News, Vision & Voice for the Advisory Community


Articles published 4/2023


Publish date

First Republic tellers let three or four people wait inside and the rest on the sidewalk.

Biz Briefs: The sorry scene at my local First Republic branch • Schwab launches new (smaller) lay-off round • Schwab hoovers pennies passing FINRA fee to clients • Gensler pleas for funds • Fidelity owner's private equity pres. retires • an Orion-Envestnet staff switcheroo • LPL dumps FutureAdvisor

Range Rovers screeched in and drivers joined a grim queue to get their cash, and cookie • The Schwab-TDA deal cull count now stands at roughly 3.5% of its staff • FMR's hockey star president has stepped down • SEC chief wants more enforcers • An Envestnet executive proves joining a rival is good business • LPL now has an in-house robot.

April 29, 2023 at 1:36 AM

Antonia Apps: Betterment … wasn’t transparent about the service’s changes, constraints, and coding errors that adversely impacted thousands.

Betterment learns 'move fast, break things' has its price after settling SEC compliance charges for $9 million over transparency, disclosure lapses involving tax loss harvesting

The $36-billion New York City robo-advisor has since upped its game by hiring a Merrill Lynch compliance alumnus and a CEO steeped in 'operations.'

April 28, 2023 at 1:52 AM

John Wise may have run out the Motive clock on delivering his vision.

InvestCloud CEO John Wise and management team ousted after VC investors grow impatient for long-promised deliverables that always seemed just over the rainbow

Dubbed an 'Envestnet killer,' the LA company has yet to deliver disruption from its $1 billion VC investment combined with roughly $1.5 billion of other motley gems.

April 26, 2023 at 11:25 PM

Jason Gordo: This is not United Capital 2.0.

Sold to Goldman Sachs then spit out by the squid, three Joe Duran acolytes are taking $200 million into bargain RIA M&A minus a 'polarizing' 'pied piper' but plus chips on three shoulders

Mike Capelle, Jason Gordo and Gary Roth raised $200 million, bought a $1 billion firm and are now off to the races with RIA-rollup Modern Wealth Management.

April 25, 2023 at 3:13 PM

Sanjeev Kumar: Skience is cash-flow positive and has a healthy roster of clients and prospects.

Skience, a top Salesforce customizer, just lost three top-tier execs -- boom, boom, boom -- with Salesforce overhang likely contributing in hotly competitive market

No sooner did the Herndon, Va., reseller roll out 'bundles' to RIAs and enterprises than its president/COO and two sales/marketing talents exited as its offering faces world of new challenges.

April 22, 2023 at 5:23 AM

Rick Wurster: We also believe we can accelerate the growth of our wealth business.

Overshadowed by Schwab's 'unrealized' loss overhang, the company gained 500,000 TD Ameritrade clients in February, putting $500 billion in held-away TDA assets in play

The Westlake, Texas, company seeded some good news about the windfall from its merger at yesterday's analyst call, amid the storm surrounding its balance sheet.

April 19, 2023 at 3:28 PM

Walter Bettinger: 'Our franchise strength and financial model remain very much intact.'

Walt Bettinger comes out swinging during analysts' call, and shares pop, on assurances Schwab can ride out gale force interest rate pressure on its balance sheet

The Schwab CEO deflected blame, promised to stay 'conservative,' and left Wall Street analysts wondering why Schwab won't dump bonds and offer better rates for client sweep cash

April 18, 2023 at 3:01 AM

Patrick Burns: For advisors looking to depart from SVB Wealth LLC, now is the ideal time.

Broker protocol door set to slam in face of remaining SVB Private advisors -- belatedly -- after Citizens Bank signs deal to purchase Silicon Valley Bank and its private wealth unit

The 11th hour withdrawal still opens a window for undecided SVB advisors to get out under the road-tested terms of the no-fault truce

April 17, 2023 at 11:24 PM

Stephen Brandes: I knew that I’d only make the leap for a mission-driven organization

Riskalyze taps Stephen Brandes as final hire, stakes flag in Manhattan, ahead of imminent rebrand that's part of push toward a $1-billion valuation

The Auburn, Calif., software firm is ready to shift from a 'point solution' to a 'growth platform' -- and now has a Yale/Harvard guy who just went through a similar drill at a non-financial digital firm.

April 15, 2023 at 1:41 AM

Jason Wenk: Contrary to what people think, [RIA custody] is very lucrative.

Altruist's Jason Wenk wins Marty Bicknell's capital as part of $112-million 'D' raise but the bigger challenge is winning his RIA's AUM

The founder and CEO of the Los Angeles custodian says 'mums the word' about his exact plans with $110-billion AUA RIA and OSJ, Mariner Wealth, but that all will be revealed soon enough

April 13, 2023 at 11:31 PM

Karl Heckenberg: It was surprise to them, and if I'm doing my job it should be a surprise.

Karl Heckenberg ends phenomenal five-year run of reining in Mark Hurley, forming Emigrant Partners -- and selling high on long-held RIA stakes -- as bank boss hired gun

Howard Milstein bet on the then-43-year-old to buy back Fiduciary Network for Emigrant Bank, replace a team and find success; now Emigrant Partners must replace its main man at 48

April 12, 2023 at 7:27 PM

Mariner Wealth has five stories to its headquarters, one for each $20 billion of AUA.

After leap to $110 billion AUA, Marty Bicknell sets hard date for Mariner to hit 5,000 advisors predicted by wife and COO Cheryl

The CEO of the Overland Park, Kan. RIA -- in keeping with her San Diego bomb drop -- is ramping up to add 4,000 mostly 1099 advisors -- putting a target on LPL Financial, OSJs and other IBDs.

April 12, 2023 at 1:36 AM

Brian Hamburger [and Shirl Penney]: Some investors in prior rounds were invited to participate.

The broad spectrum friendship of Brian Hamburger and Shirl Penney now includes sharing most of a $5-million bet into proving that SmartRIA lives up to its straight-A name

The principals of MarketCounsel and Dynasty Financial go all-in on software that keeps RIAs all good with the SEC -- without being all-consumed by an unrelenting task.

April 11, 2023 at 1:29 AM

Jeffrey Young: What works for one firm might not work for the system.

The hot take on why a 100-basis-point rate rise from here simply can't be dismissed after the Silicon Valley Bank exhale and may put Charles Schwab Bank on the hot seat

Following the recent banking panic, rates seem to be finally experiencing 'some stickiness,' but too many unknowns and uncontrollable factors remain before economists can breathe easy.

April 7, 2023 at 2:18 AM

Scott MacKillop: I may be a bit of a freak of nature, but I still like climbing big mountains.

Scott MacKillop got his flat-fee startup to $1.4 billion in eight years, negotiated its sale over nine months and largely got friends and family investors cashed out

The First Ascent sale means the Denver-based founder's second ascent as head of a GeoWealth holding won't be beset with worry about cash burn, not least because free GeoWealth software puts it into the black -- and makes it more of a TAMP than an investment manager

April 5, 2023 at 8:05 PM

Eliza De Pardo: Accepting short-term pain is a time-tested means of boosting revenues..

RIAs must hold fire on chopping expenses in this 2021-2023 downturn, though one expense is fair game -- and it should be high on the list to trim

The best firms make their biggest gains courtesy of recessions -- not least 2008-2011 -- but the contrarian investments must be born on the backs of RIA principals, not staff

April 4, 2023 at 5:22 PM

Ken Fisher's firm is Texas-bound from Camas, Wash., where it already lives.

With 15,000 Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard staffers there, Dallas metroplex notches Fisher Investments headquarters almost as a formality; Ken Fisher and 1,200 staff are already Lone Star denizens

The $189-billion national RIA of Camas, Wash. evinced being incensed over a Washington state court ruling upholding a state capital gains tax--the final straw behind the move.

April 1, 2023 at 3:42 AM

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