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.

Bill Crager [to InvestmentNews]: Will BlackRock investment products benefit? Probably.

BlackRock buys Envestnet's love for $123 million to crack its 'open-architecture' platform and sets stage for another juicy Envestnet acquisition

The $6-trillion New York mega-manager buys 5% stake in the $2-trillion Chicago clearinghouse to get most-favored-vendor status in 'open architecture' environment

November 29, 2018 — 1:20 AM UTC by Brooke Southall and Oisin Breen

Brooke's Note: Envestnet is a roll-up that works. Not only does the Chicago outsourcer get revenues when it makes deals but people and software. Scale is good. The latter two keep it up to the demands of the advisor market. As Envestnet gets bigger and the market changes ...

Ralph Pahlmeyer: The shift in strategy that I'm heading up, and the reason why I'm now CEO of the company, is that I'm now focused on licensing our technology versus selling our market automation platform.

With Justin Wisz gone, Vestorly's new CEO jibes to algorithm licensing tack, wins Hootsuite and knocks old model, saying market is saturated by competitors

Ralph Pahlmeyer will play to his firm's sifting strengths, seek enterprise deals and think more like a software executive

November 21, 2018 — 7:09 AM UTC by Oisin Breen

Brooke's Note: What we missed in writing our first article about Vestorly co-founder Justin Wisz's exit gets more than made up for here. New CEO Ralph Pahlmeyer lays out how the change in leadership coincides with taking Vestorly in a new direction, both in terms of product and customer prototype ...

Alap Shah: This system is built for efficiency and that’s where we shine.

Sentieo gets $19 million backer after palm-held 'Bloomberg terminal' wins 700 hedge fund and RIA clients

In very all-Silicon Valley deal, start-up's CEO Alap Shah got former myCFO director as customer then convinced him to back his venture to the hilt

November 8, 2018 — 7:17 PM UTC by Lisa Shidler

Brooke's Note: RIAs are rising. Asset managers are falling -- largely because RIAs are moving assets to passive investments. Hedge-fund managers are hanging in there by being ultra-active, so to speak. So what would happen if some RIAs could mimic hedge funds' constructive hyper-activity and take some ...

Mike Sha: The CoPilot platform represents the importance of advisors in the financial planning lifecycle.

SigFig gets back into the robo-advice game with first true advisor product, rolled out by Citizens Bank to help advisors avoid retail and deep-institutional abyss

After shifting more to automating banks, the San Francisco-based firm launches Co-pilot

October 30, 2018 — 2:00 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: For a long time when we wrote about robo-advisors, it was always a tale of pushing the limits of a new frontier. What caught my eye in writing this story was how sources stressed that SigFig is playing catch-up, and not just ...

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Aaron Klein: Our competitors like to downplay our sophistication.

Aaron Klein sells against fear and risk in San Antonio -- and hits back at competitors

The Riskalyze CEO has three businesses, an expanding list of copycats, 600 close friends and a rah-rah message: Fearlessness

October 22, 2018 — 10:40 PM UTC by Guest Columnist Tim Welsh

Brooke's Note: There was much talk in Newport Beach at the Dealmakers Summit about the concept of "boutique" practices. I presumed they sold high-end handbags. In fact it is a term for a business comprised of super-principals, fresh to being powerful who have yet ...

Tricia Haskins: As they got bigger they used technology more for efficiency and scale [of their practices.] Now it's more about client experience.

Fidelity Investments launches its API-forward 'open architecture digital store' as big RIAs demand help fine-tuning client service -- with Schwab likely on deck

The Boston giant's push is more about RIA self-help than the third-party integrations TD Ameritrade makes hay with but now Schwab Advisor Services may be pushed to respond.

October 17, 2018 — 3:24 AM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: With the possible exception of AssetMark's Mukesh Mehta who was the godfather of APIs at TD Ameritrade, perhaps nobody has pushed the open code concept ahead as much as Eric Clarke has at Orion Advisor Services. See: Eric Clarke rolls the API ...

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Vince Pellegrini: [If] $1 trillion in assets and 3.4 million accounts on an innovative SaaS platform [is legacy] I'm good with that label.

Oisin's Bits: DriveWealth is newest RIA custodian with VC money and an Apex mindset; Vestmark hits $1 trillion and promptly gives RIAs means to crank out push-button hedging across accounts

$33 million in VC funds goes to up-start RIA robo custodian; no sooner does Vestmark hit $1 trillion than it pushes out software to help RIAs do omnibus hedging of positions

October 1, 2018 — 9:53 PM UTC by Oisin Breen


A new player has entered the RIA custody and clearing business; DriveWealth and its CEO Robert Cortright has a head-spinning track record of success in ventures that blend financial technology and the processing of money.

Robert Cortright: Existing RIAs are recognizing that their customers ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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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