Ron Fiske says he first worked with Jud Bergman and Bill Crager 10 years ago when he was a managing director at Pershing to help build the clearing and custody firm’s Managed Account Network (MAN) TAMP program. After a stint at Fidelity Institutional Wealth, Fiske joined Envestnet last fall as managing director of strategic partnerships, with responsibility for forging deeper relationships with the company’s “fair number of important custodial partnerships,” such as those with Fidelity, Pershing, Schwab Advisor Services and TD Ameritrade Institutional.
The ever-ebullient Fiske says Envestnet has “become like the Times Square of strategists,” where advisors can ‘meet’ the 40 strategists and more than 800 SMA managers on the platform. An acknowledged fan of Envestnet’s leadership, Fiske says “Jud and Bill thought far ahead” on the fiduciary issue, and the development of the Fiduciary Oversight Notes (FONs) is an example, he says, of “allowing people to manage things in a consistent way.” Moreover, with FONs “they made it part of the workflow” of advisors, as well as “memorializing” the reasons for the advisor’s fiduciary-related decisions, allowing an examiner to easily pull up those notes from an archive. Since an RIA firm or a broker-dealer home office can dictate at which decision points those notes must be made, another constituency is happy: “Regulators,” Fiske notes drily, “like the consistent application of rules.” After all, he says, “some capabilities you don’t want to think about; you want the exception report created” automatically.
One area that Fiske says the company is working on is holding a series of events with those SMA managers and strategists for RIAs on the Envestnet platform, along with a bigger event in 2013. Those meetings will help inform the advisors’ due diligence on those money managers and models, but it will also become part of a continuing education initiative that Envestnet is building to provide scores of CE programs for both CFP and CIMA designations.
That’s not all. At Envestnet, Fiske says, he likes being “with people who want to figure out how to get things done, instead of why it can’t be done.” The company’s leadership, he says, “still play like they’re down two touchdowns and time is running out.”