The SRO huffed that its action sounds a loud warning to future scofflaws but Brian Hamburger asks what $70 million means to a firm set to sell shares at a $40 billion valuation

July 10, 2021 – 3:03 AM

Marlena Lee: It's important to understand that we converted tax-managed mutual funds because we think the ETF provides a better tool for tax efficiency.

Dimensional Fund Advisors rocks the mutual fund industry by undertaking mass conversion of its mutual funds to ETFs

The Austin, Tex., manager of $640 billion largely for RIAs went from diehard mutual fund holdout to top-11 ETF provider with the swipe of a pen, and analysts predict copycats will convert trillions of dollars of their own mutual fund assets.

July 9, 2021 – 1:04 AM

Tony Salewski: Foreside is a signature Genstar transaction ... supported by compelling secular GRC tailwinds.

Genstar buys sprawling RIA and BD compliance complex from Lovell Minnick to widen roll-up efforts

The $33-billion private equity firm adds '$1-trillion' Foreside Financial as 'signature' holding and sees 'secular GRC tailwinds' in making compliance into a more widely outsourced service

July 7, 2021 – 7:24 PM

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