Welcome to the July 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 Charles Schwab agreed to pay a whopping $187M to settle charges from the SEC that it misled investors by advertising that its Schwab Intelligent Portfolios robo-advisor was “free” when in reality Schwab not only was profiting on investor cash that was being swept to its affiliated Schwab Bank, but set its cash allocation targets in client portfolios at above-typical levels specifically to ensure it achieved its desired level of business revenue from its robo-offering (reducing long-term client returns by an amount equivalent to the advisory fee it said it wasn’t charging but indirectly generated anyway).
The significance of the Schwab settlement is not only its sheer magnitude– at $187M, it is likely enough to wipe out virtually all profits that Schwab ever earned on its robo-advisor in 7 years (equivalent to the profits on $375B of AUM assuming a 25bps fee and a 20% profit margin, while Schwab’s robo-advisor itself was reportedly ‘just’ $65B of AUM last month!) – but that it raises questions about whether Schwab’s other lines of business, including its RIA custodial offering, may also face regulatory scrutiny, given Schwab’s “Pledge” to not charge RIA custody fees while profiting from the cash sweep to Schwab Bank is remarkably similar to the marketing tactic it just settled with the SEC about for its “no-fee” robo-advisor.
From there, the latest highlights also feature a number of other interesting advisor technology announcements, including:
- Bento Engine raises $1.1M to implement a ‘Next Best Conversation’ for advisors by integrating with their CRM to prompt client outreach based on key age milestones
- RIA In A Box integrates with InvestorCOM to launch a new DoL PTE 2020-02 RolloverAnalyzer solution
- Pershing X signals the launch of an MVP of its new ‘All-In-One’ advisor technology platform… while questions remain about what its long-term business goals are for the new technology offering
Read the analysis about these announcements in this month’s column, and a discussion of more trends in advisor technology, including:
- FutureProof and XYPN LIVE both announce new AdvisorTech Demo events where newer/startup technology companies can submit applications to be seen by a large advisor audience (without being required to pay a big sponsorship fee!)
- Fruitful raises $33M to launch a new financial-planning-app-plus-CFP-guide subscription offering for a $100/month fee, and raises the question of whether there’s a market for ongoing advice services in the ‘middle’ market between do-it-yourselfers and traditional full-scale advice relationships?
In the meantime, we’ve also made several updates to the 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]!