Welcome to the July 2021 issue of the Latest News in Financial #AdvisorTech – where we look at the big news, announcements, and underlying trends and developments that are emerging in the world of technology solutions for financial advisors!
This month’s edition kicks off with the big news that SmartAsset has achieved “unicorn” status with a $1B+ valuation… driven primarily by its pivot to using its consumer financial media content as a lead generation channel for financial advisors, which has quickly grown to generating $1.5B/month in new asset flows for advisors, and has become the “key driver of revenue growth” as the platform approaches $100M of annual revenue. Of course, the caveat is that “cold” leads from third-party media sites don’t necessarily have a high conversion rate, leading to a ‘game of numbers’ of needing to sift through a large number of non-qualified leads to find the few that are a good fit, and necessitating dedicated business development staff to be able to nurture the opportunities. Which in turn is making such lead generation services especially popular amongst the largest independent advisory firms, that are both struggling to otherwise scale their organic growth, but do have free cash flow to invest into new leads (and a business development team to convert them).
From there, the latest highlights also feature a number of other interesting advisor technology announcements, including:
- Broadridge acquires AdvisorStream as digital marketing for financial advisors continues to heat up
- Principal shuts down RobustWealth as another robo-for-advisors fails to convince advisors to switch platforms
- Addepar raises a fresh round of $150M of capital, raising questions of whether the company will expand further into portfolio management tools to attract more ‘downstream’ mid-to-large-sized RIAs
- JPMorgan acquires OpenInvest as demand continues to rise for ESG (as implemented through direct indexing)
- Orion partners with FeeX to make it easier for advisory firms to not only bill upon but directly manage held-away 401(k) plans
Read the analysis about these announcements in this month’s column, and a discussion of more trends in advisor technology, including:
- Pershing announces a new NetXServices Developer Hub as it continues to expand its APIs further towards an open architecture ecosystem
- Goldman Sachs and LPL officially launch standalone RIA custody platforms for fee-only advisors
- FP Alpha launches new tools to digitally scan clients’ estate planning documents to automatically create estate flowcharts
- Pulse360 rolls out a new “meeting intelligence dashboard” to provide centralized management of an advisor’s weekly meetings (and all the agendas, meeting prep, and follow-up!)
And be certain to read to the end, where we have provided an update to our popular “Financial AdvisorTech Solutions Map” as well!
*And for #AdvisorTech companies who want to submit their tech announcements for consideration in future issues, please submit to [email protected]!