Welcome to the February 2022 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 robo-advisor Wealthfront has been sold for $1.4B… to UBS, an acquirer from amongst the ‘traditional’ financial services firms that Wealthfront once proclaimed it would disrupt, which has indicated it will pair Wealthfront’s technology with UBS human advisors that Wealthfront sought to displace. In fact, it’s notable that Wealthfront’s $1.4B sale is ‘just’ double its $700M valuation back in late 2014… which means the company’s valuation didn’t even keep pace with the broader growth of the stock market since then (with the S&P 500 up over 150% over the same time period).
Though perhaps most significant in Wealthfront’s exit is the fact that despite Wealthfront being the first to turn direct indexing into a technology solution, it’s actually other direct indexing platforms over the past few years that have been achieving even higher growth rates and valuations than Wealthfront, by eschewing Wealthfront’s direct-to-consumer approach and working with financial advisors instead – an industry nod to how powerful the advisor-client relationship really is in the end.
From there, the latest highlights also feature a number of other interesting advisor technology announcements, including:
- Gemini acquires BITRIA in an attempt to create an end-to-end crypto solution for financial advisors (though it remains unclear whether advisors will be eager enough to implement crypto that they’re willing to add another custodial platform to the mix?)
- RIA compliance technology is becoming increasingly popular, as ComplySci acquires RIA In A Box as Dynasty and MarketCounsel make strategic investments into SmartRIA
- Helios Estate Planning is relaunching as EncorEstate while Trust & Will raises a fresh round of capital to expand its services to financial advisors
- Junxure CRM is rebranded and relaunched as AdvisorEngine CRM, with expanded capabilities to support the growing complexity of advisory firm workflows
- Redtail expands its “Speak” text-messaging platform to non-Redtail users who want to centralize one-to-many text messaging with clients
- F2Strategy launches a new “Outsourced Chief Technology Officer” (OCTO) solution for mid-to-large-sized independent firms that need help weaving together an increasingly complex technology stack
In addition, this month marks the debut of the inaugural Kitces Independent Advisor Technology Study, showing the latest trends in what advisors are adopting (or not) and which technology tools they’re most satisfied with (or not). As in the end, it’s the independent advisors who control their own technology decisions – and can most readily ‘vote with their feet’ about what is really the best technology or not – that provide the best insight into what will become the most popular advisor technology tools in the future.
In the meantime, we’ve also launched a beta version of our new Kitces AdvisorTech Directory, to make it even easier for financial advisors to look through the available advisor technology options to choose what’s right for them!
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]!