News, Vision & Voice for the Advisory Community


Oisin Breen

A Dublin native, Oisin has spent the last nine years living in Edinburgh, Scotland and the past three writing about finance, including one whirlwind year deep-sea diving into the world of RIAs, which he now can't get enough of. Prior to writing for RIABiz, Oisin was a jobbing FX and equities writer for a London-based trading firm, as well as a teacher, and remains a writer of long-form experimental poetry. Alongside his writing, Oisin continues to toil on a part-time basis in academia, where he is mired in a doctoral research topic into the structure of narrative. He's also married - to an Australian who tries her best to avoid temperatures over 68 degrees fahrenheit. They own four Scottish rabbits.

Articles written by Oisin Breen


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Joe Lonsdale: As the alternative space matures there's room for creative approaches and ... products that might not have worked in the past.

Addepar founder Joe Lonsdale's second alts tech startup for RIAs, Opto Investments, leaves 'stealth' mode with $145 million raise and the chutzpah to take on iCapital and CAIS

Opto comes late to the alts game, but at a $475-million valuation, VC backers are seeing founders' vision of a way-upmarket niche

September 23, 2022 – 2:38 AM

Megan Pacholok: If the lawsuits are successful, this [could] lead plan sponsors facing similar questions on every fund offered.

Making lemonade of legal lemons, new wave of ERISA class actions accuse fiduciaries of 'imprudently' using low-fee, high-rated funds, like BlackRock TDFs

The lawsuits against 401(k) plan sponsors also threaten every RIA and fiduciary, if underperformance becomes a legal liability, lawyers say.

September 22, 2022 – 1:34 AM

Zak Boka: We can onboard an eight-year [alts] investment ... in a handful of minutes.

Startup gets Black Diamond and Addepar to integrate, maybe Orion and Tamarac en route, by creating a hack that lets people see analog alts like art collections the way they see digital hedge funds

AltExchange raised $1.25 million but bridged an alts gap that firms that spent hundreds of millions have not -- especially downmarket where alts are new on the scene

September 16, 2022 – 2:42 AM

Jeffrey Ptak: The star rating seems to tip the odds in the investor’s favor.'

Morningstar jumpstarts its star rating system with favorable self-review yet audit finds it misses the mark in bear markets, supporting claim of dubious predictive value cited by Wall Street Journal

The Chicago-based tracker assures investors that its ratings tilt odds in their favor though critics say it's more a gauge of momentum than scientific research.

August 31, 2022 – 5:08 AM

Jeff Levine:  Do we have the skillset necessary to provide same-sex couples the sort specialized planning advice they’d need?

RIA wildfire erupted on Twitter after Clarence Thomas put same-sex marriage on conservative hit list with 'Roe v. Wade;' It could make LGBTQ+ financial planning apparatus obsolete

Thomas became second Supreme Court Justice to lament the loss of state control over marriage, casting a shadow over RIAs who long struggled with a potential 50 sets of rules to help gay couples plan a life together.

August 26, 2022 – 1:56 AM

Alison Dooher: We've led the way ... and we're extending that lead.

Suddenly onboarding is a hot RIA game, and Schwab Advisor Services leaps ahead with a 'digital ' process that one expert says beats Fidelity and bodes well for a post-merger 'Schwabitrade'

The $3.2 trillion RIA custodian tripled its tech budget, zeroed in on 'onboarding,' promoted Alison Dooher to succeed the also promoted Andrew Salesky, brought aboard Google/Amazon whiz kids and allowed some TD Ameritrade culture to seep in.

August 23, 2022 – 2:00 AM

Eric Clarke: Our shared clients were notified the [TDA] program would be sunset about a year ago.

Schwab Advisor Services scuttles Orion's sweetheart TD Ameritrade software deal, but Eric Clarke is hopeful a fresh romance with Apex Clearing may blossom the same way

The Westlake, Texas RIA custodian 'sunset' the 2009 Eric Clarke deal with former TDA CEO Tom Bradley that lifted both Omaha firms.

August 17, 2022 – 1:24 AM

Bob Veres: Several advisors have told me their relationship manager has tipped them to a Labor Day weekend deadline.

Schwab Advisor Services denies reports of a Sept. 2023 'hard date' to finalize TD Ameritrade merger as new details emerge about behind-the-scenes efforts to accomodate TDA RIAs

Since at least February, Schwab has been running 'JumpStart' a new program to let TDA RIAs add net new assets onto the Schwab system ahead of the mass conversion of legacy assets.

August 12, 2022 – 1:29 AM

David Booth has kept a steady hand on the tiller at DFA, but is it enough?

Dimensional Fund Advisors, long the flagship of factor investing, struggles to chart a course as a nimble rival and big foot competitors cut into its market--and exploit its slow move to ETFs

Vanguard, BlackRock and Avantis rattle a complacent Dimensional Fund Advisors with fee cuts and ETF roll outs based on 'smart beta.'

August 9, 2022 – 1:57 AM

David Solomon: Over the course of the next three years to five years, it will be an area that we see opportunity in.

Goldman Sachs CEO confirms RIA custody service back-burnered amid exec exits, cut budgets and slipped deadlines relating to wealth management

David Solomon says resources will be 'small' for years, which leaves Folio acquisition twisting in the wind as Greg Vigrass and others leave -- amid parallel departures at its national RIA.

August 4, 2022 – 12:29 AM

Anders Jones: We can help [ RIA clients] get the right coverage.

Facet Wealth throws a lifeline to struggling 'insurtech' firm amid an industry shakeout; Facet is delivering a mother lode of referrals and asking nothing in return

Policygenius does the heavy lifting and keeps commissions, but the national RIA has 500 CFP-administered financial plans that include executed insurance policies for younger clients.

August 2, 2022 – 1:47 AM

TD Ameritrade remains a company with an autonomous brand and management information systems .

Boom, boom, boom, Charles Schwab Corp. just spent $220 million to shuck three lawsuits--a likely 'deck clearing' before the TD Ameritrade merger closes, say multiple analysts

A 2017 Scottrade class action suit inherited from TD Ameritrade, a robo-advice disclosure settlement, and TDA merger class action have all gone poof.

July 18, 2022 – 9:15 PM

Rick Wurster's wide domain as a new president includes Schwab's $145-billion house RIA and now its semi-antiquated brand is being  replaced.

Charles Schwab & Co. turns an RIA page by killing its 'Schwab Private Client' brand to make Schwab DIY investors, with $3 trillion of largely unadvised wealth, 'aware' of its in-house wealth management services

The $145 billion RIA is now 'Schwab Wealth Advisory' with a new president, Rick Wurster, recently taking the RIA under his oversight and software MoneyGuidePro dialed in.

July 11, 2022 – 8:58 PM

William Galvin: Vanguard’s deliberate decision [benefited] ultra-wealthy shareholders over main street investors.

Massachusetts and Vanguard Group reach interesting settlement that gives the $8-trillion manager a shot at avoiding 49 copycat suits , quick cash for the state and 65% of a loaf for hapless investors

The William Galvin-driven settlement covers the state's legal fees and sets up restitution fund and a state pay-out, but a pending Pennsylvania lawsuit is likely the first of many to follow.

July 8, 2022 – 2:22 AM

Abby Johnson: 'We are not pulling back.'

Fidelity--late to its own Ethereum party--hires 110 engineers to hurry up launch; it may have avoided both had it not made a 'strange strategic decision,' analyst says

The Boston company pledged to add the second digital token to its crypto custody service by year-end 2021, but 'complexity' stalled the project, even though a third-party solution was available.

June 30, 2022 – 8:40 PM

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