Technology

The RIA business has many tech vendors working hard to serve its diverse needs, and we're seeing technology become a more crucial part of setting up and running an RIA than ever before.

The Technology section includes unbiased tech reviews, tech-related news, and coverage of tech-related conferences.


Rohit Mahna: [There's] a massive convergence as disruptive new entrants are forcing financial institutions to reimagine the entire customer experience across every line of business.

Salesforce's slew of new advisor-focused CRM upgrades gets slammed, while a rival CEO says fresh changes won't 'slow the stampede' of RIAs fleeing the San Francisco giant

A year after Salesforce launches its long-awaited Financial Services Cloud--a financial advisory-focused twist on its CRM software that remains a Fortune 500 darling--the giant vendor unleashed a glut of upgrades

September 19, 2018 — 10:20 PM UTC by Oisin Breen

Brooke's Note: We are tough customers in the RIA business. We (Lilliputians with $5T of high-margin, fast-snowballing AUM) demand not to be ignored by big companies like Salesforce. But when they show up on our doorstep in a way that seems too cookie-cutter, we criticize ...

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Joel Bruckenstein: They cannot afford to let this happen again.

After dream of cloud-based PortfolioCenter falters, Schwab Advisor Services makes good by showering small RIAs and third-party software vendors with windfalls

The $1.6 trillion RIA custodian gives real-time data to Black Diamond, Tamarac, Orion and others serving Schwab RIAs and small RIAs get PortfolioConnect for free as long as they don't want to track held away assets

September 7, 2018 — 5:31 PM UTC by Lisa Shidler

Brooke's Note: The Andrew Salesky era at Schwab Advisor Services has officially begun and the results are already impressive. The Schwab veteran's knowledge of RIAs may be limited but his ability to make firm decisions and execute upon them is not limited at ...

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Mike Kerins: Going it alone as a VC-backed firm scared me as I didn't have that part of the vision.

As Principal takes RobustWealth reins, the looming question is whether it follows the Northwestern-LearnVest script, which had a depressing final scene

The disparity in size, culture, locale and tenure between the $1 billion AUA robo and the $673 billion financial titan, makes the marriage an interesting case study

September 6, 2018 — 7:55 PM UTC by Oisin Breen

Brooke's Note: In hypothetical classifieds where robo-advisors might advertise themselves to the giant banks and insurers, the typical advertisement might read: One robo-advisor for sale with young, talented workforce, two years of completed engineering, half a value proposition and limitless possibilities with the $75 million of capital to ...

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Eric Clarke: We need to be willing to embrace the advisor's vision, even if at times it means we have competitive overlap.

Orion wins its 95th LPL advisor to show it's also advancing on Envestnet in the broker-dealer market and greening up its pastures

The Omaha, Neb.-based software maker just bagged $5-billion AUA OSJ, Independent Advisor Alliance

August 13, 2018 — 5:54 PM UTC by Oisin Breen

Brooke's Note: Much of what is exciting in the RIA business is the creation of new models. But the other side of it is that new combinations, in concert with evolution, are creating a mutant class of stronger players. LPL and Orion teaming up to ...

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Jacqueline Ko Matthews: We uncommoditize the robo and that's why some of the biggest firms in the country want to invest in us … advisors need what we're doing.

Marty Bicknell-led Shark Tank-style contest chooses to back super-ambitious RIA-automation startup, but his $25-billion RIA'll keep Orion for now

ScratchWorks picked Jacqueline Ko Matthews' InvestmentPod to improve advisor productivity by 60% but it's still just 'potential,' says Bicknell; Good potential

August 1, 2018 — 5:17 PM UTC by Oisin Breen

Brooke's Note: Classic RIABiz articles were about the fragmenting of Wall Street into small RIA firms and the revolution from desktop software to online technology. Today, more emphasis gets placed on new and creative ways of consolidating RIAs and moving beyond conventional online software ...

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Mike Sha raised a pile of money that'll come in handy to pay for people and more people.

'Capacity constrained' SigFig suddenly raises unsought $50 million after major VC steps forward

General Atlantic's funding largess comes after $67 million carried the San Francisco robo its first 11 years

June 19, 2018 — 12:41 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: Your eyes aren't playing tricks. We just published a fairly in-depth article about UBS going live with SigFig last week. Mike Sha's robo-advisor faced tough choices until two wirehouses offered unique partnerships -- and maybe a new business model to boot ...

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Eric Clarke: It's our next phase.

Why Eric Clarke is pressing to give Orion's 1,500 RIAs first crack at BlackRock's Aladdin -- including two that already have feeds

The Orion Advisor Services CEO is working with a $5-trillion AUM asset manager but it boils down to his personal relationship with BlackRock's Brad Stanger

June 15, 2018 — 7:58 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: Recently Aladdin has taken on a cocktail-buzz aura. But it wasn't clear to me where it currently intersects with advisors -- i.e. what will need to happen to put the BlackRock analytics machine at RIA fingertips and why there is so much urgency around ...

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Mike Sha: It's way better for our clients if technology investments are amortized across  [multiple] large partners as opposed to one-off custom development for any one-off particular partner.

Mike Sha's robo-advisor faced tough choices until two wirehouses offered unique partnerships -- and maybe a new business model to boot

Sure, the SigFig's founder plays by some of UBS's rules in taking its financial backing and giant systems account but beyond that, the freedom to cavort with Wall Street rivals is pretty unlimited.

June 14, 2018 — 3:46 PM UTC by Oisin Breen

Brooke's Note: When I asked people who attended Pershing INSITE 2018 what was said about robo-advisors, they recalled not a word being spoken. Yet just three years ago it was all the buzz at every RIA conference. Back then the robos had few assets or ...

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Bernie Clark: Andrew and I have worked closely together on many projects over the past two decades at Schwab.

Bernie Clark gets an A-level exec to help him futurize Schwab's RIA platform

After Lightyear's Advisor Group nabbed Ed Obuchowski, Schwab went big in replacing him with Andrew Salesky

June 6, 2018 — 3:21 AM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: As a Schwab-watcher dating back to 2000 when my InvestmentNews bureau office sat across the street from Chuck in San Francisco, I could only be struck by Andrew Salesky jumping over to RIA custody. Apparently, it was set off by the poach ...

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Barnaby Grist: They asked me to help them find a firm to invest in and we’ve been talking to a bunch of firms. This was the first one I got really excited about.

Purchase of RIA in a Box with reclaimed Barnaby Grist as overseer shows ambition of New York buyer to create compliance 'robo-advisor'

Fresh off big AssetMark score, Aquiline's money talks, saying RIAs must spend big to comply but would like to spend smaller

June 1, 2018 — 3:01 PM UTC by By Lisa Shidler

Brooke's Note: RIAs serve two masters, even if in theory it's all one. Sure, the client comes first. But so does the SEC. Get one right and the other one wrong and the advisor, well-meaning or not, is sunk. So any attempt to innovate ...

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Andy Kalbaugh: It further supports their ability to manage and grow their businesses and provide even greater value in affiliation with LPL.

LPL Financial is latest to go the 'risk number' route by signing deal with LifeYield, which signed a Riskalyze deal in February

The Fort Mill, S.C.-based IBD will use the software to help advisors arbitrage between taxable and non-taxable accounts to minimize the bite of the IRS

May 30, 2018 — 8:14 PM UTC by Oisin Breen

Brooke's Note: When should assets rollover? As LifeYield jumps in to provide automation of the most basic needs in delivering advisor alpha, it's hard not to wonder why it took so long. Certainly pressure on firms like LPL to up their games is ...

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Lowell Putnam: We've all decided to band together to principles that arent even necessarily in our own best interests.

Envestnet quietly deals rivals in on Yodlee play to placate big banks and their latent threat of 'oblivion' in response to 'screen scraping'

The Chicago-based outsourcer orchestrates a Yodlee/Morningstar/Quovo show of force in response to vulnerability to 'throttling' by mega-custodians

May 17, 2018 — 7:24 PM UTC by Oisin Breen

Brooke's Note: The tragedy of the RIA business is that practitioners don't check their independence streaks at the door when a collective effort would prove fruitful going up against D.C. regulators, Wall Street powers and Silicon Valley meddlers. RIA custodians could be more effective by far ...

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David Ireland: We started with Advent and Black Diamond integrations, then APX … now we're talking with other [SS&C] portfolio systems.

As Salentica settles into life as SS&C's fair-haired CRM, downsides of being a sheltered software child are also apparent, critics say

Black Diamond and Advent are still in reach but the firm's appeal to smaller fry in need of low pricing is more limited

May 15, 2018 — 5:26 PM UTC by Oisin Breen

Brooke's Note: Here at RIABiz we're accustomed to seeing nimble firms trump Wall Street might and all its advantages of scale. But as the RIA business grows, nimbleness increasingly plays a scale-seeking game of its own. Yet we can't claim that scale doesn't have appreciable benefits ...

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Brian McLaughlin: I wouldn't say we're directly targeting a go against a Salesforce, [But] from serving a lot of smaller advisors and firms, we are seeing a shift to larger AUM firms.

Downmarket Redtail hustles at 'crazy pace' to steal march upmarket as CRM rival Junxure wires merger and Salesforce relaunches as an off-the-rack product

The Sacramento-based CRM firm moves to 'Transaction Alley' in Atlanta from the Georgia 'burbs to attract urbane engineers

May 10, 2018 — 9:00 PM UTC by Oisin Breen

Brooke's Note: They say dogs are human's best friend because our two species co-evolved, each taking cues from the other about which senses to develop. That process is very much in evidence with CRM software and advisors. So it's hardly surprising that all players ...

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Craig Pearson: [Clients] said: If you come back, we're here.

A higher bidder ripped WealthTouch from Craig Pearson's grasp but his startup could rip the clients, free of charge, right back -- and leave Addepar gasping

After his noncompete expired, the founder and CEO of Private Wealth Systems is welcoming old UHNW managers whose language he speaks

April 25, 2018 — 6:27 PM UTC by Oisin Breen

Brooke's Note: Philosophers are loaded with reasons why vast wealth can screw up your life. Not on that list is the bit where Midas lacks the proper software keep track of all his family's lucre. But Craig Pearson, whose family, he wryly states, went from "riches ...

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