Women of Wealth Management

The RIA business is many good things but integrated from a gender standpoint is not one of them. This is not so great. Women are the majority of humanity and they have an asset-building strategy that can't be beat. Women outlive their beer-and-steak mates and end up with big estates. But today's women have too another strategy -- pursuing wealth in the workplace. Yet when they go to find fellow women to talk all this through with, they don't readily find them.

Companies big and small have for decades fallen over themselves to say that they have women's initiatives but I can't think of one that has amounted to much. But there are stories-- dozens or hundreds -- of them about women exerting their influence on this business and we are starting to collect them. It's a starting place -- documenting the ground being covered by women in the form of engaging tales graphically depicted by the physiognomy of the fairer sex.

Fidelity CEO Abby Johnson is opening the doors to millennials with zero-fee mutual funds; will competitors respond?

Abby Johnson's zero-fee play for millennials gets to $1 billion in one month but Vanguard, BlackRock and Schwab say piffle; Note, RIAs need not apply

The play to out-Vanguard Vanguard gets stony response from competitors but analysts say Fidelity may actually be a quick study in the freemium game

September 1, 2018 — 6:38 AM UTC by James Picerno

Brooke's Note: The idea of Fidelity offering free mutual funds a decade ago would have been right up there with driving a drone to work. Now it blends in with so much of the race to free, or virtually free, portfolio management we hear about ...

Allison Felix proved herself the old-fashioned way to create a very modern result.

A $2.7 billion RIA makes Allison Felix, 40, its president. She started as an executive assistant out of college.

CEO Steve Cassaday also sold her a minority stake in the firm and paid for half of an MBA as part of her grooming

July 13, 2018 — 7:49 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: Back when RIABiz got started, we put a big emphasis on debriefing breakaway brokers who became RIAs. There are lots of good stories but none is better than Steve Cassaday's. See: A breakaway story, old-school style Since his "old-school" breakaway ...

Donna Wells: I consider myself a hacker, even, if not an engineer.

Betterment turns to ex Mint and Schwab marketing exec Donna Wells to 'hack' back copycat robos and make its brand a household name

No longer the disruptive New York upstart, the $14 billion AUM robo is outgunned by institutional heavy-hitters -- a dynamic Donna Wells knows

July 12, 2018 — 6:12 PM UTC by Oisin Breen

Brooke's Note: The robo naysayers have long made one very boring point about the very exciting prospect of creating from scratch a better, cheaper, fairer and more inclusive financial advice business. Namely, the analysts have pointed to the immutable client acquisition costs they see ...

Kara Murphy is a rare enough talent that United Capital was willing to adjust to her timing.

Joe Duran bets two heads are better than one with Kara Murphy and Bob Landry on board to lead United Capital's investment strategy

The United Capital CEO goes from zero to two investment officers to handle mounting task of managing $22B of AUM and a projected $10B of FinLife assets

June 13, 2018 — 5:42 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: You'd think that the rise of passive investing, robo-investing and all that stuff about performance as measured by "wellness" might make chief investment officers obsolete. Yet in still another irony of rising RIA automation, the stock of such humans seems to be on the ...

Blair duQuesnay, like Josh Brown, paid her dues on Wall Street.

Reformed Broker RIA makes hire to turn his $825-million-AUM firm into a blog incubator with a not-unneeded feminine touch

Ritholtz Wealth's Josh Brown hires estimable Blair duQuesnay, a reformed UBS broker who brings her own online presence

June 8, 2018 — 2:37 AM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: I recall a time when every headline in the financial advisory trade press seemed to contain the words "social media." Suddenly everyone was an expert about how you could hang out with friends online and jot thoughts in a public diary and ...

Alexa von Tobel will keep her title with the relaunch of LearnVest but her idealistic mission may or may not survive.

Why exactly Northwestern Mutual bought a digital darling for $250 million, shut it down, orphaned its customers and declared progress

When the Milwaukee-based mega-insurer relaunches in six months, the one aspect certainly subtracted from the mix will be the cash-draining 8,000 mass market customers

May 9, 2018 — 9:23 PM UTC by By Lisa Shidler

Brooke's Note: If there were a handbook of M&A ethics, the chapter on legacy behemoths buying digital-era startups promising to democratize financial advice would read: "Dark, old-line product manufacturers are permitted to buy small, promising, disruptive, cash-burning beacons of entrepreneurial light and re-educate the ...

Sara Grillo: Do it creatively or don’t do it at all.

Five fully pregnant email subject lines and how they make investors open your RIA newsletter

A standout attn: line is a must to get clicks and reads yet often gets treated as optional

April 16, 2018 — 7:10 PM UTC by Guest Columnist Sara Grillo

Brooke's Note: When Sara Grillo proposed this column, I was immediately enthused. I really think the RIA business at a macro and a micro level is plagued by a communications problem, born of a disconnect. At a macro level, consumers still struggle to understand the ...

Rupal Poltack is 'very familiar with what it feels like on the other side of the [family office] table,' says Andrew Fay.

Returning to Fidelity after eight-year hiatus, Rupal Poltack joins $134B Fido family office division to make it UHNW kid-friendly

The senior vice president will help newly promoted Andrew Fay make the unit more paperless, more digital and more a more-likely spot for rich earners and their millennial offspring to chat about money

April 3, 2018 — 5:43 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: Fidelity's family office unit is the upper segment of Fidelity Clearing & Custody and includes RIAs with a preponderance of accounts with $25 million or more. Its growth has been pretty phenomenal even though the company allows that some of the assets are merely ...

Bill Willis: The code of conduct at Morgan Stanley is embedded in compliance manual. I’m sure it could find a page, a paragraph, a sentence that would justify his termination.

Morgan Stanley mega-producer's fate in Oregon may become #MeToo movement litmus test on Wall Street after New York Times report

The charges against Douglas Greenberg of egregious and unlawful behavior aren't compliance- or even MS-employee related, making them 'gray area' infractions, says a source

April 2, 2018 — 6:30 PM UTC by Keith Girard

UPDATE: Morgan Stanley announced Tuesday that it had fired Douglas Greenberg, The New York Times first reported. As of Wednesday morning, his name had been scrubbed from the firm's website. The full statement from Morgan Stanley spokeswoman Christy Jockle reads: “Following our review, former ...

Abby Johnson is meeting high expectations, reporting solid growth for 2017 with positive investment flows for the asset management division.

Fidelity Investments makes unlikely turnaround as active equity manager but is it taking on too much risk?

With Abby Johnson in charge, Fidelity is swinging for more fences, beating peers, continuing to see asset outflows and thinking long-term

March 20, 2018 — 9:34 PM UTC by James Picerno

Brooke's Note: If you're Fidelity Investments' CEO, then the biggest conflict comes into play regarding actively managed mutual funds. Your Yin tells you to give your managers the freedom to draw outside the lines, take risks and think long-term. Your Yang says that your core ...

Lori Hardwick: Can Riskalyze play well with the home office? Not just allowing them to be on the shelf but really getting that home office to work with them.

What Aaron Klein's board pick of Lori Hardwick tells about Riskalyze's next big hurdle

The Envestnet fourth partner and ex-COO at Pershing plans to make sure the fast-rising Sacremento-area robo-plus finds and makes the right enterprise deals with broker-dealers

March 6, 2018 — 10:51 PM UTC by Brooke Southall and Oisin Breen

Brooke's Note: When high tensile entrepreneurs with no extra time on their hands forge pacts under any guise, have a look at what is under the hood of the arrangement. The directorship pact between Lori Hardwick and Aaron Klein fits that category. More on Lori ...

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Julie Back: We have been struck by our firms’ similarities.

Greg Friedman buys 'needle-in-a-haystack' Seattle RIA

With a much more feminine look, the CEO of Private Ocean can now assault Amazon.com wealth

January 20, 2018 — 12:11 AM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: Idle hands. If you are Greg Friedman it means you renew your roll-up efforts to make a pond of assets into more like a private ocean. All kidding aside, it exciting to see this second act come so tightly on the heels ...

Kelly Waltrich headlined a raft of sales marketing and client-support hires by Orion.

'New Moves in the Biz' section rises as human assets in RIA business flow

The RIABiz micro-stories are diverse. A robo startup star migrates to legacy-land, Sallie Krawcheck hires a CMO, an ex-NBA player bounces out of Goldman and an advisor moves back to Cleveland to put the '& son' in his father's RIA

January 3, 2018 — 7:28 PM UTC by Dina Hampton

Dina's Note: New Moves in the Biz -- the subsection that's been nestled under the lead story of the RIABIz homepage since fall 2016 -- aims to itemize the biggest cumulative asset on the balance sheet of every RIA and RIA vendor -- human talent. Individually, that talent is ...

Sallie Krawcheck: He proceeded to give me chapter and verse on how financial advisors are hard to manage. (Photo credit: WBUR)

Robo-advisors hit lull in everything but VC backing as reality fragments their identity

A Silicon Valley venture capitalist lectures Sallie Krawcheck on drawbacks of human advisors after she explains she needs capital to hire some

December 11, 2017 — 9:43 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: Here's a blast from the past: robo-advisors. First we were hearing about how they'd take over the RIA business. Then we heard how they'd reinvent it by allowing advisors to keep a side book of business of micro-accounts. Now we ...

The ex-Betterment unit heads up Charles Schwab & Co's. robo-voltage at a critical phase.

Exploding to near $24 billion* of assets under automation, Schwab creates robo-exec slot and fills it with ex-Betterment unit chief

Cynthia Loh puts fresh face on Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and Schwab Intelligent Advisory as Betterment puts out a help wanted sign

October 3, 2017 — 7:58 PM UTC by Lisa Shidler

Brooke's Note: This article needed careful construction because it touches a handful of high-voltage lines. Cynthia Loh departed the number one VC-backed robo in Betterment, where she led the 401(k) side, to join the number one robo-advisor -- period -- in Schwab. This seems to indicate a ...

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