Top Business-to-Business Wealth Tech Players

wealthtech4

If you’ve been following our series on wealth tech, you’ve seen our analysis of the industry as a whole, a review of the top trends, and an examination of B2C wealth tech players.

Our wealth tech coverage continues this week with a review of business-to-business (B2B) players in the wealth tech space. These are companies that cater directly to banks, advisors, or brokerages, instead of offering products or services directly to consumers. B2B wealth tech is a large category, so I’ve sub-divided it into four digestible groups and listed my top picks for each category. Since category sizes vary, the number of selections also varies.

Alternative investment services
These are platforms that help advisors connect clients with unconventional investment types, such as private equity, hedge funds, futures, real estate, etc.

Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 11.44.57 AMEquityZen’s EZ Institutional lets advisors give clients access to a diverse asset class

Technology for advisors and brokerages
These are tools available via API, SDK, or web interface to help advisors compete with robo advisors by allowing them to invest with less bias, increase client communication, scale operations, find new clients, and more.

Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 11.40.41 AMTrizic offers advisors their own digital tools to compete with robo advisors

Non-U.S. B2B investment and advisor technology
Similar to the above category, these companies offer tools for advisors outside of the U.S.

Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 11.30.52 AMmeetInvest helps advisors invest like world-renowned market experts

News and Information Companies
These are online platforms, APIs, or SaaS offerings that provide advisors market information, show them trending news, or connect businesses with market data to power their own products.

Screen-Shot-2016-10-31-at-3.22.22-PMForwardLane’s dashboard acts like a private research analyst for advisors advisors, helping them stay current on new trends and funds

Wealth Tech: A Fintech Buzzword Overview

wealthtech4

Continuing our series on wealth tech (check out our first post highlighting top trends), I wanted to step back and look at the industry as a whole. While multiple published analyses about robo advisors can be found, little is published regarding the broader wealth tech industry.

What is wealth tech?

Simply put, wealth tech is a segment of financial technology that focuses on enhancing wealth management and investing. That means that while robo advisors are a large—and quite popular—piece of the wealth-tech puzzle, other pieces merit discussion, too.

What does wealth tech encompass? Exclude?

Technology from traditional wealth management firms, alternative investment solutions from non-bank players, and tools to support financial advisors—all fall under wealth tech. Ancillary technology, such as PFM, are not considered part of wealth tech.

A robo advisor by any other name

While the term robo advisor is commonly used (a Google search produces 2.2 million results), not all automated management and advisory companies appreciate the name. For example, Personal Capital (FS14, FDSV16) CEO Bill Harris doesn’t classify his company as a robo advisor, which he views as a wholly automated investment tool. Instead, he strives to balance high tech with high touch. In an interview with WealthManagement.com Harris said, “We do have technology that is helping to automate and scale what we do, but in addition to that technology, just as important, are the individual advisers. Ultimately, the job of matching a household with the optimal portfolio is a more complicated thing than plugging information into a series of algorithms.” iQuantifi (FF14) is on the other end of the spectrum. In his demo at FinovateFall 2014, iQuantifi founder and CEO Tom White said, “We’re the only true robo advisor, and we’re not ashamed to call ourselves a robo advisor.”

Industry movement

Since the advent of robo advisors in 2008, we’ve seen a lot of growth in the U.S. robo advisory market. Take a look:

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-1-28-26-pm

Assets under management are predicted to climb six-fold in the next three years, to $2.2 trillion. With the number of robo advisor launches increasing by an average of 43% YOY since 2008, it’s likely we’ll see a decrease in the number of robo advisor launches in the U.S., combined with an increase in M&A (mergers and acquisitions) activity to further consolidate the industry.

Next week, I’ll continue the wealth tech industry analysis by taking a look at divisions in the industry and reviewing some key players.


Sources:

Financial Review
Logging on to the Future of Financial Advice
by James Frost

A.T. Kearney
Hype vs. Reality: The Coming Waves of “Robo” Adoption
by Teresa Epperson, Bob Hedges, Uday Singh, and Monica Gabel

Top Trends in Wealthtech: From API-ization to Virtual Engagement

wealthtech_emoneyadvisor

Wealth management technology provider eMoney Advisor, pictured here at FinovateFall, was acquired by Fidelity Investments in 2015 for $250 million.

With 2017 just around the corner, what trends are likely to drive innovations in wealth management technology, aka wealth tech?

The biggest potential regulatory change is the Department of Labor rule that financial planners must act as fiduciaries. The Trump election victory, accompanied by Republican control over both houses of Congress, may make this rule irrelevant. But most in the wealth management industry are nevertheless making preparations in the event the rule (announced this past spring and to be rolled out next spring) is kept. One concern with regard to the fiduciary rule specifically related to wealth tech is how fiduciary responsibility would work with robo-advisories. Can an automated investment platform determine conflicts of interest between the planner and client? What technological tools will be needed to give robo-advisory platforms this capacity? Maintaining fiduciary responsibility with a robotic investment platform suggests two potential scenarios: increasing use of human advisers in combination with automated technology, and deploying sentiment analysis technologies to better interpret nonverbal communication between planners and clients. Interestingly, both of these solutions are connected to other trends in wealth management, such as virtual meetings/conferences.

Use of virtual meetings

Virtual meetings will help wealth managers respond to a variety of issues, including better engagement and multichannel/channel-of-choice engagement. Virtual meetings could even help managers deal with greater fiduciary responsibilities. The channels can include everything from the use of Skype calls and video conferencing to more elaborate virtual meeting platforms such as those from Finovate alums like SuiteBox (F16) and SaleMove (F16). Both PwC and Deloitte have noticed the trend. “Multichannel delivery will become a strategy for delivering advice to clients in the most convenient, most efficient way possible based on each client’s particular needs at particular moments,” said PwC, in a recent look at wealth management technology trends. Deloitte noted that “new combinations of digital and human-based channels” are not just for millennials, saying that some gen-Xers and boomers “want to engage in new ways” as well.

According to a study conducted by Investment News/Cambridge, only 4% of advisers who responded currently list video conferencing as one of their communication methods, but 32% expect to rely on it more within five years. Douglas Boneparth, partner at Life and Wealth Planning, told Investment News, “I am seeing advisers, especially younger advisers, adapt to a more virtual and technologically savvy way of doing business. Advisers are focused on the level of service we provide and being accessible in more ways … virtual meetings is a great example of that.”

API-driven platform-ization

The ability to integrate financial data using APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) has been a huge boon for finance in general and wealth tech in specific. API use and adoption within wealth tech is especially strong where brokerage services are involved, (e.g., order-management system APIs). At a fundamental level, APIs enable linking multiple apps (portfolio management, document management, pricing systems); eliminate manual data entry; and limit mistakes during data transfer and update.

Marion Asnes of Broadridge Financial Solutions emphasized this last point. “Platforms must aggregate performance data across various institutions, and then, integrate planning, portfolio accounting, trading, reporting, and communications functions,” Asnes wrote for Investment News. “A wealth manager would need to aggregate performance data from all the various accounts in one place and base recommendations on that complete picture.” Writing in Quovo, John Horneff presented APIs also as an opportunity for managers to differentiate themselves, “leveraging new, innovative technology to break away from the pack and provide unique offerings.”

wealthtech_xignite

Stephane Dubois, CEO of Xignite, during his company’s demo at FinovateAsia 2016. Xignite serves more than one one trillion market data API calls a year.

Xignite (F16) founder and CEO Stephane Dubois says the most salient factors of robo-advisory are: “ETFs, Trading APIs, and Market Data APIs.” Dubois’ firm is an acknowledged leader in the latter. With clients that are a who’s who of wealth management innovators—think Betterment (F11); Motif Investing (F14); Personal Capital (F14); and TipRanks (F13)—Xignite launched its FintechRevolution API Ecosystem in 2015 in an effort to make financial APIs more available to startups.

Growing importance of platforms

Both digital storage and ensuring ready accessibility of data are two trends in wealth management that point to the growing importance of advisor platforms to help wealth managers to their work. This is clearly one area where technology is playing a major role, especially for those focusing on the “accessibility of data” issue. Quoted in Investment News, Overplays co-founder Abby Schneiderman said, “Having data all in one place is one more way advisers can serve their clients’ needs … . I think one thing advisers are looking for is singular places to house all of their client’s information: wishes, documents, investment accounts, etc. in one place.”

Innovations in wealth management and financial advice platforms enable better engagement. Innovative platforms can give advisers more “surface area” for conversation and engagement with their clients. A good example is Polly Portfolio (F16) that uses natural language technology to ask customers about their financial goals and economic outlook to personalize and, importantly, explain portfolio construction. Combined with API-delivery and the inclusion of functionality like video, innovations in platform design will be key to help managers and advisors take advantage of industry trends.

HNW clients and robo-advisory

As robo-advisory becomes both more sophisticated and more accepted, an increasing number of high net worth (HNW) individuals are taking the automated investment route for some part of their finances. Betterment’s Jon Stein says their largest customer has $10 million invested with the company. He adds that many HNW people are already investors, but are now upping their investment from 5% two years ago to 20% (Stein defines HNW as having assets above $500,000).

Catering to high net worth clients, according to some, involves both greater technological sophistication on the part of robo-advisors as well as more extensive customer service. Writing in the CBInsights Blog, the analysts noted that one criticism of robo-advisors is that the very wealthy might have “more complex investment needs and higher customer service expectations.”

Specifically, high net worth clients may require access to more complex investment vehicles, including non-equity investments, as well as more advanced rebalancing and tax harvesting than the average investor. Other services, such as helping HNW clients manage sizable amounts of cash a la MaxMyInterest (F14), would also help encourage more wealthy investors to allocate a portion of their assets to robo-advisors.

wealthtech_wisebanyan

Herbert Moore and Jennifer Chin of WiseBanyan during their FinDEVr Silicon Valley debut. WiseBanyan is an independent robo-advisor that caters to millennials.

“Small data”

One large trend wherever clients and customers are involved is the role of small data, the kind of basic client data—demographics, for example—that can be very informative for the financial planner or wealth manager. In terms of increasing engagement, providing more accurate and personalized financial guidance, a little information about a client’s personal circumstances can go a long way.

In addition to providing better service to customers, small data can be the key to making a wealth management or financial planning business more efficient. Knowing which revenues are coming from new versus existing clients, for example, can help managers get the right products and services to the right customers. This is another area where innovators have produced platforms and software to help analyze client data and provide insights, often leveraging visualization technologies.

Robo-advisories: build or buy?

For financial institutions looking to provide wealth management services via robo-advisor, the question is whether to build or buy. While each approach has advantages and disadvantages, many FIs and brokerage firms have already decided:

Examples of firms that have gone the “roll your own” route include Fidelity with its Fidelity Go; Schwab with its Schwab Intelligent Portfolios; Vanguard with its Vanguard Personal Advisors Services; and E-Trade with its E-Trade Adaptive Portfolio.

But acquisitions have been a way for FIs to get up and running with robo-advisory service in a hurry. Some of the more notable recent acquisitions include Legg Mason’s purchase of Financial Guard (F13); Invesco PowerShares acquisition of Jemstep (F13); and Blackrock’s taking on FutureAdvisor (F13).

Other FIs are splitting the difference and instead seek partnerships with robo-advisors. The recent agreement and investment between Citizens Bank and SigFig to help the former build out a robo-advisory platform is an example of this approach.

Changing nature of advice

The growing capacity of robo-advisors to help manage other aspects of personal finance supports a more expansive view of wealth management and financial planning. This includes everything from health care planning, insurance, even real estate, education and leisure. The ability of technology to aggregate financial information is a major catalyst here, giving managers the ability to provide guidance beyond traditional boundaries.

Much of what is driving the changing nature of advice has to do with those being advised. The myriad and interconnected financial concerns affecting millennials—from managing student loan debt to starting a family—mean that financial planning beyond how to invest in a 401(k) is increasingly relevant and necessary. At the other end of the spectrum, active older adults in the “longevity economy” have financial issues that differ from those of seniors a generation ago who often had pensions and other financial support later in life.

This is where companies like iQuantifi (F14)—a self-described “proud robo-advisor” and virtual financial advisor—come in, with a platform that provides planning and guidance over a wide variety of topics, including insurance. Millennials are being catered to by wealth tech firms like WiseBanyan (FD16) while near and recent retirees can look to a company like True Link (F14), which specializes in financial planning for seniors.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Refundo Previews Mobile Tax Filing App Connect

Around the web

  • Entersekt to bring its 2FA technology, Transakt, to Nigeria via partnership with First Authentication Services Ltd (FASL).
  • Inc.com features Stuart Frankel of Narrative Science on the “keys to startup success.”
  • Experian launches anti-fraud platform, CrossCore, in South Africa.
  • True Potential opens up its portfolios to all U.K. advisers.
  • Corporate Insight features iQuantifi in a look at best practices in goal-setting apps.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • A Score for Socure: The Digital ID Company Lands Funds from Santander.
  • Digital Payments Guardian from Prairie Cloudware Goes Live at Multibillion Dollar Regional Bank.
  • Tradeshift Unveils Go,the First B2B Virtual Assistant for Managing Business Expenses and Travel.
  • With Ripple, Seven Banks Test Out the Blockchain.

Around the web

  • TSYS and Equinox team up to launch semi-integrated EMV payment solution for Value-Added Resellers.
  • Forbes column on “millennial money mistakes” features Kapitall.
  • iQuantifi founder and CEO Tom White writes about goal-based selling for BankDirector.com.
  • Accusoft wins spot in 2016 SD Times 100 for its innovations in software development.
  • Prairie Cloudware’s Digital Payments Guardian mobile wallet goes live with multi-billion dollar regional bank.
  • Fintech profile interviews Cloud Lending CEO Snehal Fulzele.
  • Fiserv launches Notifi to deliver actionable alerts.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

FT Partners New Research Report on Digital Wealth Management Features a Dozen Finovate Alums

The new research report on digital wealth management from Financial Technology Partners is a timely reminder of just how deep the firm’s dedication to, and insight into, the fintech world goes (that the report features a dozen Finovate and FinDEVr alums is pretty neat, too).

FT Partners’ report “Are the Robots Taking Over? The Emergence of Automated Digital Wealth Management Solutions” looks at the different platforms and business models used by digital wealth management companies, as well as the response by industry incumbents. The 140+ page report also features interviews with CEOs from leading major digital wealth-management companies such as Betterment, Nutmeg, and SigFig.

Writing about this FT Partners’ report on digital wealth management for Bloomberg View, columnist and money manager Barry Ritholtz noted:

“For those of you who may not have thought much about how technology might affect Wall Street, the work you do each day, and how you do it—not to mention what it means for your careers—this report is invaluable.”

Ritholtz outlined how his own experience as a money manager had been shaped by the rapidly changing technology landscape (“My office is small, but thanks to technology, and fintech in particular, we are able to be very productive with just 14 people,” he wrote). He also admits this productivity comes at a cost for some. “Those people who don’t adapt will find themselves with limited career options,” Ritholtz writes.

So who are the disruptors in the digital wealth management space of whom both FT Partners and Ritholtz speak?

Betterment_logo

 

dyme

 

 

 

futureadvisorlogo

 

 

HedgeableLogo

 

 

iQuantifiLogo_FF2014

 

 

Jemstep_Logo

 

 

  • Founded in 2008
  • Headquartered in Los Altos, California
  • Kevin Cimring and Michael Blumenthal are joint CEOs
  • Acquired by Invesco, January 2016
  • FinovateSpring 2013

LearnVest_logo

 

 

  • Founded in 2009
  • Headquartered in New York, New York
  • Alexa von Tobel is CEO and founder
  • Acquired by Northwestern Mutual, March 2015
  • FinovateFall 2013

MotifInvesting_logo_150x

 

 

NutmegLogo-thumb-200x56-5002-thumb-150x42-5003

 

 

Personal-Capital-Logo

 

SigFig_logo

 

 

tradeking_logo

 

 

 

  • Founded in 2005
  • Headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida
  • Donato Montanaro is CEO
  • Acquired by Ally Financial, April 2016
  • FinovateSpring 2008

 

HedgeCoVest Takes Top Honors at 2015 Benzinga Fintech Awards

benzinga_fintech_awards_philip3

The votes are in! HedgeCoVest is the winner of the Overall category at the 2015 Benzinga Fintech Awards.

HedgeCoVest earned its first-place award at the Benzinga Fintech Awards Gala Event held earlier this month in New York City. The company picked up 5 million ad impressions and a one-year license to the Benzinga Pro Real-Time News & Data feed. Second- and third-place prizes were also awarded.

In attendance at the event were more than 50 CEOs, more than 100 fintech companies, about 20 venture capital firms, 10 major U.S. retail brokerages, and four fintech accelerators, as well as a host of press and media.

HedgeCoVest also performed well in individual categories, winning the Alternative Investment category, and earning runner-up recognition in the Most Disruptive category. Finovate alums taking home individual awards are listed below. See a full list of all winners, runners-up, and finalists.

Betterment: winner: Robo Advisor Tools, Founder of the Year (Jon Stein); runner-up: “A Penny Saved, A Penny Earned”

iBillionaire: finalist: Idea Generation Creating Proprietary Data

iQuantifi: finalist: Robo Advisor Tools, “A Penny Saved, A Penny Earned,” Idea Generation Strategy

LikeFolio: winner: Idea Generation Research Platforms & Tools

Market Prophit: runner-up: Idea Generation Creating Proprietary Data

Motif Investing: winner: Most Disruptive; finalist: Founder of the Year (Hardeep Walia), Alternative Investment

Personal Capital: runner-up: Idea Generation Strategy; finalist: “A Penny Saved, A Penny Earned”

Thinknum: finalist: Best Use of the Crowd, Most Promising Startup

TipRanks: winner: Idea Generation Trade Recommendations

Trunomi:. finalist: Best Enterprise Solution

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Xero & TransferWise Team Up to Save SMBs on Foreign Currency Exchange Fees

Around the Web

  • Bloomberg interviews LendingTree founder and CEO Doug Lebda.
  • Nashville Business Journal features iQuantifi and its recent study on millennials and their money.
  • Safeco grants Insuritas “Premier Partner” status.
  • Fenergo appoints former Adobe Systems executive Colm Heffernan to chief operating officer.
  • Mitek launches DoubleNet Pay financial app to help workers pay bills and fund savings. See the technology live at FinovateSpring in San Jose.
  • PYMNTS.com looks at the status of Prosper as tech’s latest “unicorn.”
  • Realty Mogul launches commercial offering.
  • BBVA acquires leading user experience firm Spring Studio.
  • Toshl Finance launches new features with WalletGear 2.0.
  • New York Tech Journal profiles Qapital.
  • InComm Partners with KUBRA to Simplify Cash Payments for Customers.
  • Tuition.io launches flex395.com, an employee-benefits product that enables employers to contribute directly to their employees’ student loans.
  • Air France-KLM to use Tradeshift for global e-invoicing.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • AlwaysOn’s OnFinance Top 100 Features 30 Finovate Alums
  • SaveUp Purchased by Chicago-Area Entrepreneur Paul J. Burt

Around the Web

  • Turk Ekonomi Bankasi (TEB) launches digital banking service developed by Monitise.
  • Dragon Wealth earns spot in Startupbootcamp FinTEch’s inaugural Singapore program.
  • Ayeyarwady Bank (AYA Bank) to deploy Bankworld ATM platform from CR2.
  • Virtual Piggy hires Viant Capital to provide financial advice on strategic options.
  • MasterCard presents its PFM “in-reach” benefits-platform to help issuers engage millennials.
  • iQuantifi teams up with MTSU Jones College of Business to produce inaugural Millennial Money Mindset Survey.
  • Motif updates its iPhone app to enable search-and-browse capability of motif catalogues directly from the app.
  • FreeAgent launches first iOS app to help manage invoices and expenses on the go.
  • PYMNTS features predictions from Blackhawk Network, Bluefin Payments, CashStar, Experian, FIS, Fiserv, and SimplyTapp.
  • Xero Denver named Top Workplace by Denver Post.
  • American Banker examines how Malauzai is helping small banks get a head start on Apple Watch.
  • PayPal confirms bitcoin acceptance option in SEC filing.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Alumni News: March 10, 2015

Finovate-F-Logo-thumb-100x100-4490-thumb-100x100-8209-thumb-200x200-8210-thumb-200x200-8972-thumb-200x200-8975-thumb-125x125-9061-thumb-125x125-13257-thumb-150x150-13291-thumb-150x150-13321-thumb-125x125-13415

  • CoverHound Raises $14 Million in Series B
  • Mambu partners with NCC Group, adding assurance solution, SaaS Assured.
  • Check out our interview with CurrencyTransfer.com co-founder, Daniel Abrahams.
  • Fiserv makes The Card Collection available to FIs to help accelerate transition to EMV chip cards.
  • Nashville Post reports on iQuantifi and its participation in the Plug and Play accelerator program this spring.
  • All ten of the top apps in U.S. News & World Report’s review of credit union apps were built by Digital Insight.
  • A look at technology in Kansas City features insights from EyeVerify CEO and founder Toby Rush.
  • Rippleshot and BioCatch earn finalist spots in MRC METAwards.
  • Gartner positions MicroStrategy in the “Leader” quadrant of the 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms report for eight years in a row.
  • Finovate Debuts: ebankIT’s Solutions Tap into Wearables and Augmented Reality

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.